Your mother didn’t tell you about love; you found it out all by yourself.

You have always been in love with the Girl-Next-door. When you were 14, she saved your ass in school by lending you her spare socks. Mr. Larry, your moustache-laden teacher, would have made meat of you when you decided to outgrow the school’s authority by refusing to wear socks.

You thanked her afterwards. You still remember because that was the first day you ever spoke to her. For the first time, you were close enough to notice the dimples that left a trail of beauty on her cheeks whenever she smiled.

Many a time, after school, you would stand by your window, which was directly opposite hers, a fortunate coincidence, and watch her sing while clutching a container of Talcum powder which served as her mic. She, unaware of your stare, would sing and dance round her room, much to your fancy.

A few months after you turned 15, the Boy-Next-door moved in with his parents. He was the apocalypse. Soon, he became friends with her. You were jealous but it never truncated their friendship.

You stopped watching her from your window. You devoted your time to video games, hoping that it was a dream; that the Boy-Next-door would be gone when you awoke. He wasn’t.

At your graduation, the Boy-Next-door showed up. They took pictures together while you stared. You couldn’t tell how you felt about the Girl-Next-door taking pictures with the Boy-Next-door but you knew you couldn’t bear the sight. You urged your mother to take you home. She asked why but later obliged. On your way home, she asked why you weren’t as happy as other students. You said nothing. That night, you played Need for Speed while listening to one of Eminem’s angry songs.

You would later leave the neighbourhood for a faraway university. You imagined that she did too. You were too heartbroken to find out. She was never around whenever you came home for break.

Six years down the line, you would bump into her on one of your visits to the house. You both talked and laughed. You finally decided to tell her how you felt about her but just about that time, she reached for her bag and produced a hard piece of paper, on which her wedding invitation was printed, and handed it to you. You swallowed back your words. She was getting married to the Boy-Next-door.

She made you promise to be there but you knew: on that day, you would be drinking your life away, wishing your mother had told you about love, earlier…


About Chidi Arua

Chidi Arua is a 21-year-old famed procrastinator, who is guilty of looking older than his age. This annoys him. He was born and raised in Nigeria – as if he had any choice. He currently lives in Uyo, where he his also an undergraduate of civil engineering at the city’s varsity – University of Uyo. Due to his love for writing, he writes a weekly football article that is published on the website of Nigeria’s biggest football club, Enyimba (

SWEET PAIN….. by McNaevets

Let these words kiss away the sweet pain

As I pen my thoughts with every breath

And the swiftness of my fingers seize this moment

To tell a tale of a lad with hopes and dreams

But life seems to slop in dim.


This I write, even till my last breath

I will blame none even death.

I will leave great deeds in hearts of men

Of conquer of fears and gains of confidence.


It will pass, surely it will.

This pain, sweet pain of unforgettable lore

Illuminates my whole to see yonder future soar

Lo! Pain erupted in days of yore

Now it subsides to grasp life mysteries.


I have no money, just hopes and dreams

Life is a journey of miles to grace

Dreams started not today but yesterday.

I, being not the first but a difference

In life’s journey, unlocking golden door of greatness


Here my pen lie in peace

But thoughts seize to dismiss

The tranquil atmosphere depicts

A scenario of a graced lad with achieved dreams

For his words finally kissed away the sweet pain





Vulgar pleasures; erupted measures
Thoughtless silence; venerated treasure
Discomforts come forth comfort.
This henceforth shall I dwell.

Your thought still linger words in my head.
Where have you gone with my heart?
I knew you once and felt you twice
now, fate has driven me two eyes
ahead of your endowing clemency to part.

In days of yore
My whole would speak of you alone.
Yours truly, sincerely, heartfelt silence
drew my close attention to close attention for your perfection.
In days of yore I parted not my love for you.

Your lashes consumed me with pleasures
Your nails caressed every part of me
Now, I take lashes for your lashes
And nails for your nails
Because you appear every time I wink my eye
And your scents still roof my skin.

I still feel them; still hear them
Your whispers, still echoing
The silent noise of butterflies in my belly
Vulgar pleasures; venerated treasures
Thoughtless silence; erupted measures
The lashes, the nails………
Fate, driving me two eyes ahead
Verily, verily, your thought still lingers in me.


