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amazing teen

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TABLE OF CONTENTS PUBLISHER: Mrs Peace Igwe Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya Assistant Editor: Chika Ikonwa CONTRIBUTORS: Ebenezar Wikina Noela Ugwu Precious Wachikwu Mrs. Onuigbo Ogaga Omovie Boma Wilcox Eze Nyeche Omereji Marie Sibe Gbemisola Ogunrinde Ihunnanya Thompson Lateefah Musah Etela Ashford Flourish Enyinna Ken Henshaw Xaviera Ajimuda Graphic Designer: Keme Kenneth Amazing Teens Magazine is produced and published by Amaranthine Media Production Studios. Phone: 2347039012476 Email: [email protected] Enquiries and Advertising: 2347039012476 1

Welcome TO OUR WORLD D ear readers, you are welcome to our amazing world, where everyone has an important role to play. Amazing Teens is a ministry for children and teenagers with the aim of providing the right information through the right medium, filtering harmful knowledge and using vari- ous channels to spread the word of God while teaching our young people to uphold godly values. Amazing Teens magazine appreciates the fact that young people are attracted to certain fads and we are using familiar channels which are of interest to children and teenagers to spread the message of hope, faith, strength and love. This magazine also addresses pertinent and everyday issues faced by teenagers in their education, relationships, career choices, finances, personal grooming and much more. This ministry and magazine was born out of a long standing passion towards kids and teens which start- ed when I was a teenager. I visited motherless babies’ homes, providing assistance where ever I could, and organized programs for children which affected their lives positively. This purpose of this magazine is to encourage our teenagers to work on their God-given potentials and build teenagers with strength of character that are not distracted or destabilized by society, social media or peer pressure. The Amazing Teens Magazine is not just for teenagers however. It is also for their parents and guardians who need to keep themselves abreast of information in the digital world that we live in. This edition asks our teenagers some interesting questions and we are certain you would love to know the answers! Excited? Let’s get started! Mrs. Peace Igwe Publisher, Amazing Teens Magazine and founder Shining Stars Children’s Ministry. 2

CREATIVITY AND THE TEENAGER: A TRIBUTE TO AMA ZING TEENS I was one of those teenagers who loved to read. I spent my free moments with my head buried in the pages of some novel or the other. Life, people, fantasy, conflict fascinated me. Before long, I could whip up short stories and novellas and I immersed myself in the world of storytelling or acting out some yet-to-be written scene. I haven’t changed much; storytelling and creativity gets my blood pumping every time and that’s why it excites me to see teenagers who have discovered and purposed their talent early on. You see, for me, it took years before I knew for certain that I could make a living from my writing. And that’s one of the reasons this magazine was created - to let you know that you don’t have to wait to become an adult or acquire any special super powers to find and start sharpening your skills. Young people all over Nigeria are doing great things, and we will showcase some of them shortly. There is no age limit to greatness, no age when you cannot decide to start living purposefully. Social media makes it a whole lot easier with access to an endless wealth of knowledge… but hold up? Are you using social media the right way or the other-not-so-right ways? The young gentleman on our cover embod- ies the spirit of this edition in his grit, creativity, purposefulness and self-discipline. I mean, how does a 19 year-old become one of the most sought-after animators and design artists in Nigeria? He is going to tell us how he succeeded. But, as much as we extol our successes, the truth of life is that failure happens to everyone. Yes, every- one. From failing J.A.M.B to failing in business, we are not shy about tackling that or anything else for that matter. For instance, did they tell you that it was impossible to remain celibate? *Scoffs.* I got a live witness who respectfully begs to disagree! Yes, we went there and everywhere else. But it’s not all talk. There’s fashion, food and fitness too. It’s a bountiful first edition if I do say so myself and, you can feel the love of God just enveloping you on every single page. So, I sincerely appreciate our contributors, including the teenagers who sent in their answers, and ev- eryone who came together to create the Amazing Teens Magazine. We would also love to hear from you, our dear readers, so do use the feedback guide and send us an email. Yours Amazingly, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya Editor-in-Chief, Amazing Teens Magazine and Filmmaker at Amaranthine Media Production Studios. 3

Amazing Teenagers IN THE NEWS The Amazing Teens Magazine beams its spotlight on teen- ca Tandoh is a 13-year-old self-taught Disc Jockey (DJ). agers across Nigeria and Africa who have found their pur- She began performing at events at the age of 9 and has pose and are inspiring young people all over the continent. been able to combine schooling and being a successful award-winning DJ. 1. 15-year-old Faith Odunsi emerged as the Mathematics World Champion 2021 at the Global Open Mathemat- ics Tournament 2021; an international competition with participants from Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia. 2. At 12 years, Nigeria’s Kareem Waris Olamilekan is a hy- per-realistic artist who uses charcoal and pencils to create his paintings. Kareem has gained global recog- nition for his incredible drawings and has won several awards. In 2019, he defeated over 2,000 participants and emerged winner at the 22nd Fervent Global Love of Lives Award hosted by Taiwan’s Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation. He became a global sen- sation when he drew a portrait of the French President Emmanuel Macron, on his visit to the Fela Kuti Shrine in Nigeria in just two hours. Kareem says he is inspired to use his drawings to depict Africa vividly and flip a new life to change Africa’s narrative. 3. Nigerian-Irish teenage champions of Technovation Girls 2020, Joy Njekwe 18, Rachael Akano 17, and Margaret Akano 18, created an online App for people living with dementia. The ‘Memory Haven’ App helps people living with the disorder cope better with memory loss and dif- ficulty with recognition and speech. 4. Akintade Abdullahi, a secondary school student of Osogbo Grammar School made his alma-mater proud when he clinched the Nigerian Scientist of the year award at the National Examination of the 774 Young Ni- gerian Scientists Presidential Award. 5. Kenya’s 19-year-old Elsa Majimbo is the internet’s young- est sensation right now. Elsa started out as a comedian who shared skits on social media. Her videos have gone on to garner her a global audience as she has won sev- eral awards and is a popular influencer for several in- ternational brands including Valentino, Dior and Fenty. 6. Ghana’s youngest winner of the Ghana DJ awards, Eri- 4

Opportunities for YOUNG PEOPLE Did you know you can study overseas with a fully funded scholarship? There are numerous scholarships available via the internet but you need to research extensively to find them. Scholarships are a financial aid provided to a student on the basis of merit. They are usually free to access and awarded based on academic, athletic or artistic abilities. Applying early for a scholarship could give you an advantage over other applicants. Important steps to note during the application process. • Always check if you are eligible to apply, if the scholarship application deadlines are up-to-date, and if the scholarship is open to national and international students. • Registration for a scholarship in any institution usually begins by completing an online application form. Ensure to use a valid email address as this will be your point of information and contact with the school. • Make it a point of duty to check your inbox often to receive and reply emails on time. • In writing a personal statement or essay, be passionate. Bring to the fore that you are an African seeking to study in their University. Instead of copying what others have done on the internet, remember to be original and impress using your own unique experiences and ideas. • Obtain official proof of your academic, athletic, or artistic achievements. Translate the documents if necessary and it usually is. Also obtain official proof of your low income or nationality (for region-based scholarships). • Proofread all documents for errors and send them to the scholarship provider/institution. Also ensure to communicate in clear, simple English. • The application process may be tedious but do not let procrastination get the best of you. There is a lot of knowledge gained during this process. All lessons are important. • Submit the acceptance letter from the university (or an official document from the university proving you have been ac- cepted). You will not receive the scholarship without confirming that you will actually begin studies for the next session. Once you have completed the application process and admission is secured from the proposed institution, clinching the scholarship is much easier. How do you find available SCHOLARSHIPS? The official websites of your preferred universities are the best places to begin searching for a scholarship. If you do not find any relevant information, contact a representative of the school via email. Always remember to ask questions, make enquiries preferably with a staff of the institution. Extensively search for financial aid in other places on the internet as different scholarships exist for International students including: Scholarships for excellent academic results (also called merit scholarships available for students who have ex- ceptional WAEC/NECO results), scholarships for research, artistic or athletic achievements, scholarships for students with low income, scholarships for under-represented groups (e.g. women, Hispanic and African-American students and citizens from developing countries.) 5

EDUCATION Is online learning the future of EDUCATION? -By Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya- 6

rdinarily, the answer should be an emphatic, When is the right time for the most effective transmission no-holds-barred, yes! But for a resident of of knowledge? Should certifications be the only mode of Nigeria, there are more layers implanted be- rating knowledge and experience? What about interperson- neath the obvious. al relationships? I strongly believe that nothing can totally compensate for the energy and vibe that courses through a OThe obvious would be to take stock of the group of people breaking barriers together. Learning should situation which the entire globe is currently not be a lonesome experience. contending with and conclude that online learning must be the present and future of education. While this, like the Co- So for me, it is a tentative yes. Online learning has the rona Virus, is quite novel for certain categories of people, I potential to be the future of learning; however, there are had my first brush with online learning almost a decade ago several systems and structures that will need to be put in when I benefitted from some free online courses offered by place for its effective and sustainable deployment especial- Coursera. As an older person who went through the rigors of ly in African countries. According to, education with little or no access to the internet, it was both there is only a 39.3 % internet penetration rate in Africa as of refreshing and fulfilling to finally earn that online certificate December 2019. Is online learning possible without access which I proudly shared on my social media handles to sev- to the internet? Online learning is intended to overhaul the eral accolades. limitations of time and space, should be flexible, and possi- bly provide accelerated learning experiences. Additionally, Since that time I have undertaken over twenty short courses online learning cannot afford to be classist if it is to become online via the Young African Leaders Initiative [YALI] network, the standard for education in the near future. Anything that attended masterclasses and related sessions, and even cre- pulls us back as we attempt to navigate new terrains and ated an online screenwriting class of my own on teachable. catch up with the rest of the world will not be sustainable. com. As the saying goes, you can learn absolutely anything on the internet. Irrespective of these learning experiences HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT however, I would not trade a three-week learning trip to SECONDARY SCHOOL France for one hour sitting in front of a laptop. FOR YOUR KIDS. Before we were struck with the realities of living in a A school is an educational institution designed to provide COVID-conscious world, I would not have contemplated on- learning spaces and learning environment for teaching line education for my children if I had been offered a choice. students under the direction of teachers. Although diverse Unfortunately, that choice was ripped out of our hands and school models exist, there are m easures to assess if a we were, rudely I might add, thrust into the quirks of online school is effective in its purpose. learning. The process has been tasking, physically and fi- An effective school is one in which a greater percentage nancially, and my eternal respect goes out to the teachers (95%) of all students in each class demonstrate minimum who have dedicated their lives to ensuring that knowledge academic mastery and are prepared to succeed in the next is passed from generation to generation. For kids below 6, class anywhere with a similar program. A few indicators for studies probably need to be carried out to ascertain the at- choosing an effective school are: tention span required to engage them fruitfully as online pu- pils. Should notes be copied? Can we afford to spend thou- 1. Clear and Shared Vision/Mission: The vision and mission of the sands of naira on internet subscriptions weekly for learning videos and Zoom classes and Google meetings and yet pay school must be clear and shared among all stakeholders. It should be commu- school fees? Then there is that little matter of power supply. nicated, understood and valued by every member of staff and all stakehold- If I cannot generate my own power between certain hours ers. Students’ performance has been shown to improve in schools where the of the day, what happens to my child’s learning experience? school community works towards achieving the goals. And yes, I am writing from my perspective as a middle-class Nigerian parent. 2. Quality of Leadership: The school leadership must be qualified. The Beyond these layers however, there is no gainsaying the success of a school hinges on the tone set by the principal. The climate and fact that online learning has granted African Millennials ac- atmosphere a principal creates are integral to a thriving body of staff and cess to tables where they would not have dared sit without students. The leader must be open, innovative, approachable and center the the requisite wealth of knowledge and the confidence that students in decision making. He/she should invite inputs from all stakeholders comes from those experiences. I have a friend who has nev- in the process of developing school goals. er left Nigeria but has a Harvard certification. I know a wife and mother who gained her Master’s degree from the com- 3. Safe, Orderly and Conducive Environment: The school must fort of her home. My brother earned a Master’s degree in the United Kingdom all the ways from Nigeria. I also have a be located in a safe and supportive environment/community where kids and colleague who was denied a South African visa because she teachers of all background can focus on learning. Behavioral expectations could utilize online learning for her course of study. are clear and consistently articulated. The principal and teachers model these I am persuaded that education as we know it must be re- behaviors and students are treated with respect and empathy. vamped and online learning is one of the ways that will in- evitably happen. No more restrictions to the four walls of a 4. Quality of Teachers: Teachers are qualified with teacher education classroom, no longer the tedious labour of copying copious notes and cramming endlessly. Even our methods of grad- programs and there is low turnover of teachers in such school. ing must be re-evaluated in the changing tide. How is ex- cellence determined? How can knowledge truly be passed? 5. Curriculum: Instructions and assessment must align with the Ministry of Education standard. 6. Positive Home-School solutions: Parents are encouraged to play an active role in their child’s education. Parents and teachers partner to nur- ture each child’s social, emotional, physical well-being and development. 7. Monitoring: Frequent monitoring of teaching and learning and students’ progress enables the school know when to alter instructional methods or pro- vide specific interventions as needed to ensure students are successful. It should be noted that these factors are not exhaustive and no one school can satisfy all the conditions. It is best to seek for schools where a greater percentage of the conditions can be met. 7

