Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Happy Birthday in Igbo


Happy Birthday in Igbo to Uzo Aduba

Kerri Washington Wishes Uzo Aduba a Happy Birthday in Fluent Igbo

I loved reading about the Happy birthday in Igbo wish and the language the two women used. (I’m not sure a Twitter message is proof of “fluency,” as the headline boasts, but who am I to say?)

Birthday wishes were not a traditional part of the Igbo language. Births were celebrated, but following birthdays were not, at least not until the British colonizers introduced birth certificates. They also brought the idea of noting the anniversaries of births. So happy birthday in Igbo is not a common phrase.

I am a fan of Orange is the New Black though I haven’t watched the newer episodes. Uzo Aduba won an Emmy for her role as the crazy woman in the Netflix drama. Are you watching or have you watched the show?

I wrote about Aduba a few months ago. Here’s the video where she tells about learning to love her name, Uzoamaka.

Do you like your own name? Do you know its meaning?

Steel Drum Concert, No Jamaicans!

On Sunday afternoon Clem and I went to a concert, “Caribbean Sounds of Steel Drum Bands,” presented by the Westport Library.

We expected Jamaicans playing steel drums. But an all-white band came out on the stage. “There are white Jamaicans,” I said to Clem, unable to believe non-Jamaicans were going to entertain us.

But there were no Jamaicans! Then I read the program. “The award-winning Silver Steel Band is a Steel Drum Band based in Bridgeport, CT, directed by Jim Royle and Brian Ente.” Bridgeport?

The young people were so intense!

The young people were so intense!

There were fifteen drummers; and they performed six pieces, including Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” They were fantastic!

Studio A Team

A second band called The Jim Royle Drum Studio A Team, with eight musicians, played five pieces. They were young but just as fabulous.

We heard Caribbean and other music as well as an adaptation of “The Who.”

While it was not what we expected, it was an amazing and wonderfully entertaining concert. I loved hearing and watching the soloists. At the end, I spoke to one of the performers who showed me her instrument.

Clearly they'd rather be playing than being introduced!

Clearly they’d rather be playing than being introduced!

I had no idea. It’s like a keyboard with an octave or more of notes each in a different spot around the inside of the steel drum.

Clem reminded me to take pictures, but only when the second smaller group, mostly young people, were performing.

English as the Language in an African Country

The film, “Colours of the Alphabet,” follows three children in Zambia and their families. It asks whether English has to be the future language in an African country.

The film will be shown in London on Feb. 21, at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies, where I’ve attended the Igbo Conferences. The academic producer and director of the film will be present for a post-screening discussion on the theme of mother-tongue education.

Event: Colours of the Alphabet, International Mother Language Day (SOAS, London, 21st Feb)

The special event is, “part of International Mother Language Day.”

Will you be in London on Feb. 21? If so, check out this film and let me know.

Nigerian Bobsled Team

I lit a candle for the Nigerian Women’s Bobsled team at church on Sunday. I just checked the event and found that first heats start on Saturday. Then there are events over the next week. So maybe I’ll get a chance to see them.

Palm Wine for My Guests

Last time I wrote about serving palm wine to my future husband. I said that I didn’t know if the palm wine made a difference in his decision to get serious about me.

He said it did!

“Not in a big or obvious way,” Clem said, “but it showed me you had a commitment to Nigeria. I put that together with what I learned as we started dating, and realized you were comfortable living in my country.”

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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