Book Review: The Sin In My Blackness by Nkateko Masinga.

Hello! My black sisters and brothers, how proud are you of your colour?

So, last weekend during my trip to pop beach club, where I had the most relaxing time away from the craziness of work and Lagos. I finally got the opportunity to finish reading one of the books I purchased from last year’s Lagos International Poetry Festival guest, Nkateko Masinga. I’d be reviewing her book, ‘The Sin In My Blackness’ today and I’ll be sharing an excerpt from the book too.

Review:

The sin in my blackness is a chapbook collection of twenty-five poems, twenty-three of them which are written by South African born Author, Nkateko Masinga while two are featured poem of her friends Penelope Makgati and Zuki Mqeke. This book deals with the themes of Xenophobia, Black Consciousness, Love and Loss. The Author also appraises Warshan Shire, Tapiwa Mugabe, Nayyirah, and Yrsa Daley-Ward as her source of inspiration.

This book is an honest work that encourages black people to love themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. Also, during a dark time when some black South Africans were said to kill other black foreigners whom they believed were ‘stealing’ their jobs, Nkateko through her poems, rendered her voice against this gruesome act. As seen in one of her poems from the book, “Betrayal”

Betrayal, a poem by Nkateko Masinga

The language is simple and easy to understand. The book also features aesthetic drawings by Thierry Baranzika that makes one conjure clear image in mind. Nkateko uses imagery and metaphors in the most beautiful manner. The book is a pride of Africa that asserts who we are as Africans and the manner in which words are crafted makes it emotionally compelling.

Authors Note:

According to Nkateko, “many articles have been written about the desirability (or lack thereof) of black skin. It breaks my heart that such conversations even need to happen and hence I worry about my unborn black children but I believe one cannot equate desire with value. The fact that something is not desired by someone does not make it any less valuable. I have found beauty in blackness that I am willing to defend, a beauty that I will not allow to be contained or stifled. I refuse to succumb to the notion that I must hide my hair, bleach my skin or make apologies for the way I sound when I speak. There is no shame or sin in my blackness.”

Authors Biography:

Nkateko Masinga is a South African author, publisher, spoken word artist, theatre actress, TEDx speaker, World Economic Forum Global Shaper and 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow. She was born in Mamelodi and completed her schooling at Glenstantia Primary School, The Glen High School and Dansa International College. She went on to study Medicine (MBChB) at the University of Pretoria and was selected to be a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for her outstanding academic achievements. In 2018 she moved to the United States of America to study Civic Leadership at Wagner College in New York as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship
program of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).

In July 2018, South African publication News24 named Nkateko one of the ‘100 Young Mandelas of The Future’ in celebration of what would have been former president Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, an accolade created to honour 100 young South Africans who embody the characteristics that Mandela was known for. Nkateko is the author of three poetry collections: ‘The Sin In My Blackness’ (2015). ‘A War Within The Blood’ (2016), and ‘While The World Was Burning’ (2017). She is the founder and managing director of NSUKU Publishing Consultancy, a 100% black-owned company which provides African writers with
access to information and services regarding publishing books.
Her written work is widely celebrated and is published locally and internationally.

A poem: “The sin in my Blackness.”

My blackness is red sirens,
Gunshots two blocks
From your block of flats.
Women on the street in their gowns
Asking “What happened, what happened?”
My blackness mimics tragedy in small towns.
My blackness cannot be contained.
You tried all those years ago and failed.
Look, your hands are stained.

My blackness is flashing lights,
Red tape outside your house.
Orange cones on the road that leads to reconciliation.
But you walk here and find me waiting,
Burdened with the weight of waiting.

But you never come close enough,
So I have to ask:
Does my blackness offend you?
I mean, the colour of my skin,
The texture of my hair…
Do these things offend you?
Do they make you question what God was trying to do
When He created me, as opposed to you?
Does my blackness make you get on your feet
And deliberately choose another seat
Or another place to eat?
Tell me this:
When we meet in town,
Does my blackness earn me a frown
Or even worse, a half-hearted lopsided smile
That lasts a while and disappears?

Because you see, for years
I struggled with my blackness too.
I made alterations to it like you do
When you change my name
From Nkateko to Kate.

I tried to plait my hair
I plaited it tightly against my scalp
Like a forced hug.
Then I covered it with hair
That looks like yours:
Sleek.
Soft.
Straight.
Sinless.