FAMILY The building block of Academic excellence -By Mrs. Onuigbo- 8

ducation is the process of facilitating learning Choice of Subject and Career or acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habit. It is also the all-round development Imposition of subjects or career on a child by the school or of a child. It comprises of formal/non-formal or parents can frustrate the child, both academically and emo- tionally. Parents must invest time and resources in discover- Estructured and non-structured education. There ing their child’s talent and interest in order to motivate them are two major factors (nature and nurture) which to become the best through education. This discovery can influence a child’s academic excellence in school and they only be done when the family is close-knit, communicative start from the family. and observant enough to perceive both overt and covert talents. Nature; Monitoring the Child in School refers to all genes and hereditary factors that influence who we are. Genetic traits carrying instinctive mental capacity Parents should ensure they maintain an open line of commu- that allow a child to learn/are handed down from parents. nication with their child’s school (teachers, guardian, form This influences individual differences that make each child masters, house officer etc.) to know how their child is truly unique. faring in academics, social, morals and of uttermost impor- tance, the friends that surround them. Any child who knows Nurture; that their parents are invested and connected with their ac- ademic wellbeing will always make an effort to avoid dis- this refers to all environmental variables that impact who we traction and strive for excellence. are – early childhood, how we were raised, our social rela- tionship and surrounding culture. The family engagement in early childhood and beyond, program and system of a child’s Mrs. Rachael Onuigbo aka Mama Chuboy is a Retired Deputy Director of Educa- education is central and not supplementary to promoting a healthy intellectual, physical and emotional development. tion from the Federal Ministry of Education. The interaction between nature and nurture determines the extent of a child’s performance in school. While nature pre- THE 5 VITAL COURSES destines the best each individual can be, nurture can make IN THE 21ST CENTURY or mar the attainment of such best. Satisfaction and relevance are important in choos- Academic excellence or success in life is not limited to se- ing the right course to study in the university. These curing a particular position after school exams or studying a courses provide a high rate of job opportunities, particular popular course but becoming the best a child can skills, and career advancement for graduates any- be through education. A child who is endowed with a high where in the world. intelligent quotient may not excel in school work if he grows up in a deprived environment where basic/psychological INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: We live in a digital world which needs (food, shelter, clothing, water) are lacking, has bad is mostly dependent on technology. Every industry is run or character and morals, and has no follow up of school work benefits from technology and it will only intensify with new at home and no clear interests. technological breakthroughs. Information technology produces web developers, computer scientists, specialists who maintain Morals and Character: databases, and all sorts of tech experts. The good character and moral upbringing of a child goes a BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: A degree in business and long way in a child’s education and academic performance. management offers you career prospects in public, private and Luke chapter 6 verse 33 urges us to “seek the kingdom of non-profit organizations in all working sectors. If you aspire to God first and all other things shall be added unto us,” in- become an entrepreneur or want to acquire skills to work in any cluding academic excellence. Jesus in John chapter 15 vers- field of management, studying this course in the University is a es 5 made it clear that we are “branches in him the true wise choice. vine and we can do or achieve nothing without him.” Parents should guide children to understand these truths as it will MATHEMATICS: We live in a digital age where STEM is king. help and motivate them to overcome all hindrances in their One of the core subjects of STEM is mathematics, and acquiring academic pursuit. Remember, if you “train up a child in the a degree in Mathematics can offer a wide range of possibilities. way he should go, when he is old/ teenager, he will not de- Good knowledge of advanced mathematical principles can part from it,” Proverbs chapter 22 verses 6. provide opportunities in data science and analysis, risk manage- ment, economics or financial analysis – all highly sought-after Follow Up of School Work at Home and very well-paid sectors. Mathematics can also be applied to other fields such as cryptography, cybersecurity and science. Follow up studies at home help the child to master and in- ternalize the points raised in subjects in school, clarify some ENGINEERING: Are you a creative problem solver who likes to ambiguity, and gain additional information, as he completes work in groups? Do you have good numeracy skills and commu- the assignments. It also trains the child to learn to study nication skills? Then acquiring a degree in Engineering is for you. alone or with minimal guidance outside the classroom. This Engineering is a broad field that offers exciting career opportu- way, the child is able to link-up from previous topics to a nities where you get to be creative, solve problems and explore new work/topic, resulting in a deeper understanding and how things work every day. There are different types of engi- culminating in an excellent performance. neering so you have to choose the one that is best for you. MEDICINE, NURSING AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES: The increase in population heralds a call for medical practitioners and healthcare workers across the world. Researchers and Scientists are also required as they work on var- ious discoveries in our ever evolving world. A career in nursing ensures job security and a range of professional opportunities globally. 9

Handling academic failure AND USING IT AS A LAUNCH-PAD TO MASTERY -Ogaga Omo-Ivie- 10

t is often said that we do not fail, but learn working one else. ways to get better results. I can remember vivid- ly my first attempt at J.A.M.B (The Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination). I was so confident 4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY I that I would pass having cleared my papers save for “Responsibility is the price you pay for greatness.” - Sir mathematics (how I hated the subject back then) at Winston Churchill. If you must succeed, you must be willing to pay the price. These are some of the ways I the G.C.E. My mother had enrolled me in S.S 2 to take the took responsibility for my failure. First, I told myself that G.C.E as a preparatory to taking the Senior School Certifi- my success was up to me. Secondly, I went through cate Examination (S.S.C.E) conducted by the West African J.A.M.B examination syllabus, collected the relevant Examination Council. With that level of confidence I had textbooks and read accordingly. I also took time to re- gathered from my success at the G.C.E, I faced J.A.M.B. vise practice questions. The way you practice is the way I never knew that the syllabus and requirements were not you play. I located like-minded people and we began same. I had told myself proudly “Ogaga if you can demol- to read together and challenge ourselves because iron ish G.C.E with B2B3 which was the lowest grade in credit sharpens iron. One of the things that almost ruined me except mathematics in which I had F9 (ple-Bay sJeenndifeor nN’ktemla-Eungeahn)y,a- was the fact that I initially kept company with some per- then the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examination was sons who held the view that “you can’t pass any external a walkover; “University here I come.” examination if you don’t get to see “expo.” I was almost I became lousy in my preparation. I got into the examina- carried away with this untrue assertion. Your friends de- tion hall with a lot of confidence and then the papers were termine your future so choose wisely. distributed (this was in 2000 and had to shade our answers Final Words with pencils on the sheets), I quickly shaded and before we The Journey to mastery in academics cannot be taken alone. could say “Jack Robinson” I had submitted. I was too confi- Get academic mentors. Mentors are trusted guides. dent that I would pass with flying colors. Following the guidance of a mentor can seriously reduce or minimize your errors and position you for mastery. The results came out sooner than expected and after the struggle to get into the J.A.M.B office as we did not have NEVER FORGET, FAILURE IS NOT FINAL. the luxury of checking results online, I got my result! Lo and behold, I had scored 174. I had failed. I cried and refused to Ogaga Omo-Ivie is a trained Lawyer from the University of Benin and a eat for some days, but I had to come to terms with the situa- member of the Nigerian Bar Association. He holds a master of laws (LLM) Degree and is currently a people developer, corporate trainer and educa- tion and re-strategize. On my second attempt I passed, with tion reform enthusiast. He is the Dean of the Teens Leadership and Business a whopping score of 259. Here are a few lessons I learnt School at Process and Paradigms and the Chief Learning Officer of Process from failure: and Paradigms Consulting. He makes his home in Benin City, Nigeria with his family. Failure Taught Me That…... 1. FAILURE IS NOT FINAL Q&A Great minds sometimes fail. Never draw the conclusion We asked 5 teenagers whether they were allowed to choose their courses of study. that it is the end of the road for you. See failure as a Here’s what they said. teacher. See failure as a school. If you have this per- IFEANYI OBI – I have always wanted to be a Lawyer and my parents encouraged me. They did not impose the spective, you are certainly going to come out strong. A choice on me. great attitude certainly determines your altitude. IFUNANYA EZEOBI – I am studying medicine and it was a choice I made with guidance from my parents. ALABOTA JACKS – I am currently studying Chemical 2. NEVER PERSONALIZE FAILURE Engineering and it was a decision made by me. One of the things I noticed when I failed on my first at- tempt at the J.A.M.B Examination was that I personal- ized it. I saw myself as a failure. This is a trap. Never internalize failure. Failure is an event. Failing an exam- ination does not make you a failure. The Creator never made anyone a failure. If you think you are a failure, it will rip you of the confidence and resilience you need to try again. 3. NEVER EXCUSE FAILURE MALIK ABDULLAHI – I wanted to study Communications because it is something I am passionate about but my Excusing failure is an attempt to avoid taking responsi- parents advised I go for a more serious course like Law. I bility. It is only when you take responsibility for the fail- am currently studying Law. ure that you can make something profitable out of it . Quite a number of young people blame their parents, EZE AMADI – I wanted to do music but my parents said their teachers and everyone but themselves for their they will not pay my school fees. I am currently studying failure. One of the hallmarks of leadership is the ability Electrical Engineering in the University. to take ownership of a problem. Take responsibility for it and think of a solution. When you excuse failure, you hand over the power to change the situation to some- 11

