We were taught in elementary school that a noun is a name of a person, place or thing. Ancient, medieval and contemporary literature has encouraged lots of conversations around persons and things, but hardly places. Yet places have marked the backbone of every narrative, every art, every work of literature, and in a lot of ways it has been left there- at the back. Voices is picking up places and making it the core of our tale.
Voices is an anthology of contemporary art and literature emerging from Africa, yet not promoting only Africa or African voices. Voices is interested in exploring every single place that makes up our world. It is a curious work, determined to reveal places and the lives they consist. The world is one global place, and is made up of smaller places called continents, which is made up of smaller places called countries made up of smaller cities and towns. Thus, we want to showcase the various places that make the world a global village.
‘Voices’ is as it is called is a conglomeration of voices from a place, be it a region, town, country or county. The voices are unique, stemming from various notions and interpretations of different people on this particular place. The anthology places its interest on places rather than ideas or abstract nouns. For us, places reveal people, places have a life of their own that we want to show the world.
Voices welcomes submissions of all kind and is opposed to stereotypical writing or art. We want something dynamic, uncommon and unusual that tells the true story of a place without sugar-coating, yet with clarity on as many sides to the story as are reasonably expected.
The Ife Issue
|Oduduwa Park Ile-Ife|
Ile-Ife is an ancient Yoruba town in Southwestern Nigeria, Osun State. Also known as Ife, the town is renowned for its place in Yoruba folk myth as the traditional home of Yoruba civilization and doubles as a holy city of humankind. It boasts of art and culture and rich history that stands it out as one of the most desirable archaeological sites in Southwestern Nigeria. These exquisite characteristics of the small city peppered with mysteries ignites the interest to debut this anthology with this place- Ife.
We are accepting submissions from all over on the theme of ‘Ife’. We believe in the concept of borderlessness, that everyone can talk about every place, especially through art and literature, and we want to reach every one in every place with the stories and pictures and arts of Ife as well.
All submissions must explore, reveal and / or revolve around the place ‘Ife’. Essentially, it is not compulsory that all submissions are set in Ife, but the underlying theme of ‘Ife’ must be felt in the heart of the piece. We accept compelling and atypical short fiction, non-fiction, book reviews, poetry, photography, art, and conversations.
All submissions must be:
Formatted in 1.5 line spacing
Properly edited for errors (Works dotted with errors will have reduced chances of being selected for publication)
Font 12 Times New Roman
Contain a cover page stating name, mailing address, email address, phone number (with International dialing code, title of piece and word count.
Sent as a Microsoft word doc or docx file attachment. Photography and art may be sent as jpeg files
No submission must be sent in the body of the mail
The title of the mail should be FIRST NAME LAST NAME e.g Akintunde Bello
Where there are multiple submissions, the submissions should have a number after the first name and last name signifying what number of submission it is.
Please send along a bio of no more than 50 words (in third person) in the body of the mail.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT
Submission window is from July 15th to September 15th. Upon receipt of your submission, you will receive a mail within 72 hours acknowledging receipt. If you do not receive a mail, please do not resend your work, simply send a query to email@example.com
No responses are given about pieces being accepted for the anthology until the end of October. Only selected works will get responses by the end of October. Other works that may be archived for certain promotional purposes will also get responses at a later date.
Multiple submissions are accepted, however, we aim at publishing as many views and as many names as possible with a wide as possible geographical spread, so while multiple submissions may increase chances of being published in the anthology, not all submissions sent in from one person may be entered in the anthology for purposes of fairness and our limited page capacity.
Please note that we do not accept already work already published elsewhere in print or on the web. All submissions must be previously unpublished. We maintain first copyrights of all works submitted for the first six months after publication of the anthology after which the work may be used elsewhere. We also reserve the right to format the submitted works without altering the content to fit the necessary publishing requirements. Submissions that will be archived and not selected for publication will be done at the instance of the writers and upon their permission.
Must be between 1,500 and 4,500 words
We accept any form from horror to surreal and magical. Any form is acceptable as long as it conforms to the theme and compelling.