And then I realized that your only fault
Is not that you do not look like me
But that you showed me the sin in my blackness.

– Nkateko Masinga.

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Travel: A Guide To Visiting Pop Beach Club

Most times, residents of Lagos state are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the city, so much that they often forget to relax and enjoy the good things of life. But this was not the case for me when I got the opportunity to spend time with some amazing bloggers from The bloggers advocate at the perfect getaway destination, Pop Beach Club, located in the heart of Lagos Island, last weekend.

Pop Beach Club

This exotic beach house is situated at both Ilashe and the beautiful Tarkwa Bay. Gracing a generous portion of the coastland, the beach club was built to meet the need of those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy more intimate time in the most relaxing and natural environment.

Aerial view of Pop Beach Club Ilashe. Image Source: http://www.popbeachclub.com

The Journey

We set out on this approximately 30 minutes trip via a ferry ride (costs about #500 naira per passenger) from The Lagos state jetty, Ikoyi. (One can also board from Farm House, Lekki) but we unfortunately, couldn’t arrive on time to catch the setting sun.

Some bloggers from The Bloggers Advocate on the ferry ride to Pop Beach Club, Ilashe.

Destination: Pop Ilashe.

However, the first sight that greeted my eyes on arrival were the cabanas by the poolside that was highlighted under the moonlight. I was instantly mesmerized! And I couldn’t wait for daylight to take in the beauty of this place.

Side view of the cabanas by the poolside at Pop Beach Club Ilashe.

Draped in white, the cabanas were about 10 in number and they surrounded a large pool. There were also palm trees surrounding the area that gave off a cool ambiance.

Back view of Pop Beach Club Ilashe.

Surrounding areas of the beach house.

The beach house is bohemian styled with both outdoor and indoor recreational facilities like an indoor tennis court, a volley ball court, a clubhouse, a kitchen and grill spot, two chalets, 4 bathrooms and can accommodate about 38 people.

Cheers to the freaking weekend?

Boiled potatoes and chicken gravy for lunch.

We spent the following morning taking long walks on the white sands of the beach and getting accustomed to sights and sounds of the place.

Taking a stroll in the morning.

I also filmed my first spoken word video with jubtrip at this magical location and I can’t wait to show you guys once it’s out. 😁 I was also a guest on the show “mysteries of delicious Africa” with Jub Trip.

We all love our phones now, don’t we? 😂

Thereafter we had breakfast, played tennis, volleyball, had lunch and went for a long dip in the glorious pool before heading out to the other Pop Beach Club at Tarkwa Bay.

Destination: Pop Tarkwa Bay

After another 20 minutes ferry ride from Ilashe (costs about 300 naira per passenger), we arrived at Pop Beach Club in Tarkwa Bay, before sunset.

Pool area, Pop Beach Club Tarkwa Bay.

This beach house is a mini version of the other branch at Ilashe. Though it has the bohemian signature style of Pop Beach Club, but the interior design is more fun and edgy.

The facilities include: a clubhouse, a pool, 6 cabanas, a mini swimsuit store, 5 double rooms, a kitchen, grill pit, 6 bathrooms and can accommodate about 32 people.

The warm and tranquil ambiance of this beach house is perfect for weekend getaways, get togethers, honeymoon, social gatherings and for writers/artists like me it’s the right place for residency programs.

Price Listing

  1. Villa hire at Ilashe for a day costs #540,000 naira.
  2. Villa hire at Tarkwa Bay costs #480,000 naira.
  3. Chalet in Ilashe costs #60,000 naira.
  4. Speed boat charter costs #50,000 naira.
  5. The double room at Tarkwa Bay costs #30,000 naira

Fun Fact!!!

  • There’s an ongoing 30% slash on the prices so hurry up and book Here while offer lasts!
  • Also, you can go along with your favorite books, games, and even foodstuff if you like. There’s a professional chef to cook your meal in a safe environment. There’s also a masseuse at Ilashe branch if you want a massage.
  • Wear comfortable flats or loafers when coming here cos it’s a sandy place and you want need comfort shoes!
  • Airtel and MTN networks are more likely to work here than other networks.
  • You can either pay 200 naira gate pass at Tarkwa Bay front gate and walk a short distance to the beach house or pay nothing at the back gate and walk a 10 minutes distance to the beach house.
  • There are treated nets to keep mosquitoes away, so there’s no cause for alarm! 😉

So what are you waiting for to plan that trip?

