Our (Insider's) Notes...

teju kareem  

It has been 1,095 days since the Preemptive/Seven tour in 2010 began the race for the Open Door Series’ International Cultural Exchange Program. That year was characterized by plays and tours through some States of the Federation, the Bahamas and the United Kingdom.

We are now in the third year of the Cultural Exchange Series and with this year’s edition we decided to take a peek into ‘the mind of a patriot’. At Zmirage, we have taken it as our responsibility to groom the youths to become better leaders than we have in the country today and what better way to do this than to let these youths express themselves through writing. This edition will be featuring 78 young Nigerians in Nigeria and the Diaspora who would be brought together to write an essay in honor of the 78th birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka on the topic ‘The Mind of a Patriot’.

Alhaji Teju Kareem, Executive Producer

Deep in the ever-giving wells of culture, sits an abundance of refined humanity. Human thought and the polarity of choices we face, is fed with the unrelenting conflict between a shortsighted self-obsessing capsule and a liberating vision that transcends the self; the acute consciousness of the veracity of other lives, other people, other tribes, other religions, other thoughts, other nations around us, shaping us.  The well of culture is therefore never calm, for it is ruffled and riffled by these pressing needs for self preservation, sometimes bordering on greed and gluttonous self-mutilating consumerism versus a ticking awareness of a world or a thought or even a place bigger, more resplendent that the ones we have learned to tame! .  Human 'activities', albeit our choices, values and the solemnization of our human 'beingness'  during and beyond the course of our lives should not and must never be submitted to the lame whims of some conjured "patriotic" obsessions, or the other artificial boundaries of race, color, tribe, religion, class or status. 

We have come to a realization that the well from which we all drink, is the well of a common humanity and the culture of that well is richly robed in the quality of our human activities and choices.  Funding our humanity with literature, the arts, theater, film, dance and the rich copulations of simple 'goodness' and versatile beauty, must be the choice we make, the labor of our love for life and the substance of our humanity.   So we continue on this march.  If it be through an encounter with one of the essays written by our school children or the lecture delivered by our speaker Professor Fox or the  theatrical outing of  Home by Sam Art Williams with the company of highly gifted and resourceful  American, British and Nigerian Scholars and actors; that you find clarity and value, then the great work of  our own lives would have meaning.

Prof. Segun Ojewuyi, Executive Producer/Artistic Director

lilian amah  

The Open Door Series (a platform for International Cultural Exchange) is upon us once more. Organized by Zmirage Multimedia limited, GlobalNewHaven, The Klub International and Badejo Arts, this annual event in its third year has come not without its own challenges and hurdles but also with numerous changes and improvement.
The 2011 edition of the program featured 77 students from all the states of the federation and the Diaspora participating in an Essay Competition with the topic ‘I Love my Country’. They also participated in the cultural exchange program with a tour of Professor Soyinka’s country home, Olumo rock, the office of the Ogun State Governor, and advocacy night characterized by plays, dances and lectures.
This year we bring together 78 senior secondary school students from different states, backgrounds, religions and tribes to participate in an Essay competition with the topic ‘the Mind of a Patriot’. The students will be hosted by the Ogun State and Ondo State Governments and they will tour various historic sites in these States.  This year, we are presenting a play titled ‘Home’ by Samm Art Williams directed by Segun Ojewuyi, Head of Directing at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Illinois, USA.
The eminent culture enthusiast and consummate dancer Peter Badejo O.B.E. will be presenting a dance workshop at this year’s event in London. People who already dance or those who want to learn the art of dance will find this workshop invaluable.

Yet another addition this year is a Blues tea party holding in London at The Africa center. It will be anchored by Stanley Amah, a Nigerian Lawyer based in London who also happens to be a professional dancer.

The advocacy lecture for this year is titled ‘From Tigritude to Transcendence; the conscience and conscientiousness of Wole Soyinka’  by Professor Robert Fox, a professor of English and African studies at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois USA.

Lillian Amah, Producer


When the idea was first brought to me, I asked the executive producer, why are you thinking about me? Because I will like to work in another form, but he said he knew this is the kind of thing you like to do. I like to bring groups together, bring people together. I mean, that’s the way I’ve worked in an organization called CORA. People say we are just talking, we do not do anything and we replied that “we just want to talk”; it is because we are not talking, that is what leads to conflict. I’ve been in Sierra Leone at a point and had the opportunity to ask a fellow that: why are they so aggressive? Anytime someone says something they just want to hit or slap the person; he said “I use my fist because I cannot communicate with that person”. I think that is instructive.

So when I was called on this project, I concluded, we want to see how we can use dialogue to encourage a more peaceful co-existence. We could start from a very little thing like an essay competition, like the executive producer had projected. We took the idea of preemptive and spread it to different fields. If there will be performance, there should be the discussion because it is possible that people will just come into the theatre, watch the play and go. But there ought to be a process of thinking, something that stimulates the attention of the youths to this idea of dialogue. Since the contestants are the people who are going to carry some kind of banner, flag of conflict prevention and dialogue later in the future.

Project preemptive is just the beginning. In fact, it is just the first step; it ought to stimulate further debate, an action… and our leaders, followers and people are being drawn to follow. They have to redefine their psychological make-up. Why do you read the Bible and the Quran, when you know you will still go out and kill somebody? Why do you bother to wake-up in the morning and say “good morning” when you know you will still kill your neighbor? Why do you smile to someone you will kill tomorrow? That is the kind of question Preemptive is asking us.

Jahman Anikulapo, Head Media Consultant






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