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Archive for November, 2016

This Rape Thing…

 

I cannot say this loud enough: Rape is WRONG.

 

To further that course, I stand with Blue House Films (thank God for ‘houses’) and help promote their short film Mirrors Within.

To watch said film, subscribe here: Blue House Films.

Thank you.

 

Share your support with the #MirrorsWithin

 

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UNICEF Tiny Story I – Lost & Found

 

It was the UNICEF’s 70th Anniversary this year and I was invited along with over 200 writers from all over the world to contribute 7-sentence stories to reflect the theme ‘What I Want For Every Child’. You can read contributions from other writers on Facebook by following the #foreverychild.

 

This is one of mine.

 

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Lost and Found

 

 

It was the coughs that attracted Bakir who was outside the shop; the one tea and noodles shop in Kuteme, to pour out tea dregs from his kettle so he could put fresh water on the fire for night customers. He was frightened at first; coughs coming from a dustbin weren’t normal, but the sounds weren’t threatening – in fact, it sounded like a weak animal – or a child – in pain.

 

Walking over to where the sounds were coming from, he looked and saw; in the light from his phone, a child huddled inside one of the boxes beside the dustbin, coughing from the dust-heavy night air.

 

Years passed and Bakir’s shop had become an attraction for reasons apart from the tea and noodles he still created with care. Every three months, a tall, slim beauty who looked nothing like Bakir came to the shop, cleaned windows and dusted chairs while Bakir made noodles and tea. And when customers were few, they would sit together, man and maiden, and she would open a book – sometimes of poetry, sometimes of stories – and read to him in soft, sing-song tones.

 

And when asked, Bakir who had never married would simply smile and say, “That is my daughter Zainab, visiting from the university.”

 

 

 

#foreverychild #UNICEFtinystories


Monday Motivation: Celebrate You.

 

I close my eyes and think of everyone I’ve lost this year.

 

As you should too.

 

Having done that, I am thankful for life. In no way am I better than ANYONE, in no way is anyone BETTER than me. I believe God brought me this far and kept me alive. An atheist may disagree – but that’s not why I’m here.

 

Whatever our belief systems and life structure(s), we made it this far.

 

You didn’t do a third of what you set out to do this year, right? Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either. But then, I’m sure you did a number of things you didn’t plan to do either! Yes? I did too!

 

And that’s amazing.

 

I started to keep a gratitude jar a while ago. For those of us who don’t know what that is, it’s just as the name implies – we keep things we’re thankful for in a jar. When I do something cool – like make a stranger smile – I write it on a piece of paper and keep it in the jar. Whenever I’m feeling down, blue, discouraged, worthless, I empty the jar and read through stuff and think ‘Hey, that was me! I did that!’

Do you have a gratitude jar? No, not a journal or diary. Those are for real life events – good or bad. This is for just the grateful stuff. I suggest you start to keep one – you can find the time if you really want to. And it is for and about you; and really, there shouldn’t be anything more important!

 

I know I am thankful for you; I have stuff like ‘I wrote a blog post today and so-and-so read it and commented’. That; the knowledge that I serve some purpose and mean something to someone I may or may not have met/will probably never meet – means plenty to me.

 

I celebrate you.

 

 

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Michelle

 

 

“A year ago yesterday you were wishing me a Happy Birthday,” you said to me with a smile – but somehow an accusation made its way into that smile.

 

Or maybe it’s my guilt.

 

Anywho. Better late than you-know-what, so I’m just doing this because – I want to.

 

I am proud of you. I hope that doesn’t sound condescending but it’s the truth. Growth is an integral part of life, and anything not growing is dead. I know where you’re coming from; I know how far you’ve come. I know you feel like you’re stuck in a place sometimes – it’s your imagination. Baby steps.

 

I know you enjoy your work a bit too much, so much so you forget to celebrate yourself. So this is me making an attempt to bridge the gap and celebrate you – because you deserve no less. Stop being so impatient with yourself! You’re moving; I wonder why it’s so hard for you to see it. I know a number of things you’ve conquered this year; things that felt like imagination last year. So why do you not see it?

 

Life is NOT a marathon; I know you know but you forget. I will remind you. Life is not a marathon, you are not whoever you’re comparing your life’s journey with this week, so chill. Take your time. It’s okay to flounder; it’s okay to miss your way sometimes. As long as you keep moving – that’s all that counts.