Would you love to visit this place soon? Let me know in the comment section.

XO!

Movie Review: Flat 3B. BukaFedGeeks Is In Town Serving a Tray Full of Drama and Suspense!

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Rumour has it that Nollywood actress, Linda Ihuoma Ejiofor Suleiman, is playing lead role in the new web series, “Flat 3B”.

‘Flat 3B’ is a three episode per season anthology series, created by showrunner and uber talented director, Victor Sanchez Aghaowa.

Review:

Season 1 Episode 1 (STUCK-ED):

Starts with Nneka, played by Linda Ejiofor, waking up semi-naked to find a strange apron clad hunk, Niyi, played by Mawuli Gavor, cooking her breakfast. She is in confusion as to how she got there and can’t seem to remember anything from the previous night.

As the drama unfolds and the dialogue continues between the two, Nneka is thrown off by the irksome and seemingly unbothered Niyi who seems determined to impress her with his culinary skill, good looks, and witty banter. We are soon caught in a web of suspense as things don’t look like they seem.

If anything, this 17 minutes episode will leave you with questions, though at first glance it looks like your regular fairytale love story waiting to happen but as we are drawn to the end of episode one, we are assailed with more questions, panic and doubt.

The setting is your conventional setting but the plot is twisted and intriguing enough to leave you at the edge of your seat. As usual, Director Aghaowa knows how to command and hold an audience attention and for a first web series, he has done so with a take no prisoner confidence.

The cinematography is sharp, the scripting is mad, and the actors came ready!

Looking for what to do now? Go on and watch here:

https://youtu.be/Fnk63tEDyOo

Article: Tega Cross Rubrics Of Lovemaking

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Gladys Bivbere Oghenetega who is also known as Tega Cross is a poet-performer, a spoken word artist and Voice over artist.

In March,2018, her poem “Songs of Ecstasy” was shortlisted for the Korea-Nigeria Prize for Poetry. Also, “You are your Mother’s Daughter”, a poem that addresses sickle cell anemia in a most profound way was published in Ake Review,2018 edition.

She emerged a poetry slam finalist in both War of Words Nigeria and Abuja Literary Slam, 2018.

Tega Cross is audacious in her expressions of the realities of human existence.

Related Post: Feature: Edwina Neofloetry, “My works are simple yet powerful”

Her poem ” Rubrics of Lovemaking” is a simple spiritual guide to love making for couples as it is more spiritual than physical. According to her,love making is as old as humanity.

” poem is a metaphor for the Undiluted expression of the perfect love between the Spirit of God and man” in its original state.

She believes that through a deep camaraderie with The Creator of Creatives, the utmost depth of art can be achieved.

She is a lover of God

and children

and love

and poetry.

For Rubrics of Lovemaking, click Here

Event Review: Born In Africa Festival (BAFEST) 2018

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If there’s ever a time to be alive in Lagos, it’s during the end of the year, when people are trapped in the buzz of Christmas and New year festivities. For most people living in Lagos, it’s common knowledge that organizations, multinationals, and companies often take advantage of the season to celebrate and appreciate their staff and loyal customers by entertaining them with events and free shows.

This was also the case at the just concluded Born in Africa Festival (BAFEST). A one of a kind arts and cultural festival produced by Live Spot in partnership with Access Bank and other notable organizations as a way of rewarding loyal fans and customers and celebrating talents in Africa. BAFEST 2018 saw a large gathering of customers, fans, employees, employers, family and friends enjoy the fusion of art, music, fashion, and film from different parts of Africa at the festival.

Held at the Eko Atlantic City, the event kick started on the morning of December 16th, 2018, with an Art exhibition by renowned Nigerian Artistes; Isaac Emokpae, Tolu Aliki, Uche Edochie, Olumide Onadipe, Obi Chigozie, and Ibe Ananaba.

Admiring the artworks of Uche Edochie.

An artwork by Tolu Aliki.

An artwork by Olumide Onadipe.

Selfie moment with Isaac Emokpae.

Related Post: Lagos International Poetry Festival: A feast of Art, Poetry and Conversations.