MEET THIS GREAT NIGERIAN, David Uzochukwu, doing wonders with photos

Belgium-based Austro-Nigerian photographer David Uzochukwu has been making an impact in the photo world for a few years now. At just 16-years-old, the award-winning artist has already earned accolades from Canon, Flickr and EyeEm, who named him their 2014 Photographer of the Year. His clients include the Opéra Nationale de Paris and Adobe Photoshop. In March, Uzochukwu will appear in the upcoming mo(ve)ments: African Digital Subjectivities at Yale’s AFRICA SALON.

We get to know the young artist in the conversation below.

Ifeanyi Awachie for Okayafrica: How would you describe your cultural background? What does the label “African” mean to you?

Uzochukwu: I usually say I’m Austro-Nigerian. There are people who refer to me as an “African photographer” — usually those aren’t people who actually know me. I do feel like the label “African” is used to just trivialize. It’s kind of an umbrella term. Usually I say I’m Austro-Nigerian or an Afro-European artist because just “African” is not who I am either.

It doesn’t tell the full story.

Exactly. Especially since I’ve lived in Europe, I wouldn’t want to be labeled African for the sake of people who are completely African and who have their own story to tell.

Are there African photographers, other African artists, or aspects of African culture that have influenced your work?

I know close to no modern African art, but Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work has been influencing me lately, and both my love for bold colors and my yearning for freedom are very Igbo. I really like her use of colors and space and mood. Her subjects are removed from their scenery, and the colors she uses really accentuate the kind of somber mood she’s going for — melancholic. I feel that. I can relate to that. I feel like “No Place for Nature” and “Marsh Warbler” capture what I love about her paintings. The quiet mood, the use of space, the single dominating color deciding the work’s atmosphere. It’s bold and delicate at the same time.

Do you identify as Igbo? Are there aspects of your upbringing and parenting that were influenced by Igbo culture?

My father is Igbo, and he did try to raise me like an Igbo father would. I don’t identify as Igbo though, there’s just so much about the culture that I don’t know.

How would an Igbo raise a child?

A lot of it has to do with respect for elders. So, that can be a very good thing, obviously, like, you just respect their wisdom and their knowledge and the fact that they’ve experienced so many things that you haven’t yet. But, on the other side, what comes with it is you as a young person often find that your experiences are being devalued and you’re not taken seriously. I feel what comes with Igbo upbringing is often that children or young people are not as respected as they could be, but their feelings are technically just as valid. They’re often not taken seriously.

My mother did have a more European approach. There was kind of a clash. It’s interesting to look back and see the upsides and downsides. For example, when addressing my parents, when I address my father, I actually never felt quite as close to him as I did to my mother, which is kind of a result of having to treat him with more respect, not necessarily respect that is earned but just respect that is demanded. Even if he does deserve it, that’s not something a child necessarily understands.

Whereas your mother’s approach, the European approach, was to earn your respect?

I feel like that’s pretty accurate. To treat young people like they would another adult, to show them the same respect they would show to adults. Not all European parents are like that way — I know some people who have not been raised that way — but that’s one way [my parents’] methods parted.

Could you say more about how or why Igbo people “yearn for freedom?” What do you want freedom from? Or freedom to do?

All Igbos I know crave Biafra’s independence. I’ve always just wanted to be free to live as an artist, as who I am.

What was it like growing up black in Luxembourg?

I’ve had my fair share of experiences with racism in Luxembourg. The country’s population isn’t very diverse. I only knew a handful of other black kids, which could be hard at times. My childhood was wonderful though; there are worse places to be black.

Did people ever see you as African first? Does that affect interactions you have?

I feel like most people did, actually. Most people that aren’t Luxembourgish are southern European, so you really do stand out as a black person. That definitely affected people’s interactions with me. They had lower expectations and higher expectations at the same time. When they saw that I was able to communicate with them like a normal human being, they raised them.

You’ve said you “want to create work that actually changes something.” What social justice issues do you care about?

