Friday, 13 June 2014




Description: (StampedWhite) 2013 Search Heroes.jpg




The $20,000 Golden Baobab Prizes – Submission Deadline Two Weeks Away


The deadline for the 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes is June 29th, 2014 – less than two weeks away – but just enough time for African writers and illustrators to enter their stories and illustrations to any of the 6 prizes for which they qualify, for a chance to win the up to $20,000 in cash prizes plus in kind prize packages.


The 6 prizes offered by Golden Baobab this year are:

·         The $5,000 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Book

·         The $5,000 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Book

·         The $2,500 Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers

·         The $5,000 Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators

·         The $2,500 Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators

·         The Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature Award


Golden Baobab is a not-for-profit social enterprise dedicated to ensuring that African children have access to whimsical, delightful and magical African stories that will inspire their imaginations and ensure they fall in love with reading. The prizes seek to discover, nurture and celebrate the very best African writers and illustrators of children’s content.


Apart from the $20,000 cash prizes, this year’s prize packages include publishing opportunities, mentorship opportunities and opportunities to attend exclusive Golden Baobab workshops and award ceremonies.


Last year, the prizes received over 180 submissions from 13 African countries.  Karen Hurt (South Africa), Liza Esterhuyse (South Africa) and Kanengo Rebecca Diallo (Tanzania) emerged as the overall winners.


For more information on how you can enter these prizes visit Golden Baobab’s website ( or contact the coordinator, Nanama B. Acheampong at


You can also connect with Golden Baobab on:

Facebook page:

Twitter page:







The overrated tag, ‘Head of the Family’, placed on men has in recent times become the greatest weapon of deception used to strip them of any accolade that should be accorded them in a family and our society at large. In our society today, men labour till the last breathe to ensure the survival and blossom of his family but alas! The woman bags the honours at the end.

From the moment a boy begins reasoning like a man (which varies with individuals, but according to the law begins the day he attains the legal age of eighteen; to some however, it is the day he graduates from university or its equivalent) there is always a girl somewhere that gives him sleepless nights (exception of those that willingly chose to live celibate lives). He at this point struggles to acquire wealth to entice the girl and further facilitate his marriage to this dream bride. This same lady he must have worked hard to please.

The life of a man is one of persistent struggle. Getting the attention of a lady is not always an easy task. It often requires huge investments in the form of money, time and patience. The problem doesn’t end with the woman accepting to flaunt the engagement ring rather it makes way for the next phase of ‘snoozing problem’. The yes nod by the woman means greater hurdles to be crossed by the man. This immediately doubles the man’s problem. First, he has to break several sweats to gain the blessing of the girl’s parents and also fight off any form of opposition in the form of her ex-boyfriends if any. Secondly, he begins thinking of means to raise his income to cater for the bride price (which is gaining weight with each passing day) and subsequently the traditional and white wedding.

The final legalization of the union paves way for the second phase of ‘problem snooze’. The man has to defile his aching nerves and worn out muscles most nights to ensure that the wife is sexually satisfied. This routine exercise or activity must be accomplished often especially as fresh couples or it could open a rift in the still fragile union (not withstanding how tired his work place had made him). Most marriages have met their early doom because the husband failed to meet up with the wife’s sexual demands. Little wonder it had become a reoccurring sight on the pages of the press new of men who died during sexual intercourse. However, cases of women who died during the same act are rare (exception being unfortunate cases of rape).

The nine months of pregnancy makes the man go through tumultuous mental shift which presents him with incessant nightmares and day dreams. All these occur because his brain is mostly preoccupied with thoughts of safety of his wife and her unborn child. It is easily observed that most men grow pale during this period especially if it is their first issue. It is most appalling that most women undermine the mental contribution of the men during this period. The fact that they don’t walk around with babies in their tummies doesn’t mean they don’t carry both of you in their tiny brains. It is by far true that mental exercise drains one more than physical exercise since the brain consumes lots of oxygen and glucose. As a famous BBC sports commentator Jon Champion puts it, ‘once the mind (brain) goes tired, the body goes with it’.