Then a fashion exhibition and film screening held simultaneously at the same location, leaving people with more options of events to attend. Most of the films screened at the festival were short films from the second edition of the accelerate filmmakers project. The films screened were Thorn, Wrong Con, Wallflower, The Wall, Stuck, Mmachi, and Kasala.

Cross section photo of the screening room during the festival.

Some of the accelerate filmmakers at the festival.

Soon after the screening and art/fashion exhibition, people filed in to the venue for the music concert that had many Nigerian and African A-list musicians like Dbanj, Timaya, Yemi Alade, Sho Madjozi (SA), Awilogomba (Ivory Coast), Tiwa Savage, Flavour, Olamide, Kiss Daniel, Falz and Burna Boy in energetic performances.

Some of the dancers on stage during the festival’s opening performance.

The music concert was infused with a fashion show that had top designers around Africa, like Torlowei, Tiffany Amber, Millen Magase, Oluchi Onuigbo Orlando, and David Tlale display their latest collection.

Tiwa savage during her performance.

Falz doing the Zanku dance during his performance.

Hosts for the night was Shody Tha Hypeman and Dotun Tha energyghad. The duo both locked down the show with their sensational and energetic dance moves that had everyone on their feet. On the wheel of steel was DJ Crowd controller.

Related Post: Event Review: Art Takes a New Dimension at Tribefest

Dbanj during his performance.

However, the highlight of the day was an enthralling performance by some hooded Asian guys/ladies in black, that were suspended in the air, and drumming uniformly with so much gusto. Everyone kept wondering who they were and literally had their hearts in their mouth all through the performance. Thank God there weren’t any casualties lol as these guys displayed their talents with ease and perfection.

The hooded drummers during their electrifying display.

A lucky winner also went home with a brand new Kia Rio from Kia motors during the raffle draw.

People were kept refreshed with H20 drinks and chapman at the film screening. For me I had a good time at the festival and I look forward to the next edition with bated breath!

Event Review: Art takes a new dimension at the Tribe Fest 2018

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The maiden edition of charity Art and Cultural Festival named “Tribe Fest,” organized by Executives Initiative, an NGO established by young individuals who are committed to nation building and giving back to society, recorded a huge success last month.

Some models with their body art posing for the camera.

Held at the modern Johnson Jakande Tinubu (JJT) park in Ikeja, Lagos, the festival included activities like speed painting, Art exhibitions, games, Spoken word poetry, body art, fashion parade, music, dance, Trade fair/bake sales, and lots of food and drinks.

A model posing for the body art

Related Post: Lagos International Poetry Festival

The festival kicked off the first day with fashion parade and Body art and saw a large gathering of people in attendance. Then there were Art exhibition and games.

Artist, Nurudeen Popoola working on canvas during the speed painting competition.

The following day, similar activities continued with more fun activities added to the menu. There was speed painting competition, bake sales, music, dance, spoken word, food and games.

One of the paintings on display during the exhibition.

Speaking to our correspondent, Mr. Dare Asobele the Founder of the NGO, disclosed that the funds actualized from the art exhibition and sales would be donated to charity organizations in Lagos, and there will also be book drives to public schools.

Cill soul performing music at the festival

He also thanked the organizing team, spear headed by Ms. Elizabeth Abubakar, for putting up a wonderful event on such short notice.

He further went on to say that this is only the beginning and that there are plans to continue with Tribe Fest in the coming years.

Mr. Dare Asobele, Founder of executives initiative imitating the classic Fela pose during the festival

He expressed sincere gratitude to sponsors and partners for their commitment towards the event and appealed to the public to be involved in charity causes. He also went on to thank everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the event.

Ella Chikezie posing before an art work at the JJT park.

Tribe Fest is the latest addition to the Executives Initiative vision and an arts and cultural fest geared at celebrating the Nigerian cultural diversity and uniting Nigerians.

Happening Now!!!!

Life lessons: “No one owes you anything” – Ella Chikezie.

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Few days ago I was talking to someone and he went on about how his father was very unsupportive and very stingy. How upon graduation from the University several years ago, he is yet to secure a decent job or any job at all. I asked why, and he responded saying that there are no jobs out there, or at least the type of job he wants. I asked what kind of job he wanted and he said a white collar job that he wouldn’t have to work 5 days in a week, and earn up to 300K monthly.