How could I not care about a social justice issue? I’m a big defender of intersectionality and I care about anything that keeps someone from living the best life they possibly could. I’m working on whatever I get the chance to work on.

What intersecting identities do you have or care about in particular?

I care about pretty much everything. Usually it’s so hard because people, for example, like white people — people that were confronted with the fact that racism is still a thing — were completely shocked. They didn’t believe me, they thought I was lying — I’ve had horrible clashes with people. I feel this need to bring to people’s awareness that racism exists. If racism is the starting point, there are so many forms of discrimination that can be layered with that, like sexism, homophobia, etc.

How does that relate to your work?

By portraying people that are being discriminated against at different levels, that kind of helps by telling their story, showing them as multilayered or multifaceted characters. But I really have a lot of work to do, I’ve only recently started to make work about this. I’ve only recently grown aware of the fact that telling a black body’s story is somehow revolutionary in itself today. There’s a distinct lack of black bodies in Western media and art and I’ve found making art with black bodies to fight against that is something very beautiful. My photos show that African subjects of any kind can be just as profound as anyone else. I want to create layered characters, tell black stories, get rid of stereotypes and portray us as humans.

Let’s talk about your self-portraits and your creative process. I notice that in many of your photos, you’re pictured with eyes closed and half-submerged in water or covered in paint. What went through your mind as you made those artistic decisions?

You have to know that coming up with concepts isn’t something that I do very consciously. Looking back on the work I make I can try to somehow interpret the mood I was going for, because I was going for a certain feeling, a certain visual sometimes. I’ve noticed the closed eyes because I have a total of about ten pictures with eyes open [laughs]. I feel like it gives pictures something very soft and very quiet. It’s a moment where the viewer can actually view freely and observe what is going on in the picture. It’s kind of introspective as well. You see someone with their eyes closed and they’re thinking, they’re dreaming; they’re hoping.

What draws you to nature and natural elements?

In a way, just their magnificence. I grew up in Luxembourg for ten years. It’s very rural — there are loads of fields and forests. You get to really appreciate nature. I moved to Brussels two years ago. Ever since then, the one thing that brightens up my week is a beautiful sunrise. I can draw so much energy from real, raw beauty. It sounds very cliché, but it’s true in a way. It’s so calm and so big and it’s been here for so much longer than we have. And it will be. In its grandness, in a way.

Your accomplishments at this young age are extremely impressive. What do you think of your success so far? Where do you see yourself in ten years?

It’s been mad. I’ve been uploading pictures onto the internet for four to five years before anything happened, and then everything happened really quickly. I’m kind of not really trusting the success but making the best of it. It’s been really amazing to have people reach out and tell me stories and tell me that they could relate to my pictures and that they moved them. And I’m really glad I got to meet the people who I got to meet and that I got to show my work in physical spaces, and that I got signed with my agency sometime last year. It’s just really cool — the fact that people believe in you and like your vision and what you do.

Any interest in collaborating with African artists in your future work?

Absolutely. I know very, very few African photographers, which is very sad and which I’m trying to rectify at the moment. There are two African designers I found on Instagram in the past year who I’d like to work with: Loza Maléombho and Kibonen NY. Apart from that, I’m always open to work with African youth; that’s something I’d love to do. Like anyone — you don’t have to be successful or creative, you just got to be you, be honest, share your story with me and I’ll try to make your portrait. I’m thinking about going to Nigeria and working with people there. Obviously I’d also love to work with people with a bigger profile.

Ifeanyi Awachie is a Nigerian-American writer, photographer and curator of Yale’s AFRICA SALON. She recently published the book “Summer in Igboland.” Follow her on Twitter at @ifeanyiawachie.

Update on the Poetry Slam Competition – War Of Words Africa #WOWAFRICA

War Of Words Africa (#WOWAFRICA) is an international Poetry Slam Competition open to all poets of African descent. All African poets are eligible to enter for the competition whether or not the poets have won Poetry Slam Competition in the past organised by i2X Media Company Limited.