On Self- Discovery, Purpose and Passion -By Mrs. Peace Igwe- 12

y greatest discovery in life is that one has Q&A to be courageous in order to unfold their potentials. What are your struggles According to Michael de Montaigne, “he as a Christian? Mwho fears suffers already because he Joan Lloyd 14 years old; Being a Christian has some ups fears.” 2 Corinthians 4 verses 4 – 5, says that “we have this treasure in earthen and downs for me. This is because sometimes I make mistakes, vessels so that the excellency of his power and I find it very hard not to make mistakes. Everybody makes may be of God and not of us.” You are a vessel in God’s mistakes, we are all human and humans cannot automatically hands and what he requires of you is to be ‘good’, we have to overcome our ungodly side. Some of my make yourself available to be an instrument of use. He is struggles as a Christian are: trying not to be selfish, trying not the potter while you are the clay. Everyone to repeat the same mistakes I have done, trying not to pray only was created to fulfil one purpose or the other and it is when I need something, trying to refrain from doing things out satisfying when you discover an area where of manipulation and trying not to follow the wrong people just you can manifest the word of God to other human beings so I can ‘fit in.’ and the world at large. To discover your life’s purpose, try not to be pushed around by your fears. Gift Obua 17 years old; I know that human beings are not It is only when you step out of your comfort zone that you can begin to impact, grow and perfect but I feel bad when I make mistakes. Especially when transform others. the mistakes are repeated. Like mocking people sometimes, I feel like I disappoint God. What do you do for others? Life without love is like a tree without fruits. Our lives are useless Judith Chidi 16 years old; Some of the things in the Bible do without fruits which are the only things we can be remem- bered for and identified with at all times. not sit right with me. There is a lot of sexism in the Bible and we Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 states that “I can do all are told not to ask questions or we may offend God. things through Christ who strengthens me.” We can only derive strength from God to be able to help Brave Boms 12 years old: Stubbornness and fighting are the and love others. You cannot do it on your own power; the Holy Spirit must help and guide you if you things that make me feel bad as a Christian, because some- invite him in. You can only bear fruit if times I cannot help it. you have passion. Without passion, our lives would be like the life of an emotionless plant. Passion plays a big role in our lives, and oftentimes serves as a Xaviera 16 years old; The hardest part is the willpower not to guide to our purpose. conform to the things of the world. More often than not, people Growing up, I discovered my passion was compassion. see Christianity as a bunch of rules and regulations to hinder This was perhaps because I grew up in a them from doing anything fun. From personal experience I did loving home, and was taught to love God and other peo- sometimes see Christianity as that unnecessarily strict parent ple. Loving children and caring for them has that prevented me from enjoying certain things the masses also been my passion. From caring for the kids in a moth- were enjoying. erless babies homes while I was a teenager, to being conferred with the position of a health prefect in Another struggle sometimes is believing that God is actually there - secondary school because I was very a lot of teenagers can come to a unanimous agreement that we know empathetic, I had a clear purpose. Psalms chapter 127 God is there only because we’ve heard so from our parents, the inner verses 3 - 4 states that, “children are a conviction is absent and so it makes one question a lot of things; heritage from the Lord and the fruit of his womb is his such as “Is God even real?” reward. They are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.” No warrior plays with his arrows because you want “Why am I following these rules and regulations when other people to aim right. There is no keener revelation are enjoying their lives with no consequences?” of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its chil- “But I studied so hard and prayed and still failed that math test. Sar- dren. ah didn’t even study but got a distinction - what’s the meaning of all this?” What is your passion? What is your purpose? Seek God’s I know the majority of people are left to answer all these questions in order discover your purpose which is themselves and they come up with the universal saying that has bog- usually revealed through your passion, and should involve gled the teenage brains for all of history: doing something that will benefit not just “Is God even real?” you, but humanity at large. I discovered my purpose The answer is yes. through my passion as a teenager and so can If you genuinely try to find Him, He will reveal Himself to you. you. Talk to God today. To all teenagers that are going back and forth in their conscience in like manner of a pendulum, I just want to reach out and say that whenever the path to heaven seems thorny and steep, at the end of it all a beautiful garden awaits you. Those who cannot handle the thorns should never be able to hold the beauty of the rose. 13

Learning to Lead: .NLeaedhereshmipileasshons from -By Chika Ikonwa - Who was Nehemiah? and reliable follower. That was why the King could grant his requests and release him to go to Jerusalem for this T he book of Nehemiah narrates Nehemiah’s role assignment. in the restoration of the political and religious 3. A leader must have passion for the work. Great lead- stature of the Jews after 70 years of Babylo- ers have passion for their pursuits. Passion in a leader nian exile. Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah are inspires the leader to take on any challenges. Passion the leaders God used to fulfill the promise to took him to Jerusalem and passion kept driving him to return the Jews to Jerusalem. continue with the work there against all odds. That was why Nehemiah, reflecting on how he had conducted Nehemiah served as the king’s cupbearer which eventually himself in getting the job done, said, “Remember me, my put him in a position to speak to the king and request favors God, for good, according to all that I have done for this from him. Nehemiah led the Israelites to rebuild the walls of people” (Nehemiah 5:19 NKJV). Jerusalem in 52 days amidst resistance and force. Leader- 4. A leader must be able to articulate his vision and ship skills are an important life skill and we can be thrust into push forward with it. A leader must be able to mo- leadership positions unwillingly or willingly. bilize his followers toward achieving the vision. In the second verse of Nehemiah, he did not ask to go to and Here are some leadership skills we can learn “fix|” Jerusalem; he did his homework and had enough from Nehemiah. detail about the city. His detailed plans established his credibility with the King. 1. A leader must trust in God at all times. Nehemiah 5. A leader must be compassionate. As Governor, Ne- prayed to God about everything. Immediately he heard hemiah did not take advantage of food and land allot- the report that the wall of Jerusalem was in shambles, ments that were allowed him due to his office, because he went to the Lord in prayer. That means that though there was already such a great burden on the people he was an exile in Babylon, he was in touch with God, of his province (Nehemiah 5:14–19). He also made the he still had a prayer life, and praying was the first thing other nobles and officials forgive all outstanding debts he did after hearing the sad news. and ordered them to return all land and money that had been taken as taxes so the people would be able to 2. A good leader must first serve, before leading. Ne- feed themselves and their families. hemiah demonstrated this in his service to his master, 6. Leadership is service. A good leader must lead by the king, in Babylon as his personal cupbearer and as example. One of the qualities of a good leader is in- the governor of Jerusalem. Nehemiah served the king tegrity. Nehemiah was not after the benefits of office. faithfully, and when it was time for him to lead the peo- He served the people selflessly, even using his personal ple, he led them well. Matthew chapter 25 verses 21 - 23 resources and sacrificing his comfort, rights or entitle- tells us that “Unless you are faithful in small matters, you ments. won’t be faithful in large ones.” Nehemiah was a faithful Chika Ikonwa is a Communications Strategist and the Assistant Editor of the Amazing Teens Magazine. 1. How many books are in the New Testament? 2. What is the greatest commandment? 3. When Samuel picked David as king, God reminded us that while people look at the outward appearance, what does God look at? Is it our motives, our attitude, our work done on earth or our heart? 4. What did King Solomon ask God to give him? Was it prosperity, a new barn for his grain, fame or wis- dom? 5. What piece of clothing made Joseph’s brothers jealous? Was it a coat, shoes, belt or special headpiece? 6. Name one of the five books in the Bible that contain only one chapter. Choose from 1 John, Titus, Habak- kuk or Obadiah 7. What will be the outcome of honoring your father and your mother? Is it that you will live long in the land, which you will prosper in all you do, that you will be blessed to the seventh generation or you will have bountiful crops? 8. Fill in this blank: Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, ______________can help him up. Is it Jesus Christ, God’s spirit, his friend or his family? 9. According to Hebrews, God’s word is _________ and _________ . Is it ancient and inspiring, living and active, gentle and instructive or mysterious and wonderful? 10. What does this name of God mean: Jehovah Rapha? Is it the Lord who leads, the Lord who sends, the Lord who provides or the Lord who heals? 11. “The___________ of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Are the blanks the true sayings, quiet words, harsh rebukes or silent prayers? 12. How many of each animal did Moses bring into the Ark? check answer in page 48 14

EGTIRQOUEOTMTEIANNGD Body image and self-esteem: How parents can inadvertently strip children of their self-esteem. -By Noela Ugwu- P arents are their children’s first teachers, role self-esteem, depression and in some cases rebellion models and encyclopedia. Children look up and drug addiction. Many teenagers can’t wait to get to their parents for guidance and answers to to eighteen to book an appointment with the next avail- everyday questions, so their parents‘opinions able cosmetic surgeon; qualified or not. This has result- have tremendous impact on their perspective. ed in uncountable deaths and botched bodies that the Their parents’ opinion can make or break them and that is victims regret and have to live with for the rest of their why parents must ensure that they communicate with their lives. children positively even if the objective is to correct them. 3. NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR EFFORTS. Everyone makes mistakes and it is humiliating when those who Here are a 3 ways parents can strip their remind you of your mistakes are those closest to you. Constantly reminding a child of how her love for sweet children of their self-esteem. things has led to her being obese, especially when she is obviously trying to live healthier, can be devastating 1. COMPARING THEM WITH OTHER CHILDREN. Wheth- and make her feel that she is a never-do-well. Adults er you are comparing them with their siblings or other often forget that children have feelings just like they do children, you are simply telling them that you prefer the and so they hurl hurtful words at them without hesita- others to them. Children are naturally competitive, al- tion. Children who go through such experiences are ways comparing what they have, where they live, how often afraid to try something new for fear of failing. The they look or the schools they attend. They even compete effect of such experiences plays out in adulthood as im- for their parents’ affection. As a parent, participating in this comparison will have a terribly damaging effect postor syndrome. on a child. This has resulted in life-long siblings’ rivalry. Even if it obvious that a child looks better in some way Attacking a child’s body image can have far-reaching than the other, it is destructive to voice it. consequences. It can affect their productivity and their level of happiness. So parents should be more sensitive 2. CALLING THEM NAMES. It’s as though some parents in dealing with issues around their children’s looks. cannot resist calling their children names that reflect their weight, the shape of their nose, the size of their NOELA UGWU IS THE GROWTH COACH tummy and any other body part they consider “imper- fect”. I find this really disturbing. They think that by doing Whatsapp: +2347030514885 so, their children would make better choices concerning their weight or their looks. This has instead led to low 15

ETIQUETTE AND GROOMING Skincare: Staying moisturized with nature’s gifts. -By Lateefah Musah- T he road to achieving healthy, glowing, and moisturized skin has been plagued with so many myths and tricks over the years. Finding that perfect skincare product became an impossible task because we could no longer authenticate the content of the products. This reality forced a lot of skincare enthusiasts to become dermatologists overnight, in a bid to discover that perfect blend that would leave their skin looking flawless. It is amazing how some of the best-kept skincare secrets have existed in plain sight over the years. From Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil, turmeric, and a host of other natural ingredients, our ances- tors basked in the glory of these naturally occur- ring skincare delicacies for generations. Howev- er, we soon forgot our roots and it was no longer ‘cool’ to get your Shea butter in its naturally oc- curring form from the market woman, who would have done some back-breaking work to generate the final product. If it wasn’t in a fancy bottle with expensive branding, then it wasn’t seen as ‘origi- nal’. Original has however taken on a new meaning as We asked 5 teenagers what they considered to be beautiful we realize that feeding your skin doesn’t end with and/or handsome amongst the opposite sex. Here’s what eating the right kind of foods but, requires a per- they said. fect combination with what you put directly over every layer of your skin. Xaviera 16: A good personality and an unorthodox sense of humor. A well-kept and gifted male, who is outgo- Welcome To Alira ing and has ambitions, dreams and goals. A hard worker Alira is natural skincare brand formulated to cre- with an impressive height, intelligence and a creative ate products using the best naturally sourced in- mind. gredients. Our products are a perfect blend of es- sential oils, butters, and powders infused together Joan Lloyd 14: A clean well-mannered person with a leaving your skin healthy, moisturized and glowing great sense of style. That also understands boundaries. after every use. Ifeanyi Obi 18 – A quiet God fearing lady with ambition and drive Lateefah Musah is a skincare enthusiast and Founder of Alira, a natural skincare brand. Yanick Essien 18 – I like intelligent people so intelligence is definitely what I look out for. Kevwe Ehis 17 – A well-mannered person who is fun and outgoing. 16