I looked at this guy, threw my head back and started laughing. Obviously, this guy seemed to be living under a rock! Like how do you explain such ridiculous expectations? And even if such jobs exist, aren’t they rare to find? Unsatisfied with this answer, I asked what he was doing to get closer to his dream job, and he said, “well you know, I’m just waiting for my father to talk to his friend who owns a good company where they pay so well.”

At this point, I was alarmed. Was this guy serious? Like that was it? Wowwwww. He went on to say that when he graduated, his father had given him 200k to start any business he wanted, but that he thought the money was too small and he felt he could double it by gambling. So off he went to gamble and he unfortunately, lost it all. He rounded off with saying, his father was a wicked man who had businesses yet refused to help him. After hearing this, I shook my head and told him plainly, “Guy you are stupid.”

Why do the average Nigerian, (Youths mostly) feel entitled? Like nobody owes you shit. Your uncles, aunties, friends, colleagues, brothers, sisters, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. don’t owe you anything, and by anything I’m talking about financial/material things. Entitlement mentality is what make people covet other people’s stuff. My own is my own, and your own is your own.

If someone decides to help you as a friend, it’s a privilege, one you shouldn’t abuse. I’m often irritated when I hear someone say something like, “That my stingy rich uncle that cannot help anyone.” Bruh, how about you help yourself. Get on your ass and work. Really, there’s a sense of fulfilment that comes with owning your own.
If you are lucky enough to have people who help/support you, see it as a privilege not something you are entitled to, because no one owes you anything. It’s okay to ask for help when in need, but if you don’t get the help you seek, don’t get bitter about it.

By the way, the guy above is a 28 years old grown ass man, and he’s still waiting for his father’s friend to “epp” his life, and sadly, there are a lot of people who just like him, are waiting for someone to hand them the golden ticket. Fact is, no one would do it for you. The way to success is narrow and one potholed with challenges. Success is not for the faint hearted, you have to be intentional, strategic and consistent about it.

Lagos International Poetry Festival: A feast of poetry, art, and conversations.

This year, Lagos International Poetry festival returned for a fourth time in glory and glitz. This four day event themed “Wide Awake,” saw electrifying performances from poets around the globe.

There were poets from The UK, USA, Germany, South Africa, West Africa, and of course Nigeria. It was indeed a gathering of artistic legends as we enjoyed a rich blend of poetry, soul uplifting music and fine artistry from different parts of the world.

Talented poet, Nkateko Masinga from South Africa, thrilling her audience.

Cross section photo of students and some of the poets during the school visit.

The festival kicked off with school visits and an intensive workshop with it’s artist in residence and guest poet, all the way from South Africa, The phenomenal Lebo Mashile, who took time to explain and demonstrate the intricate details of writing and performing poetry, to her keen audience.

Lebo Mashile demonstrating to her students during her workshop on “Writing the resistance.”

Lebo Mashile with some of the participants.

Then there was poetry workshop with Yomi Sode, another brilliant poet from the UK, and the prolific, award winning Ugandan poet, currently residing in the UK, Nick Makoha.

Yomi Sode in an intensive workshop with participants.

Ella Chikezie asking a question during the workshop.

The festival also highlighted an opening ceremony that saw a plethora of mind blowing performances from poets like Jabir Malick (Senegal), Nkateko Masinga (SA), Julian Heun (Germany), Chika Jones (NG), Tobi Abiodun (NG) and Lebo Mashile (SA).

Cross section photo of the audience during the festival’s opening

German poet, Julian Heun performing at the festival’s opening.

Senegalese poet, Jabir Malick during his performance at the festival’s opening.

Dance was by the amazing Q Dance group, and music by King of high life, Femi Leye, followed after the Director of the festival, Efe Paul Azino, gave an opening speech.

Qdance group during their performance at the festival’s opening.

King of High life, Femi Leye giving an electrifying performance on stage.

The festival’s director, Efe Paul Azino giving the opening speech.

The festival also included a masterclass session with the prolific author and maestro himself, Kwame Dawes followed by a conversation with him. There were also panel discussions with Nigerian Literary Legends, Prof. Niyi Osundare and Prof. Tanure Ojaide, Dr. Harry Garuba, with Dr. Obari Gomba moderating the session.

Kwame Dawes during his masterclass session.

Cross section photo of participants in attendance during Kwame Dawes panel discussion.