It is a competition that will bring together international poets from different walks of life to compete on the same stage. The auditions and main event will hold in Nigeria. The prizes are as follows:

1st Prize : N1 million (i.e. N500,000 cash and an all expenses paid trip to perform at an International Poetry Festival/ event in Europe).
2nd Prize: N300,000
3rd Prize: N200,000

There will be consolation prizes for the finalists.

The theme of #WOWAfrica (Poetry Slam Competition) will be released on March 1st, 2016. To enter for the competition you must:

  1. Be a registered member of
  2. Upload a 3 minutes video using the theme.
  3. Be a poet of African descent.

The best 60 poets from the video submissions will be selected in-house by our judges and invited for audition(s). After which 20 finalists will be selected for the main event.

Watch out for more details on March 1st 2016.

Announcer:- Olulu

A Spoken Word To My Mum.. by Kolawole Oludare Stephen

For every soul I saved from this struggle
For every woman I save from this eternal damnation and trouble
Their grieves I made mine in the still of the night that spelt trouble
For every single day and night in this Island of blood, as I gulp stench of stale blood in this jungle
Every night spelt blinking stars with names of the dead written boldly, names of people sacrificed in this struggle

For every bit of strength in me as I stumble across dead bodies as they in humble close their eyes while they mumble ‘Lord, deliver us from trouble’
Listen, have they been failed by a god in whom they hung their troubles?
Or like Nigeria election, they count their rosary which doesn’t count and left alone to stumble?

For every news of the birth of my death, as the newspaper papers lies in exchange of your trouble
Keep your tears, for they can’t hold back the years. They only have the power to birth regret and trouble
Listen, don’t believe their lies or news that doesn’t worth the trouble

For every fire behind my memories of trouble
As I carve my diary, explaining every step, every step becomes difficult in this jungle
A hard man I have been forced to be over the time of this endless struggle
And till we open our real eyes to realise the real lies, we can’t win this struggle

For every step and sleepless night of soul hunting and ghost haunting in this jungle
Hold it close to your heart when I say, I still LOVE YOU.

Should I sing you a hymn
From the love scene?
Shall we in darkness commit the ancient sin
Where I act Adam and you Eve?

Let me sing you that song
From my old guitar string.



Kolawole Oludare Stephen is a Nigerian Army Personnel.

His favourite quote,

“Rastafari means to live in nature, to see the
Creator in the wind, sea and storm. Other religions
pointed to the sky, and while we were looking in
the sky, they dug up all the gold and diamonds
and went away with them



Ordinarily, there are certain things a young writer could do to shred the tag, “budding poet” off of his face. From reading other poets, writing better and to choosing a better means of displaying his or her works. However, I thought it’ll be much more fun to tell you for free these 10 sure things to do if remaining a budding poet for a lifetime is what you want. So here they are:

1. REFUSE UPDATES AND SAY NO TO AN UPGRADE: Believe that poets are born and can never be made. Don’t read the works of others, you might end up sounding like them and it won’t just make you stupid, it’s a crime! Seminars, conventions and workshops are for only those who can’t access materials about literary devices and figures of speech on the internet. For you, there’s nothing new to learn there. You need not adulterate what Odin, your father has deposited in you with their mumbo jumbo. If you must be in any workshop, you should be the one teaching. The mountains must go visit Mohammed!

2. NEVER ACCEPT CORRECTIONS: You’re a licensed poet and poetic license is a veritable excuse for inadequacies and errors. Don’t let any jabroni insult you by telling you that your tenses are wrong or that your capitalization and punctuations are wrongly placed. Whoever that does those is just trying to capitalize on your not so noticable blemishes to shine at your expense. You mustn’t let that happen. Show him or her your lie sense!

3. BE SELF-CONCEITED: Avoid sensitive sociopolitical subjects. Great poets like you should write only about themselves. Tell people that you write only what you feel and not what you think can save the world. After all, you don’t feel what others feel and you’re an alien from St. Monica in Mars.

4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS SCALE: Judge your improvement by the increase or decrease of the likes and comments you get on facebook. When your twin brother or sister says he or she is standing on the heads of GEJ and PMB and doffing his or her hat for you because of your poems, just believe that your post is faultless.