ETIQUETTE AND GROOMING HAIR CARE: Do-it-yourself methods for caring for your hair. -By Marie Sibe- L earning to care for your own hair is a life skill that you have available (coconut, virgin, argan, etc.) Com- cannot be overemphasized. On lockdown? Care bine all items in a bowl and mix. Separate your hair into for your hair. In school abroad? Care for your four sections, apply the mayonnaise mixture from the hair. Low on funds? Care for your hair. scalp to the roots, massage the product into the hair with your fingers and follow through with a wide tooth Trust us, if you want to be able to maintain a healthy hair and comb. Cover your hair with a shower cap and a towel scalp irrespective of where you are or how much you have in for a simulated heat treatment. the bank, there are a few tips to help you on your way. 5. Protective Hair Style 1. Eat Healthy After all is said and done, the less you manipulate the Healthy hair starts with what is underneath the scalp. hair, the more rest it will get to grow. Combing and styl- Your hair is rooted in the follicle; the follicle like oth- ing your hair everyday leads to over-manipulation which er organs of the body gets its nutrients from the blood can cause more damage and breakage. To prevent this, stream. Hence if you are deficient in nutrients, it will also you should protect the hair by wearing hairstyles that be evident in your hair, which will keep breaking, and reduce breakage such as cornrows which do not apply thinning out. A few nutrients to stock up on are proteins, pressure on the hairline, short twists, hair buns, braids or fatty acids, zinc, iron, water, and vitamin C. wigs. You do not have to be a professional to be able to give 2. Moisturize your hair some tender, loving care. As a matter of fact, You know how you moisturize your skin to avoid dryness you should possess expert knowledge about your hair’s and cracks? Just as moisturizing is important for the likes and dislikes. I mean, if you don’t, who will? body, it is also important for the hair. Irrespective of the hairstyle you have on, you have to moisturize your scalp Marie Sibe is a Haircare Consultant who runs a beauty and hair. A dry scalp might not necessarily slow hair salon in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. growth but hair that grows from a dry and irritated scalp is less healthy and prone to breakage and damage. Moisturize with a water-based leave-in conditioner to leave your hair healthy and rejuvenated. In the absence of a leave-in conditioner, you can introduce moisture with coconut or virgin olive oil at least 3 - 4 times a week. 3. Be gentle with your hair The ability to unknot and detangle your hair is the foun- dation of hair care and length retention. To prevent hair from tangling: • Divide hair into four equal sections and tackle each section. • Take a small part of the section and use your fingers to untangle the hair from the root to the tip. • Repeat until each part of that section is done. When completed, run hair through a wide toothed comb. • Twist or plait the hair in that section. • Repeat the same for each section until finished. 4. Protein treatment Hair contains mostly proteins so a quick protein treat- ment is an easy way to give your hair the nutrients it re- quires to retain moisture and stay manageable especial- ly in- between visits to the salon. A mayonnaise-based hair mask is a quick and easy protein treatment you can do at home. All you need are the following; One cup of Mayonnaise, two egg yolks, two teaspoons of any oil 17


He looked the part of an artistic genius with the signature dreads, headphones and a backpack. He appeared to be flustered though – he had a run in with the Nigerian Police Force who had insisted on searching his bag, and it took him a moment to get his groove back. At nineteen, he had earned the respect and recommen- dation of his peers and senior colleagues but, he was still being hassled and profiled regardless; the Nigerian factor? Regardless, he clearly seemed unstoppable, if you take into account that he was sketching at 5 and, working professionally before his 13th birthday. Young, mild and driven, Jackson Fubara shares his journey to becoming a sought-after Illustrator, Ani- mator and Graphic Designer while studying for a degree in fine Arts from the University of Port Harcourt. ON BECOMING Jackson’s breakthrough moment occurred after he turned 16 and was con- tacted by Runtown – an Artiste - on the micro-blogging site Instagram to create the artistic cover design for his song titled “Mad over you.” The song went on to accumulate millions of streams across online platforms around the world and is still recognized as one of the songs that significantly influenced Afrobeats with over 120 million views on YouTube. This glorious breakthrough moment did not just happen however. Jackson was first paid for a creative design at least 5 years ago and he earned the grand sum of N1000 for his efforts. Rather than deter him, this spurred him to invest more time and re- sources in what he could sense was a profitable use of his talents. ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND NEGATIVITY One of his greatest resources in telling the world about his work was social media. In his words, “there’s a popular saying that social media either makes or breaks you, and I chose the “make you” part and dabbled in it.” He creat- ed his Facebook account in 2012 and used it as a medium to showcase his designs. He gained confidence, an audience and worked hard to improve his craft in order to grow and sustain the attention of his audience. While many creatives shrink away from the criticism and negativity that can come with sharing their work on social media, Jackson insists negativity fuels him posi- tively and criticism helps him improve. He tries not to take the criticism as a personal affront to himself but as a reason to upgrade his output with further research and enhanced techniques. ON FAMILY SUPPORT AND FINANCES Long before the world was blessed with the beauty of Jackson’s work, his family fanned the fire to a roaring flame behind the scenes. From a 5 year- old sketching cartoon characters and discovering the beauty of art, to a full- fledged artist, they supported his creativity without reservation. Jackson is emphatic when he states that a parent’s support is the best thing that can happen to a creative. According to him, “creatives are born with their talents and we just need a “spark” to show our full potential.” Parenting clearly plays a huge role in discovering and harnessing the “spark” that a child needs to be amazing. Parents’ must also realize that the days when people thumbed their noses down on creatives is on its way to becoming a distant and possibly shameful memory. Jackson is a testament to the fact that being an artist is “VERY” profitable (emphasis is his) and he manages his finances by saving with some of the new, tech-driven savings and investment apps. He also has plans to take a dive into the world of cryptocurrency trading. 19

ON MENTORS recommends some beginner tools that include a pack of really good pencils, crayons or paints, a good phone, a Jackson clearly has a clear path and purpose and we won- laptop with great specs, and a tablet with a stylus would der if mentors are involved. The answer is yes. His number be a great investment. His top software recommendation one mentor is God, who displayed his creativity in the first is the Adobe Master Collection which includes Photoshop, book of the Bible and he describes reading through the Illustrator, Animate, Premiere Pro and After Effects. Jack- verses of the creation of life as a mind-blowing exercise. son is all about the work but when will he let down his The wonder of creating something out of absolutely noth- dreads and play? Probably when he can afford a private ing and giving life to it is a perfect example of “ART.” destination exclusively for guests, located in the Bahamas, His second mentor is Will Smith and although he doesn’t with endless ways to chill out and enjoy beautiful beaches share why, we can imagine that Will Smith’s storied career and pristine water, which is exactly how he describes a has something to do with it. Mentor number 3 is an un- perfect day in the life of Jackson Fubara. named but clearly amazing 2D/3D illustrator and anima- tor. His fourth mentor is Jose Zuniga who owns a channel ON SUCCESS AND THE FUTURE with 5.16 million subscribers on YouTube named “Teaching Men’s Fashion” where he covers the topics ranging from Jackson is unequivocal when he says that nothing good fashion and style, to other life hacks. Another mentor is comes easy. The young creative whose dad sadly passed a talent manager and brand influencer Osagie Osarenz in November 2020, has definitely experienced this in his who has influenced his craft tremendously; the last but now thriving career. “Creatives must work on our craft not the least on his list (catch the wordplay?) is Piriye daily, and refuse to let negativity from people concerning Isokrari A.K.A Peedi Picassando, Founder and CEO, The our work overcome us.” He further states, “If you had told Aristokrat Group. Clearly, in the multitude of mentors, di- my 10 year-old self that I would be at this point where I am rection cannot be lacking. right now, I’d have probably laughed over it.” But Jackson isn’t laughing these days; he is making big plans, climbing ON WORK AND SCHOOL past walls of criticism to refine his craft and envisioning a design and animation agency for young creatives pow- Managing school and work is a tough one even for the ered by the motivation from his mom and siblings. If that most conscientious people and Jackson admits that he doesn’t encourage you to stay focused on honing your struggles with delivering work on time but still does his craft, I don’t know what else will. best to keep his clients satisfied. He usually works in the evenings and the early hours of the morning and then fo- Jackson’s incredible art is on display via social media @ cuses on his school work during the day where he tries to artsbyjaxen on Instagram and Twitter and as the say- get through his first year coursework. Some of his best ing goes, “his future is so bright, we might need to wear work (although he insists that he gives his best to every shades!” project) is being a part of an animation video advert that featured the legendary Nigerian footballer, Kanu Nwank- Seeth thou a man diligent in his ways? He will stand be- wo. Jackson also has a lot of big projects coming up, ma- fore Kings and not before mean men. jority of which are confidential. But he did reveal that he is working on the designs and creative content for Laycon’s Styled by Jennifer Nkem – Eneanya upcoming album, and that ladies and gents is a big deal! T-shirt and Bomber Jacket : Afrokitas Where does Jackson draw inspiration for his work? Music and nature are a few of his favourite things that get the wheels turning. And for any artist who is wondering about the tools required to get started professionally, Jackson POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS TO BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM. Words can bring life and build up just as the wrong choice of words can devastate and demoralize surely and swiftly. The same way words can make a person feel loved, is the same way words can also make a person feel defeated. Hateful and hurtful words are seldom forgotten. Positive affirmations are wonderful for building a strong foundation in a child’s mindset and outlook on life. Here are some great words to reinforce positivity and help boost your children’s self-esteem. 1. I love you. 9. You are a gift to this family. 2. I appreciate you. 10. You are a great kid. 3. I believe in you and your abilities. 11. You have what it takes to be successful in life. 4. I am proud of you. 12. Your mistakes don’t define you. 5. You are enough just as you are. 13. Keep trying your best even if you fail at first. 6. You are a delight to be around. 14. You’ve got this. 7. I am proud to be your mother/father. 15. All the wonders you see are within you. 8. You are smart. 20

Tech–Culture: Must we all learn to code? -By Ihunnanya Thompson- Please do not learn to code. Yes I said it. There We must first understand what a problem is - be it is an idea that is gaining ground lately in the tech a coding problem or not - before deciding wheth- communities around the world that one must learn er to solve it - that is if it is actually a problem to code to become a better problem solver. I worth solving with code - or not. Jumping into ev- could agree with you that coders or software en- ery problem-solving situation with a code to write gineers are great thinkers and problem solvers but when we have not even gained enough insight that does not mean they are the only people who about that problem eventually wastes everyone’s can solve problems. time. Albert Einstein once said, “if you cannot ex- plain it to ordinary people simply, you never under- If you pay good attention to the tech culture stood it.” Understanding a problem brings you clos- around the world, especially at the Silicon Valley, er to solving it. you have undoubtedly heard the “Learn to Code” movement. Politicians and even nonprofits like Do you want to be a software engineer? Be pre- have made their mark on why everyone pared to learn and back your desire with perse- should learn to code as it is the future of almost all verance. Do you not want to be a software en- industries. There might be some truth in it as late- gineer? Please, do not let anyone make you feel ly, the number of engineers being shipped from inadequate because the truth is, we must not all Nigeria and other African countries to the Unit- learn to code. ed States of America and even other European countries are unmatched. However, in a world of Ihunanyachi Thompson is a Techpreneur and a Wordpress expert. He is the intense competition, people seek several ways to founder of a Wordpress Agency SHABTECH.COM and also a cofounder and earn, so making software engineering a one-way CEO of ticket to financial security is totally unacceptable and dishonest. The wide spread of bootcamps encouraging ev- eryone to learn to code is preposterous. Yes! I know that many bootcamps are legitimately help- ing their pupils to become world class coders but, a large number of others are there to enjoy the trend. Wait! I know you must think I do not want you to enjoy what people like Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg and a host of others who went from coding to billionaire status are enjoying? No, do not get me wrong. Learning any skill to become a master at it takes time, perseverance, courage and a lot of hard work. Yes! Not just coding. I learnt how to code a few years ago and all these years of coding has thought me one vital lesson; you do not write a single line of code when you have not got the problem already solved in your head or even on paper. I can say that focusing on cod- ing alone increases the importance of finding the right approach to solving a problem rather than the importance of understanding the problem. 21

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND CAREER GROWTH NOT TOO YOUNG TO START: An interview with a budding teenage Entrepreneur. -By Chika Ikonwa- Refinedlife Okparanta Chigozile, also known as Fynah is an 18 year-old student who juggles schooling and baking professionally. She runs a Fynahscakes where she makes and sells cakes, cupcakes and pastries. The final year student of Rivers State 5. How do you manage your finances? University told us about her life and My mother helps with my savings; I also utilize PiggyVest as how she juggles going to school and well. being an entrepreneur in the cake-making industry. 6. What are vital business lessons you have learnt from managing your own business so far? 1. How old were you when you learnt how to bake? I have always loved baking since I was a child but I learnt at Good customer service is key and it cannot be overempha- 12 years-old, shortly after my junior WAEC exams. It was such sized. Your service will always speak for you. Do a great job a delightful experience. and your product will sell itself. 2. When did you start working professionally as a bak- 7. What advice will you give a teenager who is think- er? ing of starting a small business? I started baking in 2015 Start small, but be ambitious. 3. Why did you decide to convert your hobby to a ca- 8. What would you say is your most challenging work reer? so far? My friends in secondary school always liked my cakes and My first ever wedding cake, I was so scared but I did great wanted me to bake for their birthdays so I thought to take it and the couple loved it. up as a business and they became my first customers. 9. How do you gain new customers and market your 4. What does a typical work day look like? work? I am an undergraduate; I focus on school during the day and bake in the night on weekdays, while I bake fully on week- Social media (WhatsApp & Instagram). I get a lot of referrals ends when I have cake orders. too. 10. What do you do when you aren’t working or study- ing? I bake, eat and connect with great minds. 22