A call and response panel that had talented poetry millennials, Zoe Hagen (Germany), and Logan February (NG), alongside Graciano Enwerem (NG), Daisy Odey (NG), Saddiq Dzukogi (NG), moderated by Nathan Suhr-Sytsma ensued and held the audience captivated.

Call and response panel discussion. (L-R) Zoe Hagen, Logan February, Daisy Odey, Nathan Suhr Sytsma, Graciano Enwerem, and Saddiq Dzukogi.

The final days of the festival saw a concert that had all the guest poets in performance, including a special performance by ace rapper, MI who read a love poem and special act by Rez Tha poet and the Yahoo band. The beautiful and eloquent Isabella Akinseye, held the fort as MC of the night that even Guest of honor, the icon, Sir. JP Clark sat till the end of the event. Papa was obviously having a great time ☺.

The final curtains for the festival was drawn with it’s signature event, “Poetry After Dark: Poems Apostle Must Not Hear / Silent Disco Party” that saw energetic moves on the dance floor and sultry poetry readings from Wana Udobang, Chika Jones, Nkateko Masinga, Julian Heun, Lebo Mashile, Logan February, and many others.

What an incredible time it was at the festival, and next year it promises to be bigger and better. Indeed, like the popular saying goes, poetry is not dead!

Google For Nigeria: Five Lessons I Learnt.

When I received an email inviting me to attend the Google For Nigeria event in Lagos, I was anxiously looking forward to a day of fun, education and networking.

For those wondering, Google For Nigeria is an event curated by Google as an avenue for real time creators, innovators, business owners, technicians and every Google user to connect to the internet in a way that supports their various hustles and help them make a positive impact on their communities.

There was going to be a Google digital playground and a masterclass session. Attendance for the class was to be on first come, first serve basis as participants were expected to register for a class out of the three classes they were offering in:

  • Monetization – How to make money on Google
  • Capturing your audience on mobile
  • Storytelling and content creation.

Excitement and curiosity got the better part of me as I quickly registered for the First Class “Monetization – How To make money on Google.” Fortunately for me I would eventually attend all three classes. Please don’t ask how I did it *inserts* (small girl….. 😂) okay, I kid, I kid, I was just lucky.

Related Post : Event Review: Efe Paul Azino and Sam Dede hosted at The PHLS Open mic evening

In this post I’ll be sharing three lessons from the classes, and two outside-the-classroom lessons I learnt.

First Class: Monetization – How To make money on Google.

The class focused on how businesses can leverage Google tools for advertising their business. Some of the tools we were introduced to were Google Adsense, Adwords, Social Ads, Adcentre, etc. The training focused on a wide range of basic and advance techniques to increase sales closing rate, better approach clients, and increase client’s loyalty.

The key strategies were:

  • Think mobile first
  • Make content unique
  • Unlock revenue

Second Class: Capturing your audience on mobile.

The class was facilitated by Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, and on the panel was Punch newspaper representative, who shared punch newspaper’s journey in the last ten years and how they have evolved into telling stories better, with images. We were also introduced to the world of AMP’s (Accelerate Mobile Page) and mobile site loading speed as a ranking Google factor.

Third Class: Storytelling and Content creation.

It was an interactive session with Google For Africa head of operations, Nkechi Freda who introduced us to other advanced Google tools to aid Storytelling and content creation. Some of these tools were: Google time travel, Google trends, Google Search tools, Google Maps, and project shield.

The Google station – A program designed to provide high-quality, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in partnership with 21st Century, one of the largest fiber network providers in Nigeria was introduced to us.

The Google stations will be rolling out in 200 locations in five cities across Nigeria by the end of 2019, bringing Wi-Fi to millions of people. Sites will include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more.

General lessons from the event:

Whenever you are attending a similar event, go with the following things in mind:

  1. Network : This is the most important part of such outing. Always be prepared to network and build your connections. Meet new people, ask questions and offer suggestions. As this would help you expand your brand because who knows, you just might be talking with your next client. So always go prepared with your business card and other types of brand material.

Dress Up : Dress up in a way that adequately represents your brand. Don’t think that because it’s a “class” that you have to dress casually. No honey, wear a comfortable and smart outfit that would make a positive statement about you. Remember you are an embodiment of your brand and how you dress determines how you would be addressed.

In a nutshell, just have fun as you go.

Question : Did you find this post interesting and learn a thing or two? Kindly leave comments below, like and share.