During the critical hours of labour, while the woman yells from the birth pangs in the labour room, the man stays close, praying to God with all the faith in his being, heart thumping beneath his breast. When well-wishers begin trooping in to pay homage to the new born, praises are rendered to the woman for the child forgetting it was the man who laboured day and night to ensure that the wife got pregnant. His part is completely neglected like it is an inconsequential part of procreation. This also goes a long way to show how our society praises ‘results’ rather than ‘hard work’.

The joy of every woman in her matrimonial home is climaxed with the cry of a child and increases with each subsequent births, so does the burden of the man. Some women pressurise their husbands into having numerous children, not giving a hoot to the harsh economic realities of recent times. Every new birth means extra mouth to be fed, another body to be clothed, and more miscellaneous expenditures to be taken care of. Funny enough, most women don’t contribute a penny in terms of finance to the routine running of the home. The father stands aside, enduring all these pain for the joy of a brighter future for his children.

At the end of the day, these children come of age and raise their voices in unison to chorus:

Sweet mother, I no go forget you for this suffer wey you suffer for me…

When I no chop, my mother no go chop…

This particular song keeps the father at bay and makes it appear as if he stood aside with folded arms from conception till the child attained his/her present age and paid no attention to their wellbeing. This is totally erroneous and should be corrected. The song ‘Sweet Mother’ by Nigerian/Cameroonian singer Prince Nico Mbarga and his band, Rocafil Jazz, released in 1976 has sold over 13 million copies to date. In 2004, the song won the BBC readers and listeners Africa’s Favourite Song award. A song is loved if the words of the lyrics are considered true by the audience or in some cases, if the beat appeal to their hearing.

This one sided praise seems to be worse in Africa especially in my dear country Nigeria. Many musicians have so far followed the footsteps of the great highlife performer Prince Nico in the eulogy for mothers. Mc Loph of the blessed memory recorded a song for mothers where he featured Flavour. The song titled ‘Mama’ generated a lot of buzz and also got them smiling to the bank with ample recognition of stardom. Others include M.I, Mr Incredible’s  ‘My Belle, My Head’ where he expressed his love for his mother and how he’ll go any extreme to ensure her survival during trying times. When the song isn’t about mothers, it ends up 70% of the times as praise or adoration of young mother to be ladies. Only thrice have I heard songs by Nigerian artists with men as the theme. Although the songs weren’t praising the toil of fatherhood but rather expressing their feelings towards a man they love so much, I consider it a good start. These instances includes Desperate Chick’s track ‘This boy’, Sorty in the song ‘Malaria’ and the new to the scene young damsel Chidinma in her debut Kedike.

The story is however slightly different in the western world. Fathers tend to receive a good amount of recognition once in a while. The most glaring of such instance is embedded in the lyrics of the song ‘Dance With My Father’ by Luther Vandross. The song became one of the most requested songs at that time. During the 2004 Grammy Awards, ‘Dance With My Father’ earned Vandross the twin accolades, Song of The Year and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Like I said before, if the audience didn’t appreciate the lyrics, the song wouldn’t have gotten to such lofty height.

The high standards and hurdles fathers set for their children especially their sons often scare them away into the open arms of their emotional mothers and gain them the reputation, ‘Wicked man’. Women and mothers entirely tend to be emotional and soft to realities, hence prefer to give their children free-hand to do as they will (same reason why most youths will openly confess that they love their mothers more than their fathers because every youth wants freedom). Am certain that if a census is conducted on the effect of parental training on the outcome of a child, the result will show that children brought up under the supervision of their fathers will turn out to be more responsible at adulthood than children trained by single mothers. You and I know that iron sharpens iron as clearly emphasised in the Bible (Proverbs 27:17). You don’t expect a child to be great if you don’t burden their minds to some extent with problems and discipline.

The pride of fatherhood has been threatened enormously in recent times by the irresponsible attitude of some fathers. Some fathers price their job and wealth above the ware fare and emotions of their children. Some children don’t set their eyes on their father for days. Their father travel for years, abandoning what was meant to be a shared responsibility to the woman. Such children grow with the affection of their mother who was always there for them at the time of need. When they grow, they are not to be blamed if they choose to shower all the praises on their mother. Other so-called fathers go out in the morning and return late at night drunk (what images are they showing as the head?).