5. BE AN EXPERT PLAGIARIST: Other poets may research for weeks before writing a poem, you’re not wired like that. Lifting lines of other writers after all is research also. Don’t think up concepts on your own. When you’re caught, fire back at your critics. Tell them that no idea is virgin. Tell them that what you just stole is a cento, parody and/ or an adaptation and that they’re just being jealous of your fame. This is going to put you in a bad light and make you popular for the wrong reasons but what do you care? Being a budding poet forever is the mission here. You can’t afford to compromise that for anything!

6. RUSH TO PUBLISH: Aside from his white hairs and beards, the only difference between Prof Wole Soyinka and you is that he’s published. You really should consider dyeing yours and publishing too. When you’re done publishing and you succeed in selling only 15 copies to your family members who palpably don’t look like they’re going to read the poems, tell everyone that Nigerians don’t read. Don’t they know that they just have to read your lines to survive? In fact, become livid and disillusioned. Don’t write again. They should all starve to death because they will never read the Jesus in your lines again.

7. REMAIN IN YOUR COCOON: Poets like you are eccentric, don’t join any poetry group. Refuse to enter for slams and don’t expose your mercurial self to exhibitions. Competitions are not a true test of quality and talent, remaining in your room is. Just sit within closed doors and wait for the big break that you alone very well deserve. MTN, GLO, ETISALAT, AIRTEL and MALTINA will soon come and beg you to release few of your lines in exchange for some millions of Dollars. After all, you’re the most current talent on earth and they’ll need your help to get to billions of your fans.

8. BE VERY “CONTROVERSIAL”: Being controversial makes one very popular. Beguile yourself that being controversial is same as becoming troublesome. Fault and fight popular poets and get popular too. Always be on the lookout for lacunae and rifts between two poetry promoters and publicly insult the one you think is at fault. When to your greatest dismay, both of them eventually make peace and remember to forget to include your name in the list of poets to be featured in their platforms, get mad at them and start your own poetry platform. Nonsense!

9. CHOOSE ABSTRACT MENTORS: As a page poet, why settle for Kukogho Iruesiri Samson as a mentor when he’s not yet as popular as Chinua Achebe? The ‘boy’ is only 31 years old! You know that you need a mentor to help you perform your spokenword pieces better but why settle for Kemistree when Jannet icks is far more respected globally? That small girl? She’s still a student! Even though you know that Achebe is late and Jannet icks is far from your reach, just tell everyone that they’re your mentors, read their works and lift some of their lines and you will be rewarded with more regard. Whoever that had said stuffs about how best it is to start small must have been faithless. Take snapshots with Dike Chukwumerije, Uche Uwadinachi and Sammy Sage Has Son and in the pictures, make sure you’re seen rubbing their heads with your hands so that it’ll be easy to proof to your friends that they’re your buddies and not your mentors.

10. BE A JACKASS SNOB: Since you’ve had 3 invites to perform your poems at events (maybe a requiem mass inclusive) and the other poets haven’t got one in almost a year, it means they’re all inferior poets. They’re too wack and having them hang around you is suicide. They’re no longer in your echelon so just move on. Should they call you, pretend you’re seriously preparing for an interview on CNN and drop the call. They’re now social climbers and you can’t afford to be their ladder. Who says you’ll need their help any time soon?

If you as much as do any 3 of these unrepentantly, being a budding poet for a century will not be any much of a challenge to you anymore. At least, not in this lifetime.

Endless Love (A Korean Folk Tale)

An original tale written by Ji-Young Lee from Korea

There was a village named ‘Sa-rang’ in Korea. The village had two flowers that cried when a couple passed nearby. These flowers never died. Once upon a time, there was a couple, Soo-il and Soon-ae, living in Sa-rang. They loved each other so much that they wanted to get married, but Soon-ae’s father, who was very rich, never allowed her to marry Soo-il, who was very poor.

A few days later, her father lied to her. He told her that Soo-il got married to another girl and pushed her to marry a rich guy named Jung-bae. Although she was so sad, she believed her father and got married to Jung-bae. Yet, they were not happy because he also did not love her. He hung out with friends, met other girls and seldom came back home. While she was waiting for him, she often fell asleep.