Multiple submissions must be sent as individual attachments with individual cover pages
Fiction submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Must be between 1,500 and 2, 500 words.
Memoirs, essays, travel writings and all forms of creative non-fiction are accepted. News pieces, op-eds, articles, scholarly and academic papers and journalistic writings are not accepted. We want creative and compelling non-fiction.
Multiple submissions must be sent as individual attachments with individual cover pages.
Submissions should be sent to Voicesnonfiction@gmail.com
We are accepting a small number of book reviews so submissions of book reviews must be pitched. Pitches may be no more than 400 words and be sent in the body of the mail to email@example.com
Response time for pitches is 24 hours. As soon as the pitch is accepted, the reviews may be worked on and submitted. This, however, does not ordinarily mean such review has been selected for publication, but the chances are high.
All book reviews must be sent to the fiction editor to Voicesnonfiction@gmail.com
Each poem must be no more than two pages long. No more than three poems may be submitted in one document. Each poem title must be indicated above the poem individually as well as on the cover page.
All poetry submissions must be sent as attachment to Voicespoetry2015@gmail.com
ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY
We are also open to digital art and photography. Must be high resolution jpeg files (300 dpi or higher) and not larger than 3MB. Each submission must be properly named and sent as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are not looking for bland interviews, we want active, participatory and lively conversations that inspire, intrigue, and even spark more conversations.
Conversations must not exceed 1, 500 words. All conversations must be first pitched. Pitches must be no more than 400 words and should be sent to email@example.com
Pitches will be responded to within 24 hours. Upon acceptance, conversations may be conducted and submitted. Publication is not assured by the mere fact that a conversation was pitched, but it increases the chances.
Conversation submissions should be sent to Voicesconvos@gmail.com
Fading Arts of Literature and Music in Nigeria
The Nigerian culture is at the moment a shadow of what her citizens hope for. The country is suspended in the air of political uncertainties. This has nothing to do with the recent electoral process that was carried out across the country. When a country is trapped in such financial and political untidiness, such as Nigeria is at the second, there is need to check the educational segment of the country. And if the enlightening segment of the country is to be duly standardized for drive of unconditional revolution in the system, then the formal and informal subdivision of the educational sector should be checked. I would have loved to address the exhausted style of formal education that is used in the country first, but because of my limited time and exact topic given to me to speak my mind on; I wish to say I will not go wide into it. At the moment, let me address the informal education.
Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe and Tafawa Balewa shone politically, educationally and socially in their days because, there was high significance placed upon all forms of informal education. Back in their days, the Nigerian culture had the thick blood of worth, running in their veins with utmost reverence to have more of informal education than the formal. It wasn’t the case that formal education was less in value, but informal education played a very imperative part in the ethical, spiritual, political, communal, commercial and even educational lives of that generation.
The subsequent generation of Christopher Okigbo, Chinua Achebe and our own Wole Soyinka had the same wand of value for formal and informal education passed down to them, which they modestly acknowledged, astutely used and it became a mast of inestimable prosperity for them and for the country, Nigeria. Till date in the secondary and tertiary institutions of the country, the literary works of these men mentioned in this paragraph and others not even mentioned are still in good use and have surpassed test of time. No wonder the works of Chinua Achebe have been interpreted into so many foreign languages and his style of prose narration has come to stay as a yard stick for African fiction.
Furthermore, this same generation produced musical icons such as I.K Dairo, King Sunny Ade, and Great Afrobeat genius, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Their panache of music also has become a mast of inestimable importance in the world. Virtually every African artiste sings Afrobeat just because of a man called Fela, whose generation saw the need to accept both formal and informal education. It is so enthralling that my generation of countrymen, and probably some older generations who failed to indulge in the learning art of formal and informal education have built a metaphysical set of beliefs about the success of these men mentioned above.
It is not the case that present crops of Nigerian writers are not good enough to break forth from our homes to the world. In my humble opinion I think the reason why the present day Nigerian writers are finding it difficult to get launched into the realm of world class literary minds can be grouped into two. One, it could be as a result of this generation no longer finding the need to read and learn the informal education in the art of writing, or the second could be as a result of the writers themselves not indulging the art of learning both the informal and formal education.
