Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Education in Nigeria

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So many children, mixed ages, no books

So many children, mixed ages, no books

Education Aid for Sub-Sahara Africa

Education in Nigeria is a mixture of very good and very bad, with not a lot in between. Teachers are not eager to be in rural areas. Teachers’ pay is often late and incomplete. Supplies are never enough, and sometimes non-existent. The universities’ faculty go on strike. So do students.

There are some excellent private schools. But the majority of the children and young people in Nigeria do not attend these. An overhaul of the whole system of education in Nigeria is needed. But the aid that could support education is dropping.

UNESCO flays drop in education aid to Africa

BBC has a similar story to the one from The Guardian. The lack of good education for so many affects the future of the country. When will Nigeria put its own money behind the education it needs?

African Literature Association Conference

First day at the African Literature Association Conference at Yale was challenging. Not the conference itself, but the parking!

My GPS told me I was near the African-American Center where I had to register. It directed me to take the next left. My destination would be there. But I found a parking spot just before the turn. An easy walk, I thought. Safer to take the spot I found than risk turning and not finding another.

My two quarters gave me 20 minutes. I walked to the corner and turned left. 211 Park was nowhere to be found. After asking several people who were carrying the ALA Conference Bag for directions, I found it. It was right across the street from where I had parked!

After registering I asked for the location of the panel I wanted to attend. Nearby, they said. So I went back to my parking spot to use ParkMobile to pay for more time. I had the app, but it was not user-friendly, at least not for this user.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After 25 minutes of wrestling with the app, retrieving missing passwords, and searching again for the app, I finally had 5 hours of parking time! I was late for the session. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her writing was the topic.

I arrived as the first speaker concluded. The second, “Stereotypes and the African Writer: Adichie’s Literatures of Immigration,” was too academic for me – ethnoscape and technoscape left me cold. The third, “Deterritorialized Hair,” was a little clearer. But both speakers used PowerPoint to put on the screen much of the same info they read to us. Why?

The final speaker’s topic, “Portrait of the Artist as a Global Fashion Icon: How Postcolonial is Adichie’s ‘Lip Gloss Friendly’ Feminism?” was interesting and fun. She spoke about the Boots marketing campaign for makeup. Was Adichie selling out? The speaker did not think so! Nor do I.

After all, Adichie herself says about being the face for the make-up brand, “I wanted to be part of the message that women who like makeup also have important and serious things that they’re doing in their lives. And that those can co-exist, that women are a multiplicity of things. I think it’s time to really stop that ridiculous idea that somehow if you’re a serious woman you can’t and should not care about how you look.”

I enjoyed the reception after the panel. Ainehi Edoro spotted me and promised to come to my session Thursday morning. Marjolijn de Jager whom I know from church translates French-African literature into English. When I saw her, I thought, of course she would be there.

Looking Igbos in the Eye

Thursday morning I’m on a panel called, “Okey Ndibe and Life-Writing: Looking Igbos in the Eye with Okey Ndibe.”

I haven’t been told, but my guess is that I will be asked to speak for 12 minutes. I’m going to read the section from my memoir about visiting the Dibia, the Igbo shaman.

You may remember I went with Clem’s uncle to consult the Dibia. We wanted him to prevent rain during my father-in-law’s wake and funeral. He gave us instructions. I won’t tell you the outcome now! Ask, if you haven’t read the memoir or don’t remember.

Friday morning I’ll deliver my paper “Nigerwives: Transnational Connections and a New Tribe.”

Wish me luck with parking!

Ready for the parade at Reunion 2017

Ready for the parade at Reunion 2017

One More Picture from Mount Holyoke Reunion

I was pleased to see this picture on the front of the newsletter from the college.

I’m in the middle.

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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