One day, she continuously heard a strange sound from outside the window, so she slowly went near the window and opened it up. When she looked down, there was Soo-il. Her heart started beating faster, and she made up her mind to get to him. She finally jumped down from her room, which is on the second floor. And then, she felt big pain and fainted.

When she could open her eyes, she saw the people she loved. There were her families and Soo-il. They all looked at her with concern, but at that moment she discovered that she could not move at all and knew her father had lied to her. She cried every day.

After that day, Soo-il came to her every day, but her father did not let him see her, so Soo-il decided to take her to a small town in the country where nobody could see them. They went to the town. He cut trees and sold them for living and she tried to recover by moving her body.

One day while Soo-il was coming back home after getting trees, he saw a rose on the edge of a cliff. Because Soon-ae liked roses, he tried to pick the rose. Unfortunately, he slid and fell from the cliff. While she was waiting for her as usual, some people living in the town came to her with his possessions. Immediately, she went to the place where his possessions were found even though she could not walk well. However, when she got there, she could not find her husband’s body, only a strange flower.

After that, she never ate, drank or talked to anybody. She only thought about Soo-il, who could not return to her forever. A couple of days later, her eyes were closed forever and ever. She was buried near the place where the flower was found. After a while, the grave disappeared, and there was another flower the same as the first one.



Korean Love stories are so beautiful that when reading, your soul lift up like the dawn of the city Seoul…  Get a copy and enjoy its richness. 

WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN….. by Paul Njoku a.k.a Fr33zinPaul

When a man loves a woman,
He sings for her even with that husky voice.
Adores her more than Whiskey and proudly chants “My Woman” not “My Monkey”.

When a man loves a woman,
He compares her to no other woman, human.
Listen to this, man:
Act not like Caesar, bring gifts to seize her
Be easy and see her clique to your heart’s network
Make her the key to your padlock
Never punch her with your fist
WATCH her like your WRIST
Cos just like TIME, women are precious.

When a man loves a woman,
He becomes carelessly caring
He calls 33 times weekly
Caters and prays for her daily
Remembers her birthday yearly
Defy nature’s call just to make midnight calls so he goes to work late and comes back home early
Calls her names like sweetie, baby, my lady, dearie
He will wait for sex, will not talk about his ex but text her pages of romantic lines that she reads like a book.
When a man loves a woman,
He becomes blinded in love but still has foresight
He commends her good and corrects her bad sides
He does not complain of this and that:
“You are “Too short,” “Too fat”
“Too light” ” Too dark”
“Small breast” “Small ass”
“Too skinny with scary scaly skin”
Be satisfied
Do not be an OLIVER, TWISting your neck like a gold digger
Let’s be realistic, because she wants the good things of life does not make her materialistic
Surprise her with gifts, know her favorite lipstick.
She may be quiet and less exciting but your woman is a blessing, a blessing to lessen distresses and stresses
Never punch her with your fist
WATCH her like your WRIST
Cos just like TIME, women are Precious.

When a man loves a woman,
His heart beats faster than Makosa*
He gives her Hakuna Matata*
As patient as Job
Decisive as Solomon
Parts her red sea with his magic rod yet he banks on FIDELITY cos HE KEEPS HIS WORD.
When you love a woman, you just do not die for her, you die to live in her.
Behind every successful man is a woman,
In front of every happy woman is a serious minded successful LOVER MAN.
Never punch her with your fist
WATCH her like your WRIST cos just like TIME, women are precious.

N.B. Hakuna Matata means “no worries”. Makosa is a type of African Dance.

By Fr33zinPaul©


To commemorate this love fiesta, Paul Njoku, popularly known as Fr33zinPaul, dedicated this beautiful spoken word poem to all beautiful lovers out there. If you are a lover or have a lover or you’re in love or married, this piece is dedicated to YOU. Yes, you and you alone..

Wow! what a privilege to have someone write this for all lovers……

“When a man loves a woman,
He becomes carelessly caring
He calls 33 times weekly
Caters and prays for her daily
Remembers her birthday yearly
Defy nature’s call just to make midnight calls so he goes to work late and comes back home early” …….Fr33zinPaul