 

Anywho. I will remind you of these things as often as I can – so help me God.

 

Special is you, Michelle. No matter what you go through, do not let life, work or men turn down the volume of that smile.

 

Happy New One. And thank you for being.


Movie Review: Dinner Is A One-Time Meal.

 

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There’s one huge question that haunts me – haunts almost every guy I know;

What do you do if you find out you had a one-night stand with the girl your man is about to marry? Tell him? Mind your business?

What happens if he somehow finds out?

What if the shoe was on the other foot? Would you want to know if your man has slept with the girl you’re about to marry? Does it matter if it happened before you started dating her?

That is the premise the Dinner hopes to thrive on for eighty minutes or thereabouts of screen time. And it works – for the most part.

 

Dinner tells the story of a young man; Mike Okafor who is headed to Lagos from Abuja for a dinner with his best friend, Ade George Junior, said best friend’s fiancée, Lola Coker and best friend’s office buddy – a painfully obvious ‘bad guy’ – Richard Boyo. Mike decides to take his girlfriend Diane along – probably so he could use the opportunity to propose to her – and things go awry. Turns out that the about-to-be-groom and his office buddy had each had one night stands with Diane, and that Richard had slept with some other people.

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The actors are all in top form and therefore manage to present the viewer with convincingly three-dimensional characters, in spite of the bulk of the movie happening over the course of one night. Okey Uzoeshi is the tightly-wound Mike who is clueless to the most obvious things going on underneath his nose. Kehinde Bankole isn’t so much the eye-candy she usually is – but knees remain just as distracting. Adeyemi Okanlawon sizzles as the glib, suave and ‘evil’ Richard – though I honestly cannot wait for the day Nollywood moves past the hard drinking, hard smoking ‘bad guy’. RMD and Ireti Doyle are typecast – once again, as the concerned father and mother. Hmm.

 

 

 

Structurally, the movie is tightly woven – except for a completely irrelevant opening scene in which Mike proposes to his then-girlfriend at a party and she turns him down flat. If that had any significance, shouldn’t it be that Mike should learn to keep things like proposals private? But that is a man who never learns. The dialogue could have been done better – way better. Too many times, the characters repeated words and phrases; phrases that may look good on paper but hardly roll off the tongue. In a couple of scenes I found myself thinking; ‘Nobody talks like that!’

Something else that bothers me about a number of Nigerian movies is the way the characters are named. Mike Okafor. Adetunde George Junior. Richard Boyo. Diane Bassey. Those names sound manufactured; like they have a name checklist for the ‘young and successful’. What happened to names like Dozie or Wale or Segun or Amarachi or …?

Another pointless subplot is the part where the groom-to-be, Adetunde has slept with his buddy Mike’s girl. They didn’t talk about it – when it happened, where or why it did – is not told. Was it before he became engaged or after?

 

 

You cannot help but sympathize with the female leads, Diane and Lola played by Kiera Hewatch and Kehinde Bankole respectively. They are the usual women caught in the middle of three men, and it gets really ugly – especially Lola, who is supposedly strong for Diane – only to have her own dirty linen aired publicly by the notorious –

 

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As has become standard with the ‘new’ Nollywood’, the presence of the movie-ubiquitous Lekki Bridge is here too. Nice camera work though – and production is crisp and tight. It also well-paced, but for a somewhat tepid beginning, and then the jabs start – and keep coming.

All in all, Dinner is a meal to be consumed once – but, what a meal.

 

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PS: Can Nigerian movie directors please provide online resources for their movies – posters, cast, DOP and so on?


Monday Motivation: Keep On

We all are stories.

The question is – who’s telling yours?

Or better still; what is telling yours?

 

Is it pleasure or pain? Is tragedy or triumph? Is it loss or love? Are you down in the dumps or up in the clouds?

I’m sure we know by now; nobody can put you down if you don’t want to be put down. In the same vein, no one can lift you if you refuse to be lifted.

 

We all are stories. We’ve all been through one war or the other. We all are survivors, reeling and living with scars. No matter what though – we owe this world one thing;

 

Our best.

 

What do you got?

 

keep-on

 

One day it’ll all make sense.


Monday Motivation: Playing Hunger Games

 

Word for the week.

 

“You better kill shit or stay hungry – because you only eat whatever you kill, my friend”.

 

That’s all folks.

 

Oh. Sorry. One last thing:

 

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