How to start a career in Animation. -By Etela Ashford- The impact of animation is felt on almost every stand the power of animation in selling their ideas. screen today. It has become an increasingly rel- These businesses need animators to create videos to evant medium for communicating ideas. Pres- help them advertise their products and services. As an ently, animation is applied in the production of animator, you can also create custom logo animations cartoon series, explainer videos, animated fea- and explainer videos, which a lot of businesses within ture-length films, adverts for businesses, music and outside Nigeria would be glad to pay for. videos, logo intros, video games, mobile games and lots • The Gaming Industry: The Nigerian Gaming Industry is more. one of the fastest growing industries in the country, ow- ing to the large, youthful population; improving internet Basically, animation is the rapid display of sequential imag- penetration; and the increasing access to internet-en- es, in order to create the illusion of movement, and to use abled devices. The number of game developers in Ni- this illusion to tell a story or communicate an idea. The wide geria has also skyrocketed in recent years. In order to range of its application in various fields – including storytell- produce a decent game with visual appeal, game de- ing, advertising, gaming, e-learning, visual effects, VR/AR signers rely heavily on animators to develop the look and and more – makes animation an incredibly powerful multi- feel of the games they produce. media tool. There are only a few of the sectors brimming with opportunities Here is a non-exhaustive list of industries that offer opportu- for animators in Nigeria. This leads us to the big question: how nities for Nigerian animators: do we launch an animation career and take advantage of the op- portunities that await? Here are a few tips. • The Global Animation Industry: With a market value es- timated to be around $290 billion, the global animation • Look out for animation studios in your vicinity that of- industry offers numerous opportunities for animators to fer training programs. Animation is heavily reliant on earn a decent income, via freelance animation, motion teamwork, so a lot of animation studios in Nigeria or- graphics, cartoon production, and many other ways. If ganise training programs regularly, in order to increase you make outstanding animations, your services will be the number of employable animators and enable them sought after by clients from all over the world. to handle bigger projects. Enroll for one of these pro- grams and get introduced to the principles, processes • The Nigerian Entertainment Industry: More and more re- and software needed to produce animations. cording and performing artists in Nigeria are turning to animated music video production for their songs. Nol- • Keep improving your skill! Practice; watch cartoons; lywood is also witnessing a gradual but steady prolif- watch tutorial videos; animate as often as you can. eration of animated content, following an increasing demand for animation and VFx (visual effects) in the • Make a show reel, i.e., a collection of snippets from your movies shot and produced in Nigeria. Nigerian authors past animation projects. and comic book publishers are seeking ways to fea- ture their stories and characters in animated short films • Get active on social media, especially YouTube and Ins- and feature-length cartoons. All of this, coupled with tagram, and upload your content. the equally growing demand for cartoons with Nigerian content, makes now the best time to be an animator in • Join animation communities online and offline, where Nigeria. you can interact with other animators, learn from one another, and share opportunities with one another. • The Educational Sector: With the ever increasing amount of knowledge that needs to be imparted to pupils and • Reach out to authors of children’s books, comic publish- students every passing year, our educators are turning ers and advertising agencies. to more efficient learning aids, including electronic lec- tures, pre-recorded presentations, and of course, an- The world of animation is indeed an exciting one. I encourage imated lessons, especially for primary school subjects. you to jump in, make awesome content and enjoy a career that Animators’ services are currently in high demand to pro- is lucrative and fun at the same time. Good luck on your jour- duce these educational cartoons for schools, edu-tech ney! firms and online course creators. Many organisations also rely on animators to produce videos they can use Ashford Etela is the Creative Director of Toon Republic for staff training and orientation. Studios. He is a professional animator, motion design artist, illustrator, voice-actor and animation instructor. • The Corporate Sector: Many businesses today under- 23

MBUenStoIrNshEipS: S An interview with a successful entrepreneur. -By Jennifer Nkem – Eneanya- C hris Igwe is an astute businessman who start- 4. What was your winning strategy to propel your ed off with a small pharmaceutical business business from its start-up phase? in 1992. His business has since bloomed into a conglomerate consisting of Chrisnak Ventures My winning strategy is deeply rooted in good planning, Limited, Chrisnak Industries Limited, Chrisnak implementation, and the ability to innovate and adapt Properties, Chrisnak Farms, Chrisnak Shipping, to the changing times. First you must have a vision, and Mainland Oil and Gas amongst others. He is also a Christian then make a plan on how to achieve the vision; a phase- Philanthropist, a husband and a father. by-phase breakdown of your plan will give you measurable goals which will make it easier to judge your progress. He shared his thoughts on failure, winning and personal integrity garnered from decades of building and diver- 5. What is more important in business? The people sifying his interests. Enjoy! you work with or the processes you set up? 1. What business do you do and in what industry do They are both very important. You need a process, and you operate? then people to implement that process. In many aspects, you need people to build processes; therefore, they are I operate in diverse industries, but primarily in the down- both very important. stream oil and gas sector. We also have significant business interests in real estate, manufacturing, and maritime. 6. How do you choose the right set of people to work with at the start-up phase? 2. What motivated you to become an Entrepreneur and what was your career pathway before that? To build, one needs qualified, motivated, and trustworthy people and this we mostly got from hiring companies and From as far back as I can remember, I have always been recommendations from fellow industry players. entrepreneurial. My main motivation has always been the addition of value, creation of jobs, and making of profit. 7. How did you convince partners, investors or the bank to invest in your business? 3. How many times did you fail? And what lessons did you learn from failure? A demonstrable knowledge of the business puts investors’ mind at ease that you know what you are doing, and their What people call failure is not what I call failure. To fail funds will be well applied. Having enough information on is to remain at the point where things did not work out. the business including profitability analysis also convinces For me, there are many things we did that did not work them that they are not making a mistake. Personal integ- out, but we did not fail because through these setbacks, we rity is also very important in convincing investors and discovered better ways of doing things. The main lessons banks that the business will be mutually beneficial and we learnt from our setbacks is the necessity for courage - you will not run off with the money or squander it. well-grounded courage, and the will to discover new meth- ods and push harder. They are just lessons on how things are not to be done, and I always try again, using these les- sons. 24

8. Is there a single process or set of processes to I also do my best in building our community by volunteer- achieve success in Nigeria? ing my time and resources to mentor the younger genera- tion. I play tennis, and I am also a leader in our church. Nigeria is a very dynamic society, so there is no one size fits all approach to achieving success. You have to study 15. People say you don’t need money to start a business. Is the political and economic climate and adjust accordingly this the truth or motivational speaking? in order to succeed. It could be the truth, and it could also be a mere motiva- 9. How do you build a sustainable organization that tional speech. It is the truth – when you consider the fact can function with or without the founder? that you may not need money to conceive a business, but it is merely motivational when one says it to downplay In building a sustainable organization that can function the need for capital. Money is a very important factor independent of its founder, you have to share your dream of production, and there is no business without money. and vision with the team, build a culture that endures, First off, you will need money to register or incorporate a and set up processes that can run independently of the business; you need money to buy equipment. You will also founder. need money to pay salaries, especially before you break even. So much depends on money, but one must conceive 10. What are the peculiar challenges of doing business in the idea, and to conceive a business idea, you may not Nigeria? need money. There are a lot of challenges in doing business in Nigeria, 16. How do you deal with fatigue and exhaustion? Does one is policy inconsistency. Nepotism, insecurity, poor running a business ever seem like an unending rat infrastructure, and low trust are also some of the peculiar race? issues that militate against businesses in the country. The human body must be given adequate rest if you hope 11. How do you decide the right time to scale up or diversify to be able to maintain good health which is important for your business? running a business. When you are tired, you must rest. The truth is that in human life, we always go from one Every business wants to scale, but for this to happen, one pursuit to the next; there is really no end to human pur- must count the cost and decide how best to grow. After suits, but we must always pause to reflect, rest, have fun finding out what it takes, you then plan the growth within with family and friends, and resume with renewed vigour measurable timelines. Diversification is important since to take on our set goals. life is full of uncertainties, and one must always make sure that he spreads his risks appropriately. To diversify, you 17. What is your company’s mission and goal for the must identify an opportunity; study it, before investing – next decade? to avoid sad stories and preventable errors of judgment. We are focusing on consolidating on our gains and pre- 12. What authors keep you company on your business paring the next generation of leaders. journey? ? 18. If you could start over, do you have any regrets? Reading is a very important factor in my life as an entre- What would you do differently? preneur and a human being. I read widely on topics that interest me, from autobiographies, to books on business, I have absolutely no regrets to politics. I do not have specific authors, but books on these areas are my personal favorites. 19. Tell us about your family: how do you manage work and family life? 13. What values keep you grounded? Personally and as a business mogul? I work with a program, where I make time for everything. I make sure that no aspect of my life suffers. The fear of God, hard work, dedication, good planning, and building relationships is some of the values that keep 20. Inspire an amazing teenager in one sentence: me grounded. Hardwork, courage, and honesty will take you to the zenith. 14. Asides from running your company, what other interests’ do you pursue? 25

The Shining Stars Children’s Ministry T he Shining Stars Children’s ministry founded by Mrs. Peace Igwe organizes training pro- grams for children and teenagers. These pro- grams enable them discover and harness their talents. A program cycle involves training in different categories including cooking, acting, singing, dancing, crafts and more. Thereafter an exhibition is un- dertaken where gifts are won through competitions and the beneficiaries have an opportunity to trade their craft for cash. 26

THE NOT-SO SUBTLE LURE OF BETTING AND PONZI SCHEMES. -By Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya as narrated by Richard Nweye.- APonzi scheme is a fraudulent investing scam investors, or when large numbers of existing investors’ cash which generates returns for earlier investors out, these schemes tend to collapse. with money taken from later investors. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are Soon after I closed shop on Ponzi schemes, betting reared based on using new investors’ funds to pay the its head. As with the previous situation, I had a lot of cousins earlier backers. and friends who were involved in betting and they started to rely on me for knowledge about where to place their bets. It There was a time when Ponzi schemes became the most was just fun at first. I was placing those predictions for other popular thing in town with networks springing up here and people and watching them win. So I decided to stake some there. At first I was wary about getting involved but peo- money and I started to win. I once won a hundred and eigh- ple close to me seemed to be getting huge returns on in- teen thousand naira from a stake of N100 and this explains vestment and I tentatively decided to join the money party. why betting is the new rage amongst teenagers and young Unfortunately, my initial hesitation meant that when I finally adults. A lot of hopes and dreams appear to be limited be- took the plunge, other people who had predicted the lifes- cause of the unfriendly economic terrain and people are pan of that particular Ponzi scheme were cashing out and struggling to make ends meet. Betting gives some sense of getting out. I got badly burnt. hope. It makes the average man – whether a mechanic, vul- canizer or student – believe that their lives can be changed One of the huge drivers of Ponzi schemes is the testimonials forever. I have heard of a young boy who won N45 million from users who serve as unwitting marketers and amplify the and of course, there was a huge surge in the betting popu- message of quick prosperity. That message cannot be over- lation after that. looked given the harsh economic realities that we live in. Even people who have a little are besieged by insecurities Betting makes winning appear easy, the potentials are laid and the knowledge that their little can be used up in the out before you, the money is within an arms’ reach. It’s like twinkle of an eye. There is a lot of social pressure and too opium, the headiness of expecting to win big overwhelms little knowledge of financial literacy, so people are quick to you but the crashing disappointment when the match ‘cuts’ follow the prevalent money-making machine. can lead to depression. Nevertheless, the ‘better’ doesn’t feel cheated as is the case with the Ponzi scheme. He knows Ponzi schemes became the norm amongst young people be- why he didn’t win and he is irrepressible as he expects to cause of the ease of access and the communal spread. The gain even better knowledge in other to make better pre- capital required to participate could be sourced from pock- dictions against future matches. A’ better’ goes deeper and et money or school fees with the promise of doubling the deeper into poverty, but doesn’t know or care as the promise same in no time at all. Although we could claim ignorance at of a huge win winks like a flashlight in the distance. And first, it slowly became obvious that all Ponzi schemes would the twist? Just when they are about to get frustrated, they eventually crash; it was just a question of when. Even with score one little win and the cycle restarts all over again. the calamities’ that MMM left behind, it is almost certain Usually they believe that their luck has changed for good that if something as grotesque as that contraption springs and plough in all the money that they just won… to another up again in Nigeria, there are people who would still board deafening loss. that ship and row to a certain wreckage. Our verdict: “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly dis- In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters do not invest the appears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” money. Instead, they use it to pay those who invested earlier Proverbs chapter 13 verses 11. and may keep some for themselves. With little or no legit- imate earnings, Ponzi schemes require a constant flow of new money to survive. When it becomes hard to recruit new 27

