I know it’s been a while since I reported, and a lot has happened since we last spoke. I mean, I’ve returned back to Nigeria. But, we’ll catch up later. I promise! The best thing happened to me this week. You wouldn’t believe it even if I told you. So, I would tell you.
I’m sure you know Mr Dike Chukwumerije. Surely, by God, I must have mentioned him to you. From Abuja Literary Society, a forerunner of performance poetry in Nigeria. You know him. He hosted the show, The Night of The Spoken Word, a night of strictly spoken word poetry performances. The only thing I’ve ever taken my younger sister to, that she loved. Can you believe it?!
Last year, he made a theatre production of his spoken word poems; made 20 poems that were performed, seamlessly, in 120 minutes, to showcase the 102 years (now 103) of this geographical space, that is our country, took it on the road and toured the country. The first Spoken Word tour in Nigeria, and arguably, in West Africa. He calls it, The Made In Nigeria Show. I know. It’s super amazing… on an astronomical proportion.
As you know, I had been in school for my post-graduate studies, hence, I couldn’t make it for any of the shows. Fortunately for me, he hosted the grand finale and Independence special of this show on the 1st and 2nd of October, 2017. Who says things don’t work out for my good, eh?
Lest you think my excitement comes from just attending the show, which I did – for free! I volunteered to be a part of the team, and I was selected to help out. What a great honour. To work alongside Mr Dike Chukwumerije. Now, the show was for 2 days (Sunday and Monday) and I was asked to man the registration desk on Monday. Meaning, I didn’t have any duties on Sunday, except to seat still and receive such awesomeness.
Oh, you will be damned if you think it ended there. The show was scheduled to start by 6pm (to 8pm), of which they always stay true to; constantly honouring our time and transforming our minds. About 10 minutes before the show, I’m half-sitting next to my friend, and wondering if that’s the best position for me to enjoy this show. Then, one of the Simply Poetry team members (the production team behind The MIN show), comes to meet me, and asks if I wouldn’t mind being an opening act for the show. Heck yeah! I’m torn between the excitement of the request and an overwhelming concern of, ‘what flipping poem am I gonna perform? I’ve got nothing prepared!’ She says she’ll let me know if I’ll get called up, and walks away.
I try to calm my nerves, and remember how, the first time I saw Dike Chukwumerije, was at a concert, when it started, he was called up stage, impromptu, to perform some of his poems. He graciously accepted. Did it effortlessly and brilliantly. I thought, I can too. The lesson therein was, be prepared all the time; ‘when you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready’. Apparently, there was some serious technical problems backstage, and instead of delaying the show, while it got resolved, they thought it best, to have some of us, younglings, to get the show started. So, that’s how I became an opening act for the Made In Nigeria show. Can you believe it?! I performed on Mr Dike’s stage! Sure, I skipped a line, stuttered on another and repeated two, to fill for a verse I had forgotten what I was to say, but hey, I put in the energy, I pulled through, I gave it my best, and touched down. I performed on Mr Dike’s stage. Call me Will Smith baby, because I must be legendary!
I was honoured with that opportunity. I appreciate the gracious audience who were too kind to me and applauded at the end. All I can think of right now, is what my father said to me the day before I turned 25, JUST KEEP AT IT! Keep at it!
In my next letter, I’ll give my recollections of the show itself. Until next time,
I remain, Yours with a Quill!
Photo: (from L-R) Damilola the husky, Danidee the I, Mr Dike the man, Tonton the Ray and Segun the guy.