Renewed incidences of rape on young women by those who were naturally created to be their protector casts questions on the future and dignity of the noble word fatherhood. The one incident that remains fresh in our mind is the case where a young medical student in New Delhi (India), 23 years of age, was raped in a bus and later thrown out. This incident resulted in her death and further sparked protest across the country. A number of rape cases have also been reported in Nigeria by both young men and fathers alike. This prompted the House of Representatives on Tuesday March 5th to approve life imprisonment for any person convicted of rape. They also approved a minimum of 20 years without an option of fine for persons convicted of gang raping someone.  The combined actions of robbery, use of illicit drugs, rape and a host of other heinous crime mostly promulgated by ebullient young men in their prime hastens the transfer of praise to their female counterparts.

I intend making a remake of the song ‘Sweet Mother’ to ‘Sweet Father’ and I challenge Nigerian artists to do the same. I dare them to put these words into a beat let’s hear how it would sound:

‘Sweet father, I no go forget you for this suffer wey you suffer for me…

If I no chop my father go run around for street to raise money to buy me something to eat ooo…

If I the sick, my father go carry me, he go carry me run go hospital…’

When they are done, let’s place the songs side by side with the traditional version and see how it would fare in the market. Every year, the church (mostly Catholics and Anglicans) sets aside a day to honour women (Mothering Sunday). This day has become so popular that it is gradually gaining universal acceptance. On such days, parties are thrown in their respect and they are also showered with gifts. That of fathers is celebrated on low key that not everyone is aware of its existence.

This is a wakeup call directed to every man to amend his ways so that they can regain that which is almost lost. It is paramount that every man understands the meaning of the title ‘HEAD’ bestowed on them. It is important to note how anything that affects the head has an extended effect on the rest of the parts. Like a proverb says, ‘uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’, every man should strive to be outstanding in both morals and attitude. If every man unites in good morals and redefine their interests in family matters, their voices and nobility will reverberate round the earth and their dignified Fatherhood accorded the desired respect for all ages. In the final analysis, it is without doubt that women model the home but it is in my candid opinion that the time is ripe for fathers to be appreciated, appreciate their sweat and the tough decisions they have to make for the betterment of the family. Appreciate your father today. I love my mother but will always respect my father.


Since it was a new year's eve, I  thought it the perfect time to conclude my findings on Nigerian literature.
 'This is it! Rubbish! Nigerian literature is dead!'. I muttered beneath my breath as I scanned through the last paragraph of a prose that had won a prestigious writers award a week earlier.
Most people are of the opinion that the worst that could happen to any living being was death but the turn of event has taught me that the death of hope supersedes any other form of demise.

For six months straight, I've been rummaging through stories especially those by renowned Nigerian authors and also those stories that had garnered lots of reviews. It was only now that I understood truly the saying that not all that glitters is gold. None out of the thousand-plus stories I read could quench my thirst for uniqueness in the skill of writing.
There was no doubting the fact that Nigerian authors now lacked creativity, their stories had over time become more or less redundant; recycling told stories in different words. I only realised how loudly I've been speaking to myself when I lifted my head to close to a hundred staring eyes scattered in the three hundred capacity multi-purpose University of Nigeria library. I forced myself mute, allowing the accumulated anger swell in me.

Part of me pushed me to the bookshelves to try another story but NO! My robe of patience was too soiled and reeked of hopelessness, I had to pull it off. I slammed the book I held on the table, ignoring the wild angry comments and suppressed curses its sound attracted. I got up, packed my belongings from the library table and dragged my feet through the aisle that led to the door. I was determined to infuse some of my anger into the innocent readers and gladly, my action yielded tremendous level of success. I felt every single eye in the building follow me as I dragged to the door.

I was about to open the door when a Librarian called my attention. I stared him down from head to toe but those grey hair was too strong a force-pull to be ignored.
'What on earth has reduced you into such a low-life behaviour'? He rebuked.
Those words was like a spark that immediately brought life back to my numb spirit. I couldn't resist such an open invitation to pour out my heart to him. When I was done, he sighed and flung his head in pity. Even though I wasn't looking, I had a feeling most of the readers were eavesdropping on our conversation because the hall went grave silent. 'I think I have what you have been looking for' he whispered. My eyes shone with all eagerness at the revelation.
'If such a book ever existed, how come I never heard of it or saw a review on it'? I asked in quick succession.
I watched the librarian's eyes dampen with tears and his head drop after my question. I acted wisely by maintaining the silence to enable him sort out whatever the problem was. After few minutes, he inhaled deeply, placed his right hand on my shoulder and said;

