Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back in time for a new year

It has been quite a while friends. Honestly life has been so demanding and experiences so engaging that writing would have been rather premature. My own personal evolution has demanded the restrain in understanding what was emerging from my experiences before i share them with you. I have for one been travelling to South Africa (Mzanzi), Nigeria (Gidi) experiencing them through the eyes and challenge of my work on a book on the 21st century Omoluwabi. I have also been to Sweden a few times in this context as well. I will share with you my observations and revealations. In each place I engaged co-travellers who in their own ways are creating powerful movements of warriors of light and delivering as soldiers of ideas. In Sweden there is the Gringo movement redefining their countrys character for the 21st century not only to include but to celebrate through humour and satire new possibilities. In South Africa Leeza, Vuyo , Siphiwe et al creating Random window, The Off Ramp amongst many other concepts to define the new generation of South Africans beyond the debate of race into the productive capacity of an emerging continental class of Young people inspired through the possibility of a pan african marketplace. In the middle of that I briefly met the phenomenal Zola, actor, activist, musician and general home boy. His powerful performance in Sophia Town is an hallmark of his talent. He made quite an impression in a very short time. In Lagos, Sola Kuti is pioneering the Omo Naija platform for the young Africans through publication of Switched On magazine. There is so much to tell of each of these journeys and it will be told. Over the next few days each element will be explored through the Omoluwabi lenses.

In the same period I started working on a spoken word album. We are seven tracks into the album and it has been an experience that exposed many fault lines in the core of my essence so that I expereinced myself anew. It also moved me through my mental block about experiencng my own voice as a musical possibility rather than just as a storytelling tool. I am grateful for the mentoring of Bruce Russell , my producer and guide .

There were two powerful milestones in the middle of all these travelling and creativity which in their own different ways brought love alive in my life anew. Exposing me in my vulnerabilty to both its piercing pain as well as its reassuring compassion. My first son graduated in Law from University in Bristol applauding a transition in my life. Olaiya born when I was 18 and trying to become a man. He made me an adult and crowned it by confirming me a successful father in both his character and behaviour. His comments on our recent podcast on Black boys and character is a reflection of the man he has become.

The second milestone is the marrriage of my sister , the only girl of six siblings, the youngest of us orphans. In fact my own 'daughter' as I brought her up after the loss of both parents. Abimbolas wedding was to be a right of passage in the way that Yoruba weddings are designed to be. It became a chartasis for a lot of pain especially the premature loss of a whole generation of my family.

Each one of these events open up deep meaningful lessons not just about myself but also how character operates on a systemic level. It highlights the failure to understand as well as engage complexity because of our habitual or even addictive focus on linear reduction of logic or the blind reflective obsession with emotive sentiment. The rareness of the wise application (Mo lo) of these two powerful lenses and many more besides is pervasive. All these happening within the context of a world wracked with omens of profound changes. Think elections; the dramatic shift in the United States houses of Congress; the slow tortious exposure of the decadence of the Nigerian political classes; the possibility of a new Swedish model from a new centre right unorthodox and diverse government; the expectations of a post Mbeki South Africa. Think fault lines especially religions .From the debate about political islam to the blind allegiance to America (the theology of hegemony) and the obsessive cocoon of the growing global pentecostal movement. That polarising ignorance, judgement and chauvanism creeping into all spaces and context ensuring the multitudes bewildred by the pace of change are corralled into demonising each other by the advocates of the very heart from which compassion was designed and from which love springs.

Over the next few days I hope to walk you through my world and revealations so that we can continue our dialogue. I work to in a small way encourage us to embrace purpose with greater vigour, life with deeper commitment and love with greater vulnerability. I hope to deepen my compassion along with yours and expose many waves of possibilities in the hope that the battle of ideas is joined from all corners of the globe. Thank you for visiting again .

Ire O