TRUE LIFE STORY: I GOT MARRIED AS A VIRGIN IN 2021: Here’s how it happened. I thought the day would never come. I stood in this the first point because it is the ultimate. As the end front with my bespoke navy blue suit while the draws nearer, the world will become more obsessed church sang “Praise the Lord, the Almighty” with sex and it will become increasingly difficult to be as she walked in. My beautiful bride, her spot- celibate if you do not have a power stronger than you less gown was flowing through the aisle. It had upholding you. If you are not born again, I’m sorry to been 5 years since we decided to go into a relationship break it to you but you have a mountain ahead of you that will lead to marriage. Unlike most ‘relationships’ and, you will really struggle to do it on your own. Sex that teenagers indulge in, we had to tell our Church begins in the mind and after suffering from abuse, it Pastor about our intentions and of course, we had to took God to cleanse my mind and make me whole. answer many questions and pray severally about our decision. Putting God at the center of the relationship 2. We worked hard to reduce time spent and humbling ourselves to advice and guidance from alone in isolation our Pastors and disciplers were one of the main rea- sons we could eventually marry as virgins in 2021. That weakness I spoke about earlier? It further multi- plies when you begin to spend time alone in isolation I guess your question is why? What is really together with your fiancé (that is when you’re ready special about waiting? Why should you wait? to get married). As guys, we usually feel like we have Before I answer that let me rewind a bit and everything covered and that we are in control. My tell you how. How did we do it in a world brother and sister, I also felt that way and one time we drowning in nudity and free sexual content? almost had sex, it was because we were alone together What was our secret? at night. Your emotions are powerful and many times when they consume you, the rational mind is overtak- 1. We admitted our weaknesses en. Instead of locking yourselves up in your room, go to the park. Sit at an eatery. Have a group date and go As a young man who was abused by older ladies in his see a movie - even though I hear teenagers have found childhood, my brain is not a stranger to the sweet sen- a way to exploit cinemas lately. Always avoid setting sations that come from imagining sex - even though traps for yourself. I had not indulged in the act previously. This means that unlike the random teenage boy, I had more prob- 3. We occupied our minds ability of having sex than anyone else. What saved me is that I always went to God in my weaknesses. Small Finally, the cliché, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop secret: there were times I even prayed with an erection cannot be truer when it comes to sex. You are cur- because I was too weak to control my body. I make rently living in one of the most productive phases of your life. Do not waste it watching porn or #Silhou- etteChallenge. 28

This is the best time to develop skills and discover yourself. Soibi (my wife) has been an entrepreneur for 10 years and she also founded HE’s Inspired, a fashion design house. I have also been working as a journalist and development specialist for more than 11 years. I started at 17 and I have been developing myself every year. I have leveraged the internet to study at Harvard, MIT, and London School of Journalism. You will agree with me that it is typically when we are idle that we stumble on those videos and pictures that tempt us as teenagers. Have a vision for your life and start taking small steps towards it daily. Volunteer with an NGO working on something you care about. Join a dance group. Write songs. Be active in Church. Learn a musical instrument or even learn how to code. Do something! You’ll notice that when you’re busy, you will have little or no time to indulge in unproductive things. So back to the why. If you’re a Christian you already know that sex outside of marriage is called fornication which is a sin against God and your body. However, let’s assume you’re not a Christian. What do you stand to gain? First, trust. My wife and I know how hard we both persevered and this has built immeasurable trust between us which will last for the rest of our lives. Secondly, you avoid Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and the endless guilt that comes from committing abortions. Your self-esteem will not be battered. You will not wake up one morning and find yourself being dragged on Twitter, if you know what I mean. You will save so much time and mental energy which you can invest in your career and growth. Also, one day you can also write an article like this to help the young people that will come after you, if Jesus tarries, to navigate their teenage years. I pray God helps you to stand out and hold on, no matter how difficult it will be. Ebenezar Wikina is a development specialist who has been working with young people since 2009. His work has taken him to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, United Nations in Geneva, Global Youth Economic Opportuni- ties Summit in Washington D.C, to mention a few. He won the first-ever Soundcity Africa MVP Award for Community Development in 2019. How early is too early to start a relationship with the opposite sex? Xaviera 16; What a controversial question! In my honest view and opinion, individuals under the age of 21 should not bother themselves with the idea of an intimate relationship. My reason for this-before I get stung by the neck by fellow teens- is because 21 is the age at which an individual has full respon- sibility do whatever action he/she decides to take and therefore can’t rely on the crutch “I didn’t know.” If a 21-year-old individual decides to get into a relationship the he/ she must also be ready to bear the consequences of that choice: good or bad. Joan Lloyd 14: At 16 because the average teenager has gone through puberty and therefore understands the way their mind and body works, un- derstands the way people and society work. At 16 the mind is mature and strong enough to start thinking of relationships with the opposite sex. Kevwe Ehis 17: I think 19 years is fair enough because I think relationships are a distraction. 29

Creating boundaries in romantic relationships -By Precious Wachikwu- R elationships are vital to our mental and emo- 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 18 clearly states that we tional wellbeing, and survival. We have an innate should run from sexual sin! desire to be close to others and build relation- ships, whether romantic, familial or platonic. Stand tall for Christ and people will grow to respect you. Building healthy relationships require that we Do not go with the ‘woke’ crowd. Defend your purity like a create parameters (physical, emotional or psy- Mama Bear with her cub! GROWL! SCRATCH! chological and most recently, digital) within which such re- II. EMOTIONAL & DIGITAL BOUNDARIES lationships exist. Respecting privacy and choice are important. For instance, An important aspect of relationships is a romantic relation- in healthy relationships, you should not be pressured to re- ship fondly referred to as “dating.” There is no biblical defi- spond immediately to every text or call. Also, sending pic- nition of dating. But wise Christians know that dating should tures, social media posts, sexting, video calls or sharing be reserved for one main purpose: to find someone to mar- passwords and personal information, searching phones, are ry! Teenagers are not mature enough to consider marriage things that you should not be pressured to do or allow. Cre- because education, financial constraints, and immaturity ate your personal space. work against the idea; therefore, dating in teenage years is unnecessary because it causes emotional, physical, and How to set boundaries psychological stress before teens are mature and ready. For instance: I. SET BOUNDARIES BEFORE YOU NEED THEM. i. If the romance is unrequited, teenagers must deal with When boundaries are not set, you can easily be manipulat- ed, used or violated by others. Identify what is no longer to broken hearts, rejection issues, and distractions at a be said or done around you, then create boundaries that time when they should be focused on education and support this purpose. Write it down, pray about it and have growing up. a friend hold you accountable to it. Revisit it often to assess ii. People are different a few years after high school and your commitment. Philippians 4:13 there’s a possibility that your teenage love won’t be as appealing when you’re in your 20s. II. ANNOUNCE YOUR BOUNDARIES iii. It is fun being young and single. Enjoy it and don´t rush Inform others about your boundaries and when they vio- late it. You are in control of your body, mind and emotions. into getting into romantic relationships. There´s a difference between compromising on what movie iv. If the romance is mutual, what are two teenagers `ìn to see and being pressured to compromise your boundaries. love` to do while waiting several years to be married? There is the danger of crossing physical boundaries. III. HAVE CLEAR CONSEQUENCES FOR VIOLATIONS If you are pressured to do something you do not want, it is a Types of boundaries sign that you are in an unhealthy relationship. Do not accept I. PHYSICAL BOUNDARIES unacceptable situations. Be willing to surrender the friend- As CHRISTIANS, our goals and choices are different from the ship for repeated violations. worlds’ as stated in (1 Peter 2:11). We cannot allow our de- cisions to be shaped by a world that mocks biblical values Precious Wachikwu is a legal practitioner with vast experience in such as purity. corporate governance and regulatory compliance. She enjoys vol- unteering, reading and travelling. The Bible is clear about sex: it is for husbands and wives in the sanctity of marriage. 30

Is it a crush or is it true love? 5 ways to know! -By Precious Wachikwu- What is love? want to hear and chafe against your boundaries and decisions. There have been different definitions and explanations 5. COMMITMENT: It takes commitment to love about what love is. The Bible shows us that love is not truly. True love does not jump ship in tough times a feeling (emotion), but a commandment (law). If it but sticks closer than a brother. True love lets ev- were based on feelings, then Jesus would not instruct eryone know that it is committed to you and your us to love our enemies or those that despitefully use cause. A crush is temporary unless it starts to us. And if it was a feeling, Jesus would not have died build up into something more meaningful. Crush- for us, because he really did not feel like dying. That es break hearts! is why he prayed for the cup to pass over him at the garden of Gethsemane. Therefore, love is a conscious Ways to relieve the choice we make. body of cramps and period pains How do we differentiate between love and that tingly but temporary feeling we often refer to as Period pains are cramps and throbbing pains in the a crush? lower belly experienced before, during or after the men- strual cycle. Cramps are usually worse during the first 1. COMPATIBILITY: True love is compatible espe- few days of a period, when the flow is the heaviest. Do- cially in spiritual matters. Do you share the same ing these things before and during your period can help faith and beliefs? Are you compatible in terms of ease period pains. likes and dislikes? Hobbies? Love seeks compati- bility. A crush says “I don’t care.” • Stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink a lot of water espe- cially first thing in the morning. 2. SELFLESSNESS: The Bible says greater love had no man than to lay his life for his friend. True love • Do some low to medium intensity exercise like walking is sacrificial. It does not seek its own but is always • Eat your greens. Fruits and vegetables are always safer to on the lookout for the good of the other person. True love is demonstrative, it gives of its self, time eat than highly processed sugary foods. Eat your fruits, veg- and substance. It is seen in actions not just mere etables, (especially the leafy green ones), whole grains and words. A crush says. “Me, me, me!” Greek yogurt. • Ginger because of its anti-inflammatory properties can help 3. CELEBRATION: True love celebrates you and ease the pains that come with a period. A teaspoon of ginger your achievements. It encourages and supports juice mixed with honey in cup of warm water or added to a you and sees your value. It seeks to honor you and tea can give you some relief. does not trivialize your achievements, your ideals • Chamomile and peppermint teas are often recommended for or the things that matter to you. It inspires you to menstrual pain because they are calming to the body. Oth- be the best version of you. A crush may act like its er teas associated with dysmenorrhea are those made from celebrating you but deep down, maybe not. cramp bark, ginger or fennel. • Using a heating balm on your abdomen can help relax the 4. SINCERITY & RESPECT: True love is true muscles of your uterus which cause period cramps. Heat can and speaks the truth always with humility. It is also boost circulation in your abdomen which can reduce not puffed up or conceited and will respect your pain. choices and decisions even if it does not necessar- • Avoid caffeine and salty foods. While supplements may help ily agree with them. A crush will tell you what you ease period pain, it is also a good idea to avoid certain foods that can cause water retention, bloating and discomfort. 31