'Two scores and a decade ago, a young lad found passion in writing. He wrote for his school magazines, classroom notice boards and close pals and they all appreciated his work. A day came when he had an inner conviction to do something bigger. It was challenging but after three years, he came up with a book. He sent the book to several publishers but each time, it was returned with a letter of excuse regards to why they couldn't publish it. A friend advised him to get few big names in the field of writing to write forwards on the book, that way, no publisher would resist the offer. This young lad embarked on a search and to his astonishment, most of the award winning authors demanded for money in return for a forward. Out of frustration he designed a cover, glued together the 365 pages to produce a story book and hid it in a library, hoping one day, the book will get the exact recommendation it truly deserves'.
He told me to wait while he fetch the book. I stood there like a statue gaping in awe. Five minutes later, he resurfaced with a dust laden book and stretched it out for me to take. As I took the book from him, he voiced in a low tone, 'the book holds a treasure that the world is yet to know'.
I watched keenly with questioning eyes as he retired to his work post then I hurried back to grab a seat and enjoy my gift. The entire book was covered by a thick layer of dust that concealed the title. I blew off the dust and wiped the book clean with my handkerchief. It was amazing how the three word title 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' came alive in my heart as my eyes read them off the cover. I rubbed my eyes in delight and cleaned my wet palms before flipping it open. I gazed bewildered at the blank pages more furious than ever. A voice I recognised as that of the Librarian came over my shoulder and said,

'We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is filled with opportunity and its first page is New Year's Day'. Happy New Year isn't just three words, it is the first words that begin our annual story. How good your story will become is up to you.


Never will any amount of encomium poured out for women, our mothers, Ezinne (Good Mothers), be considered too much. Undoubtedly, mothers are the strong pillars of any home and the stability of any family revolves around them; the power to make or break a home. In most homes, mothers are the ones that stay behind to spend more time with the children, teaching them morals and basic tenets of life. My mother had a strong effect on my early life and still has, till today even.

The church as one family, united in Christ has the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) as her mother. Viewing this noble organisation with this eye makes it easy for us to see how much more responsibilities this organisation is bestowed with; much more beyond coming together once every month to meet and collect dues, levies or fines. (Although coming together in itself is something good because it helps to foster unity, understanding and rejuvenate our dying communal living which by far supersedes western individualistic lifestyle, it shouldn’t end there however. There is a gap yearning to be filled.) The same role women play at home should be translated into the church.

One of the things I expect to see in the nearest future from our mothers, our CWO, is them developing an NGO which will generate funds to help other mothers that have been widowed through giving them soft loans or grants. This will go a long way in making them feel like a part of the family, save them from ‘religious prostitution’ and bring succour to their children who are in fact, the responsibility of the community. Like the Igbos say, nwa bu nwa ora nile. A child is the child of the community.

Secondly and most importantly, our youths are going astray and in need of motherly care and advice. Many families today are in disarray because both parents, father and mother, leave very early in the morning for work, returning very late in the evening. The children are left at the mercy of the house helps, peers or themselves (Please! am in no way advocating for our mothers to become house wives. That era is gone, long gone and should be left there). Mothers can still make out time from their busy schedule to talk to their children. That one minute can make a whole difference. The truth is that, most men are carefree about their children but care more for their business and ever ready to shift blames to the mother when the child goes wayward.
Translating the same scenario into the church, CWO can make herself relevant in the lives of the youth, her children, by delegating a member or two to speak to the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) on every meeting. They could also organise skill acquisition workshops for our youths, bringing in facilitators where necessary to teach our youths how to ‘catch their own fish’ rather than jumping from one place to another in search of one favour or another, sometimes jumping into trouble in the process. The CWO should for once forget about capital projects and think about growing pious, intelligent and self-sustaining minds. Capital projects are important; indispensable. However, the church can do without them but the church will crumble if the level of decay in the minds of our youths is not checked, fast. Therefore, inasmuch as infrastructures are important, spirituality and intellectual should not be relegated. Just like the bible said in proverbs 22: 6, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.