And this is more of the reason why I always advocate that more poems, drama or prose should be written out in the pure African forms. I believe taking after an American/European/Asian way of writing or speaking or neglecting our own African art cannot make us match in the same uniform of excellence like the previous generations of Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. For those fellow literary minds in this generation who have seen the light of this my message, let us write Africa in its true form.
The people must realise that a literary or musical mind, through the daily attempt to familiarise themselves with the art of literature and or music, will grow more wings of creativity, talent, ideas and “metaphysical success”. More importantly, their success will also contribute to the economic and political expanse of the country. Take for instance, in the days of Fela Kuti, his music not only gave insights to the people, but drew international audience. Little wonder the then President of Burkina Faso saw Fela Kuti has a fellow political likeminded.
The bitter truth is that most crops of present day musicians do not even understand that the art of music in its true form is fading off day by day because these so called musicians no longer give enough time of incubation before setting off to the market of fame with their records. Whilst it is true that their records are being played on every corner of the streets, it is true that they show off their fantasied wealth on every occasion they’re opportune to; but the absolute truth is that their music has failed to stand the test of time, sanity, pleasure, and most importantly it has woefully failed to improve the social and political norms of my countrymen. Do not yell at me for nailing those in the musical world, I must open up that underneath their garment is a dying spirit of music which is crying out for help. I am not encouraging Nigerians to stop patronizing such music, but I am encouraging Nigerians to patronize more intelligent mind. Don’t go too far to look for intelligent mind; ASA is one beautiful mind of musical art. Fellow countrymen and women, stop the fading arts of literature and music.
My fiancé is the most fascinating person a woman will ever be blessed to love. Quite a towering person, dark skinned, very hygienic black eyes, good dentition, healthy lover he is undeniably. My lover, my person, my husband-to-be; he is the whole kit and caboodle, and he is a devoted businessperson. My fiancé is well learned and. He is a fortunate man on earth, so much that every day of his life, he tries to keep so much low profile from the community, and sometimes even from “us”…he will often give such excuses by adding that,
“My love, I have a proficient plan tomorrow, to be executed by my workers and for it to go smoothly, I must say a few words of prayer to Allah tonight on my mat all through the night”. Such words, which a very good woman, a wife to be like me should never, be imagined to contempt. I hail from the Yoruba, where we were taught to work and live our lives in line with the accomplishment of our husband’s business.
He grew up in Nigeria and years later before he clocked 18 years, he was moved to Egypt and then to Libya where he was groomed by a very good Islamic scholar for another 3 to 5 years; before traveling to Saudi Arabia for his Masters’ Programme. And recently returned from the United States, where he defended his thesis on” Islam and contemporary International terrorism (Africa as a case study)”. He has been so keen on having me also completing my Masters’ Programme in the UK, studying “Christian theology and theory of Feminism in the Church”, but I have so far continued to turn the tide against his wish, because I am so scared of losing him to some of these “Nigerian emotional underdogs”.
Perhaps I should discuss about his religious doings and mine; it is quite absurd to an everyday Nigerian. When he wakes up around 4:30 a.m. he would say his Islamic supplications to 6 or sometimes 6:30 a.m. and he would then come to my room, kiss me and say,
“Wake up my love, its morning already”
…there is never being any sort of religious fracas between us. If not for now that I am letting all these out, no one can ever say my fiancé is not a Christian, apart from his exquisite pious goatee, which may let the cat out of the bag that he is not. Even on Sundays, he would wake up before me; arrange my Bible pack with other Christian literatures we use during the church service. In addition, before I even say Jack Robinson, he has already prepared some toast bread for me to munch before running off with Christ that day. He would usually say,
“Pray for me as well love; tell Jesus I said I love him and his disciples for their gentility and non-retaliation doctrine”.