Night Out – [A Short Story]

Its a Wednesday night, and as I turn around in front of my mirror for the umpteenth time, I double tap my mobile screen, checking to ensure I’m still within my time limit and not going to be late for the hang out with my friends – the last one in, pays the bill for the first round of drinks – solo.

I do another 180 to ensure my butt looks perfect in my midnight blue mini bandage dress; this last check is more because the guys are coming, and when I say guys my mind pictures Bankole, Sandra’s brother, designated driver, super responsible, duper cute, maxi sexy and everything in between. My year long crush… More like 3yrs now. For as long as I’ve had Sandy as a friend, Bankole has had my late night infatuation and daylight fantasy slots booked to the T.

A final double check and a dab of gloss and I rush for the door, checking the time again and glad it looks like I’m not going to be paying for Sandra’s expensive taste or Boma’s adventurous one.
In the back seat of my Uber ride, I remember not too long ago when a night like this was beyond even my imagination. I never used to be one to fit into a group. Never been one of the hit crowd; miss popular, miss trendy, the IT peeps, mean girl, not even a geek. I never had a label and was one of those who, five years down the line, you would not recognise me if I were in your high school year book (no one would have noticed if I totally missed picture day too), I was that invincible. But all that changed when I met crazy Boma and fiesty Sandra, a girl can’t ask for better friends. It looked like I was destined to remain invincible until those two came along, pulled me out of my shell and as they say, find the tale in the history books.

“For your mind you are sharp bah, no calls and you thought u would get here before us?” Boma screams at me from the bar above the car park, as I alight from the cab.

“Getout, don’t tell me Sandra is here already! You guys always get here like …10 mins from now” I whine.

“not when Bankole is driving. Tola and Chucks are here too!”
“Ahgrww, its a cash ride, I would be right up”

The night is definitely not going as I planned. But one good thing is I get to make an entrance with everyone watching. Meaning Bankole again. I give myself a mental smack and head up to meet my girls and guy pals, it is what it is.
Not only are they here early, looks like the party already started without me. Every one nursing a drink or two, definitely a beer night as I count five bottles of “33” lager and one sparkling water. I put on a smile, say my hellos and do the calculations in my head, then I smile genuinely, the first round on me is secure when I order my bottle of water, at this rate I can afford two rounds. Even though I’m not a “33” girl or any beer girl at all.
I sit and realize the only free seat is right next to Bankole and I’m positioned in a way that makes it seem I’m caught in a corner with the big bad wolf looming above. His friends, Tola and Chucks in a heated conversation about politics and my girls dancing like its a Friday night, the night could only get better.

Apart from my heart racing a million miles a minute, obviously because of my proximity to crush, I couldn’t be any happier. This is my circle, my own crowd, people who get me and know me, and are happy with me as I am and also journey with me as I evolve. I find myself smiling and wishing nothing ever changes with us. At that moment I catch Bankoles’s eyes. Eyes it seem, that have been trained on me all night long.

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“what’s up, have I grown a beard?” I ask.
“Nahhhh, not a beard, not a beard at all… You’ve just grown. And that smile says you are ready for something I’ve been meaning to ask you” He says.
“Really?” I scoff out as sarcastic as I can, because there was a glint in his eyes I didn’t want to read but making me itch at the same time.
“Yes, really!”
“And that would be?” I ask.
“I’ll just show you…”
In the next instant I am pulled out of my seat and led down the stairs to a private lounge. Now I want to know what has come over him but I can’t ask him anything as his mouth is fastened fast against mine and I can taste on his lips the “33” lager, making me think I could most definitely be a “33” girl.

“I’ve been meaning to do that for a while” Bankole whispers in my ears.
“Are you sure you are not drunk, or high on something?” I ask him with my hands fisted on his shirt.
“Trust me, its not the beer talking. It however makes it easier to say what needs saying.”
“courage to shoot your shot?”, I teasingly ask.
“Yes. That’s what it is. Its been a while I’ve been thinking you ain’t my sister Bim. How about you be my girl?”.
I was wrong earlier, I did want something to change and now it has and in this moment, I couldn’t be possibly happier. I sigh in content.
Nothing like a night out with friends, and a crush!

Written By: Abimbola Abayomi

Abimbola Abayomi
An idealist who believes the world can and would be better if we all just chip in and lover of the arts and humanist.
I just want my words to matter