My betrothed is so far a blessing to me and even to any person who enthusiastically comes for his assistance. However, there was this day as usual; he told me he was traveling to see one of his aunts in Borno state. I reminded him of the security crack and the “Boko killing thing” raging those places…and in his usual joking manner he said,
“To be killed by a Boko Haram fellow is a glory for Allah than to be killed by an infidel Nigerian soldier”
I did not really see any moral witticism out of this. It nearly became a concern before he set out later that day with two of his men, Nigerian soldiers though. After he left the house, as a woman and as a wife to be, I decided to clean up his room and help organise his apparels. He is rather blasé with his room and stuffs you know. As I moved near his drawer and dusted some of his old books which he never liked anyone touching, I slipped, trying not to fall, I held unto his little night robe and in the process, I pulled the little ward robe off…gbarrrrrr!!!!!!! Everything fell… I had to rearrange it all piece by piece before Abubakar my lover came back.
After almost two hours of reshuffling and cleaning, I saw one hoary blood tainted Nigerian military clothing. While still bewildered as to why my placid affectionate Abubakar will have blood sullied Nigerian military clothing in his wardrobe, I notice a diary in the back compact of the blood-tainted clothing. Opening the first page, here is its contents;
“Abubakar, now, you must be acquainted with the fact that our principles and dogmas as an organization, has been breached by the fraidy-cats within us who have refused to take up armaments against the Nigerian government and its irreligious infidel citizens. Even though I am the spearhead of this faction, even though I am the patron and one of the countless stakes of this religious offshoot, you must comprehend that I cannot brashly come out to take up arms together with other brothers and sisters from within the country and outside. But you, being a child that was trained from infancy and loyal to this essence of Jihad from birth; I charge you to use all your sensitive astuteness that you have acquired from those western infidels to combat the present day Nigerian government; and to make sure that our Northern brothers and sisters are governed under the Islamic religious laws. Do not be downcast by the expanse of innocent massacres and awkward assassinations that may have to be carried out, they are to be completed for the sake of Allah and for our credence as Allah’s defence force. Slay them, abduct their families, rape them as long as they are not Muslim brothers or sisters; defile their wives, daughters and their households right in their presence. Make the country wild for them, until we get hold of our own independent zone and declare ourselves as a nation or get to Islamise Nigeria as a whole. Remember you are a soldier of Allah; do not be petrified of these doing. Go on with the plan as Sheik Ibrahim Abdulsalam Ibn Buhari has directed you; while you were being trained in Libya. Never tolerate your private life to clash with your Islamic revolutionary life as Allah’s Jihadist…whenever you are with your loved ones, you are spineless, tranquil and tender; but whenever duty calls, remember you are that “devil” everyday Nigerian fears, Shekau.”
In shock of whether this was real or not, I dropped the diary back into the cloth and perfectly rearranged it all. Not sure, of whether to run away or run mad, I wrote all these down. Therefore, my fiancé, my love, my man, the man who tolerates my dissipations and my faith is the man who also torments the nation and its government. No wonder he would usually say,
“Tell Jesus I said I love him and his disciples for their gentility and non-retaliation doctrine…”
So all the while, he said these, he was mocking me, my religion, and other Christians he had killed and would still kill. So all the while he claimed that to be killed by a Boko Haram fellow was glorious meant that, he was indeed not just a sympathizer but also a dedicated blood liner for the horrific group. Nevertheless, I love him. He is my heart and my dream man. I cannot imagine my world without Abubakar…I cannot imagine my life without the man who comes to my bed early Sunday mornings to whisper sweet words to my ears. Even if he is Shekau, I want to believe he is a devil to Nigeria but he is Abubakar to me…and what is the difference between Shekau and Nigerian Soldiers? They both kill for a cause. I am in love with Abubakar, to me he is Abubakar; to you he is Shekau the devil, the Boko Haram leader.
Author: Enoch Ojotisa
Here is a poem written by OLAWALE ADEBAYO.
for no one can know destiny,
perhaps it is not researchable.
Who can understand another’s destiny?
Not the owner most times.
not even the parents, or family.
so no witch or wizard can therefore.
The owner of all,
created good destiny and bad,
Man chooses which he thinks befits his.
most choose the bad,
due to ephemeral things here,
Your destiny is in your hands.
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