Nutrition: Healthy foods for growing teenagers. Eating healthy food is important at any age, but it is especially important for kids and teenagers be- cause your body is still developing. It is vital that you eat enough quality food to meet your energy and nutrition needs. What should you eat? 1. Breads, grains and cereals are carbohydrates that pro- vide energy for the brain and muscles. They are also an excellent source of fibre and B vitamins. Without suffi- cient carbohydrates you may feel tired constantly. Eat your carbs in sufficient amounts, your body needs them. 2. Fruit and vegetables are delicious and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals which help boost the immune sys- tem and keep you healthy. You are not doing yourself any good by picking them out of your food. The nutrients got- ten from eating these are very important for the growth of the body. Your skin will even thank you for it. 3. Meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes are good sources of iron and protein. Iron is needed to make red blood cells which carry oxygen around your body. Iron helps the body bounce back after all the blood lost during menstruation. Protein is essential for growth and to keep the muscles healthy. 4. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt help to build bones and teeth and keep the heart, muscles and nerves working optimally. 5. You can never drink too much water. Fluids are an import- ant part of your diet. Drink water to keep hydrated and prevent constipation. Consuming too much of everything is unhealthy. Too many help- ings of meals rich in fats and oil can make you overweight and may also increase blood insulin levels. Try to use oils in small amounts while cooking or salad dressings. Other high-fat foods like choco- late, chips, cakes and fried foods can facilitate weight gain without adding on the requisite nutrients. 32

I read the news of his passing on a micro guests attend a party and help themselves to the blogging site and a cold chill numbed my jar of cookies only to ingest an unstated amount body. ‘He’ was a young man who attend- of marijuana in edibles. That innocuous but deli- ed a birthday party and indulged in some cious looking cake may have the capacity to throw cookies. Unbeknownst to him, the cookies you into a fit of paranoia and leave you vulnera- were laced with something other than flour and ble. Before you take that bite, you might want to butter. They were marijuana edibles. He collapsed ask a few questions even if you get teased for your at home and had to be rushed to a hospital. Two caution. days later, he passed on. Something had gone very wrong with the drug interactions in his system. Another trend that we should definitely approach with caution is shisha smoking. Yes, it does look Marijuana edibles are food products infused very glam and grown-up to inhale and slowly puff with marijuana. THC, (tetrahydrocannabinol), out that flavored poison, but that’s what it is – is the chemical responsible for most of mar- vibes and poison. At least 82 toxic chemicals and ijuana’s psychological effects. However, it is carcinogens have been identified in shisha smoke very difficult to measure and its quantity is and although the smoke passes through water, often unknown in these food products. In ad- this does not eliminate the hazardous, addictive dition, it may take between 1-3 hours to feel chemicals released from the tobacco. The most its effects because food is absorbed into the terrifying fact published by the American Lungs bloodstream through the liver. Because it takes Association is that 79.6% of shisha users are aged longer, the user may end up consuming bigger 12-17 and despite selling a deadly product, cafes amounts of the drug while thinking that the and clubs still market shisha as a social, fun and drug isn’t working. Unfortunately, if the user relaxing group activity. has other medications in his or her system, their body may metabolize different amounts If you knew better, would you really face a future of THC, causing THC levels in the bloodstream with the possibilities of chronic obstructive heart to dangerously increase. diseases, esophageal cancer, gastric and lung cancer and nicotine addiction that can have last- While the stories of death from marijuana over- ing damaging effects on adolescent brain devel- dose are few and far between, the Guardian UK opment for a few puffs of strawberry or vanilla reported that one man shot and killed his wife flavored smoke? What happened to ice cream? and is now serving a long prison sentence and at As Proverbs chapter 1 verses 10 and 15 state, “My least one other person has fallen to their death son, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! while dealing with the many-pronged effects of Don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their an overdose. These effects include psychotic and paths.” manic episodes, intense paranoia and disorien- tation, panic attacks, impaired motor ability and Look past the smoke and mirrors. There will be other adverse reactions. enticements but you can overcome them! While other western countries are making efforts to regulate the use and sale of edibles, its use in Nigeria is surreptitious but rampant. Unsuspecting 33

Staying fresh and free from body odor -By Boma Wilcox- Keep the armpits clean: Wash them regularly using an- ti-bacterial soap. When armpits are hairy, it slows down the evaporation of sweat, giving the bacteria more time to break down into smelly substances. Shaving the armpits regularly has been found to control body odor control in that area. Use a deodorant or antiperspirant: Deodorants make the skin more acidic, making it more difficult for bacteria to thrive. An antiperspirant blocks the sweating action of the glands, resulting in less sweating. Use home remedies such as lime or lemon: Using lime or lemon is another great way to tackle body odor naturally. It not only controls sweat, but also helps in whitening the underarms to your regular skin tone. Cut a lemon into two halves and rub it on your armpits. You might feel a bit of irritation at first, but eventually, it will leave you with happy results. M any teenagers around the world are faced GET RID OF FEET ODOR BY: with the issue of body odor. It may cause feelings of embarrassment and sometimes Washing your feet at least once a day: Warm water is better leads to bullying and low self-esteem. at killing bacteria than cold water. Make sure you dry your Body odor is the perceived unpleasant feet thoroughly afterward, including in-between your toes. smell our bodies can give off when bacte- ria that live on the skin break down sweat into acids. It is also Socks: The best socks are those made of a combination of known as B.O., bromhidrosis, osmidrosis, or ozochrotia. man-made fibers and wool. Wear a clean pair of socks each day. Body odor is most likely to occur in the following places: The Shoes: If you wear trainers or shoes with plastic linings make feet, groin, armpits, genitals, pubic hair and other hair areas, sure it is not for long. A leather lining is better for sweat belly button, anus, behind the ears and the rest of the skin, evaporation. If you have a problem with sweaty feet, do not to a lesser extent. wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Shoes do not completely dry overnight. In addition, bacteria thrive on What causes body odor? Body odor is caused by bacteria dead skin. If the soles of your feet have patches of dead breaking down sweat and is largely linked to the apocrine skin, remove them with a pumice stone. glands. The apocrine glands are mainly responsible for body odor because the sweat they produce is high in protein, Walk around barefoot: Whenever you can, walk around which bacteria can break down easily. barefoot or at least slip out of your shoes regularly. HOW TO STAY FREE FROM BODY ODOR Many people have experienced problems with body odor at some point so it’s nothing to be ashamed about. If you im- Bath regularly with warm water: Teenagers are very plement these remedies above and nothing seems to work, you should seek medical advice. active so taking a bath at least twice a day will reduce the risk of bad odors. Remember that warm water helps kill off Boma Wilcox is a Barrister and industrious Entrepreneur who bacteria that are present on your skin. If the weather is ex- runs an online Thrift Store in Nigeria; @Coxies_Thriftstore ceptionally hot, consider bathing more often. 34

5 exercises that you can perform without exercise equipment Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and your 3. Sit-ups are abdominal exercises done by laying on your back quality of life. The benefits of exercises far outweigh any tempo- and lifting the upper body. Sit-ups build muscle mass and rary discomfort. Exercises benefit the body as well as the mind. strength in your abdominal muscles and hips. This exercise They keep you agile and alert and improve your self-confidence. can improve flexibility, posture, balance and stability. They When done right, these seven exercises can give you results that work your core as well. They can also boost and build back you can see and feel and, your body will thank you for it. muscles and the pelvis, which can minimize back pain and 1. Walking is simple, yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, make injury less likely. Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood counts as a core exercise. pressure in check, lift your mood, and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease, for ex- 4. Squats boost athletic ability and strength as well as work ample). A number of studies have shown that walking and your core.They increase lower body and core strength and other physical activities can even improve memory and re- activate flexibility in the lower back and hips. Because they sist age-related memory loss. All you need is a well-fitting engage some of the largest muscles in the body, they also and supportive pair of shoes. Start with walking for about help you burn calories. 10 to15 minutes at a time. Over time, you can start to walk farther and faster, until you’re walking for 30 to 60 minutes 5. Push-ups; A push-up is a calisthenics exercise that works on most days of the week. the triceps, pectoral muscles and shoulders. Push-ups are an 2. Planks are core strength exercises. They are an effective effective and easy exercise to do anywhere. They strengthen way to target both the abdominal muscles and the whole your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles. As little as body. Planking stabilizes the core without straining your 20 push-ups each day can help improve your upper-body back the way sit-ups or crunches might. strength. 1. The answer I give is yes, but what I mean is no. What was the question? 2. As a whole, I am both safe and secure. Behead me, and I become a place of meeting. Behead me again, and I am the partner of ready. Restore me, and I become the domain of beasts. What am I? 3. Join a noun and adjective, and make a verb. What is the word? 4. Why is an old man like a window? 5. What has no hands but might knock on your door, and if it does you better open up? 6. Often held but never touched, always wet but never rusts, often bites but seldom bit, to use me well you must have wit. What am I? 7. I can be short and sometimes hot. When displayed, I rarely impress. What am I? 8. What starts with a T, ends with a T and has T in it? 9. What can be swallowed, but can also swallow you? RIDDLE ANSWER IN PAGE 48 10. What can be stolen, mistaken, or altered, yet never leaves you your entire life? 35

GOURMET 3 ways to cook potatoes Potato Potatoes! Potatoes are as delicious as they are healthy for the body. They are a good source of fiber, which can help you lose weight by keep- ing you full for longer periods. Fiber can help prevent heart disease by keeping cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check. Potatoes are also full of antioxidants that work to prevent diseases and vitamins that help your body function properly. Potatoes are a versatile food and can be prepared as different meals in several easy-to-learn ways. 1. MASHED POTATOES: They are delicious and can be eaten with sautéed vegetables and any protein of your choice. To make mashed potatoes, boil potatoes with little salt until tender but still firm, drain. In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk over low heat until butter is melted. Using a potato masher or electric beater, slowly blend milk mixture into potatoes until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 2. POTATO SALAD can be enjoyed with rice, yam, pasta or can be eat- en as a single meal. To make potato salad, you will need boiled po- tatoes, red onions, hard boiled eggs, celery and pickles, fresh herbs, mayonnaise and sour cream. You can add slightly boiled carrots for more color and crunch. To cook, boil potatoes and set to cool, then cut into bite-size chunks. Mix sour cream, mayonnais and the mus- tard in a bowl. Add sour cream mixture, onion, celery, pickles, eggs, and herbs to the potatoes. Stir gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have the time, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. 3. POTATO PORRIDGE: If you love yam porridge, you will definite- ly love potato porridge. You will need potatoes, red onions, palm oil, crayfish, spices, protein of choice and some slightly ripe plantain. The ripe plantain adds an oriental medley to the porridge. To cook, de- vein shrimps, wash and set aside. Peel potatoes and plantain, cut into big chunks. Set to boil then add red onions, salt, seasoning cubes, fresh ginger, crayfish and palm oil. Cook till potato is almost tender, add plantain and shrimps, and allow to boil till tender. Voila! Your deli- cious potato porridge is ready. 36

Bible verses for a healthy mind Fill your heart and day with the truth of God’s word, ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your God’s love and God’s promises! paths.” Remember that the power of life and death is in that wiggly, slimy tongue! Read the word, speak the word 1 PETER 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because and remind yourself that you do not have a spirit of he cares for you.” fear but of love, of power and of a sound mind. PSALM 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of What are your favorite pick-me-up verses? Here are a the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with few of ours. me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” DEUTERONOMY 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before PSALM 9:9 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor a stronghold in times of trouble.” forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” MATTHEW 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God PHILIPPIANS 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ and his righteousness, and all these things will be add- who strengthens me.” ed to you.” PHILIPPIANS 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatev- JOSHUA 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong er is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatev- and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be er is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such you go.” things.” PSALM 40: 1-2 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he JOHN 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from you may have peace. In this world you will have trou- the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my ble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” JEREMIAH 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, ISAIAH 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dis- declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to mayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will give you a future and a hope.” help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” MATTHEW 11:28 “Come to me, all who labor and are PSALM 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” and saves the crushed in spirit.” PROVERBS 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, EPHESIANS 1: 4 “Even before he made the world, God and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” Some quick tips to remember about social media 1. Social Media is not a place to ‘pour out your heart.’ There are too many un- couth people who can take advantage of your vulnerability. Talk to a respon- sible adult. Build real life connections. 2. Social Media is not a relationship expert. Not all of the relationship advice you see on social media is accurate. Take it with less than a pinch of salt un- less you absolutely trust its source. 3. Social Media is the haven of fake news. Verify before you repost and share. 4. Social Media is filled with cowards and bullies. Protect your space, your timeline, your mind. 5. Social Media followership is not a measure of true success. Do not lose your- self trying to chase clout and build a bigger following. 37

POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS TO START YOUR DAY. What are the things you say to yourself each day? Do you speak life or worry over situations you find yourself? You have to start paying close attention to the words you speak. The mind is capable of producing amazing results. However, all too often we place limits on the power of the mind because of the words we speak to ourselves unconsciously. Positive affirmations can motivate and en- courage positive changes in your life. If you frequently find yourself getting caught up in negative self-talk, positive affirmations can be used to psyche subconscious thinking patterns and replace them with more healthy narratives. Positive affirmations can also be used to boost your self-esteem as we tend to believe the things we tell ourselves when repeated over time. You can write out a few affirmations to keep your spirit upbeat or help yourself to this collection! • I am beautiful and graceful. • I am blessed and walking in love. • I believe in me and I believe in all my capabil- ities. • I will grow through what I go through. • I stand for what is good always. • I break the cycle of dwelling in sadness when I become overwhelmed. • I am in control of my ego. • I choose to think good thoughts only. • I cultivate positive change and inner peace in all aspects of my life. • I am confident and capable at what I do. 38

Domestic abuse in families; its impact on children and teenagers -By Gbemisola Ogunrinde- Daniel is a thirteen-year-old boy who recent- abuse such as ignoring or silent treatment. The aim is usual- ly gained admission into secondary school ly to destroy a person’s feelings of self-worth and indepen- as a boarding student. He is a bit reserved dence. Both men and women can be victims of domestic and does not talk much. During one of their violence; however, women are more often victimized. creative arts classes, while trying to create a colour wheel, Kemi, one of his female class- Usually, domestic abuse intensifies from threats and verbal mates asked if she could borrow his yellow poster colour assault to violence. Although physical injury may appear as and he agreed. By the time she returned it, he noticed red the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological coloured stains on the jar. This got him terribly upset and, effects of domestic abuse are equally severe. Emotional- he yelled at her. Kemi stood there in shock for a few sec- ly abusive relationships can destroy a person’s self-worth, onds, before managing to voice an apology. He shunned lead to anxiety and depression, and make one feel helpless her apology and walked out of the class. and alone. On another occasion, while Daniel was waiting on the Sadly, this vice is on the increase in our society and a lot of queue to fill his bottle from the water dispenser, a girl young people are being exposed to abuse in their homes. came “out of the blue” to stand in front of him and before Many young girls grow up thinking that it is okay to be she could explain that she was previously on the queue, he physically, verbally and emotionally abused, because they dragged her by her arm. watched their mother go through it. Young boys on the oth- er hand, watch their fathers exercise control and express Daniel continued to display aggressive behaviors, partic- masculinity by being abusive, so they grow up thinking that ularly towards female students. His class teacher noticed is how to display ‘strength.’ Daniel had watched his dad this pattern and referred him to the school counsellor. While yell at his mom or hit her when he got upset and, imbibed talking to the counsellor, it was discovered that Daniel was this as the appropriate reaction to feelings of anger or dis- from a toxic home environment, where his parents argued respect. a lot and his father was physically and verbally abusive to- wards his mum. Unfortunately, Daniel had picked up some Abusive behavior is a choice and contrary to what many of these aggressive behaviors and style of communication. abusers claim, they are very aware of their actions. Abusive As a result, the counselor was compelled to invite his par- behavior and violence are intentional acts to gain control. ents for a session. It is important that we always exercise control over emo- tions. We can express our displeasure with others in an as- Daniel just like every other person is a product of his en- sertive way; emotions like anger should be expressed in a vironment. As children, we consciously and unconsciously safe way. We should never aim to gain control over others learn from the behavior displayed by the adults in our lives. or belittle them in any way. When we are consistently exposed to negative behaviors, we are likely to engage in these behaviors as well and, It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that this vice the same goes for positive behaviors. Daniel’s parents had is eradicated from our society. As a teenage boy, if you consistently exposed him to domestic violence and abuse see your friends being abusive towards a girl, rather than and, he was mirroring the aggressive behaviors towards his just watch or laugh, you should caution them to stop. If it schoolmates. is something you have done, you need to stop, too. If you are a teenage girl in a relationship, in which your boyfriend Domestic violence or abuse is defined as a pattern of be- belittles or abuses you in any form, it is time for you to get havior that is used to gain or maintain power and control out of it! You deserve to be respected and treated right. over an intimate partner. It could be in various forms; phys- Lastly, parents need to ensure that they model appropriate ical, sexual, emotional, or verbal. Physical abuse involves behavior and communication skills to their children. Togeth- the abuser hitting the victim and causing them bodily harm. er, let’s say NO TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!! Sexual abuse involves the abuser forcefully subjecting the victim to sexual acts that they did not consent to. Emotion- Gbemisola Ogunrinde is a Counselor, Lead Therapist, Psy- al abuse includes verbal abuse such as threats, name-call- chotherapist and Author and the ‘Keeping it together in a ing, shaming and yelling. It could also involve non-verbal crazy world’ series. 39

FASHION FORWARD: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Ankara facelift: how she changed the narrative. -By Amara Okenwa- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a seasoned develop- sometimes even with all your expertise you may ment economist with a very impressive resume fail but never lose your unique identity. Dr. NOI in was recently made history as the first woman, first developing mastery did not see a need to lose her African and first Nigerian to head the World Trade accent or her clothes. Consequently, the Ankara Organisation (WTO) and its predecessor the Gen- fabric and her distinct head scarf became a dis- eral Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) since tinguishing trademark. At the announcement of her 1945! Dr. NOI showed the requisite sound grasp selection, women, men and even children formed of the issues around international trade law, eco- an “Ankara army” and actively participated in the nomics and diplomacy all set within the context #belikeNgozichallenge in celebration. She started of a global pandemic while dressed in her Anka- her first day as WTO DG clad in Ankara print. Re- ra and her unique head scarf. Her selection after member the saying, “be yourself, everyone else is several rounds of consultations by WTO Members taken?” Very true! triggered the #belikeNgoziChallenge and the “ankara army” that saw women, children and men 3. Breaking the glass ceiling alike dressed in Ankara topped with an attempt at Dr. NOI styled head scarf. What lessons can we Dr. NOI’s emergence as WTO DG broke the glass learn from Dr. NOI’s journey? ceiling for Africa and for women. Her history is that of a woman who understood her competence and 1. Master your craft. dared to question the status quo. No African has been President of the World Bank, she attempted The first step is to develop a mastery of your cho- it and failed. No African had headed the WTO be- sen field. It does not matter whether it is econom- fore her, she attempted it and succeeded. Today ics, law, dance or music. If we must stand out, you we celebrate that success but she built the muscle have to decide on what you want to do with your to withstand stiff competition long ago. life. Then master your chosen craft to the point of distinction. A good place to start from is to decide Finally, a key feature of her campaign is that she what you are good at then add a lot hard work, was gracious to her competition. She continued to dedication and discipline to being your very best acknowledge the competence of her competition at it. A good tip for developing mastery is to look but still pitched herself as the person for the job. at what those before you have done. Learn about Regardless of who we are or the heights we have their journeys and be inspired by it to create your attained; a gracious personality is as appealing as own path. In your journey, understand that every a glamorous outfit. step counts, Dr. NOI’s path to becoming WTO DG started with everything she had done even before Amara Okenwa is a Legal Practitioner with a pas- she knew she’d run for the office. sion for and experience international trade and policy making. 2. Be your authentic self. The journey of mastery is tough, when you dare, 4400

A T-shirt for everydayof the week! -By Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya- T-shirts have gradually been relegated to that bland, staple bellished t-shirt for that extra edge and finesse. We would item in our wardrobes that we pull out to match our pyjamas recommend this for the choir at the next music festival. I or wear for spring-cleaning the house. Fortunately for you, the mean, “Not everytime, blazers and shirts.” Sometimes wear t-shirts sent us a memo and said, “Enough is enough! Bring tees, jeans and that pair of classic white sneakers. back our past glory.” We answered its clarion call, so pull out those t-shirts, get them cleaned and get ready to rock and roll! Monday! Whether it’s a lecture, a meeting, a seminar presentation or a visa interview, t-shirts can comfortably make an ap- pearance under every #MondayMotivation post. Tucked into classy, Ankara palazzo pants with a pair of Perspex shoes; this look is both patriotic and charming and will make every- one green with envy. Tuesday! Strut with supreme confidence in your t-shirt and a trendy Ankara skirt as you move through town and run those er- rands. This look can be stepped down some inches with a pair of sneakers but hey! That’s a boss lady right there and she’s got heels higher than your standards. Wednesday! #WomanCrushWednesday will not be complete without a t-shirt worn over a pair of jeans and a blazer with a splash of colour. It’s the middle of the week and we get to wind down with some soothing music or a few of our favourite authors while we await the next lecture or mid-week ser- vice. Whichever way it goes; our t-shirt is ready to make an appearance. Thursday! Guess what? It’s our girl’s birthday tomorrow and we have some shopping to do. A trusty tee tucked into a tulle skirt and a pair of our favourite sneakers is all we need to get us in a shopping mood. We will scale over potholes and every obstacle with the right outfit and the right attitude. Friday! Yo! We are turning up for our girl’s party in a t-shirt! Who would have thunk it? This look is sassy, bold and fascinating without putting on display anything we want to keep cov- ered. Red, black and white will always be an electric com- bination and this pair of culottes with those heels was made for TGIF moments! Saturday! It’s a wedding! It’s a red carpet event! It’s a photoshoot! It’s a t-shirt! You didn’t see this one coming did you? Jeggings worn with a train, elegant heels and just the right weave is sure to get tongues wagging and heads turning at the next formal event you attend. I mean, what’s the point of dressing like everyone else when you can stand out and up the ante? And we turned it all the way up! Sunday! Sunday is church day! And yes, we did not forget our dudes. Worship, teach, pray or fellowship in a chilled, Ankara-em- 41 Photographed by: AC.Media Thumbs up t-shirt & Africa t-shirt: Makeup: Ejiro Makeovers @afrokitas Styled by: Annabel Nwankwo White t-shirt: Duchess Dynasty @Duchess_dynasty_apparels Model: Chidinma Ikonwa

How NOT TO teach teenagers and children about Politics. By Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya Ihave heard about schools running elections for the A class captain should not be determined by the quantity posts of class captain and head boy/girl as a means of drinks they could procure for thirsty teachers. She wasn’t of acquainting students with the political realities of very convinced but I stood my ground. My daughter was a their community, state and country. I have heard about lead debater, an academic trailblazer and a stellar leader. parents printing campaign posters and ‘settling’ stu- If that wasn’t good enough for those Nigerian politicians, dents and teachers with goodies in order to buy over their then they could take a hike. allegiance. I have heard about the intense gift-giving com- petition this often degenerated into, with affluent parents Eventually, the stress took its toll and one day, a few days raising the stakes with even more expensive campaign gifts. to the election, I asked her if she wanted to step down. The After my kids moved to a new school, I finally stopped hear- look of relief she gave me was heart-breaking, followed ing and experienced it first-hand. with a tight hug. She asked if she really could and I assured her that politicians everywhere stepped down from election It started with lots of great intentions and good cheer. My campaigns if they weren’t prepared for the rigors of the sys- daughter won the ‘primaries’ for her grade four class elec- tem or the role and cited Oby Ezekwesili as one such ex- tions. The primaries were determined by the pupil’s knowl- ample. As a matter of fact, even elected politicians should edge of current affairs and she made it through. Good stuff, learn to step down from their offices if they are unable to considering that it tested their knowledge and awareness of undertake their functions. In other to convince her that she the country they live in. She chose a party name (PDP –pow- was doing the right thing, I pulled in the big gun – my mother er to the people) no less, and a campaign flier was printed. I who worked as an Educator for over three decades. Grand- proudly displayed this on my social media pages as a prop- ma pulled no punches as she explained to her that pallia- er, proud Nigerian parent. Unfortunately, it went downhill tives are actually packages that temporarily relieve suffering from there. There were subtle demands for money to buy without treating the cause of the suffering. “Are your teach- a ‘ballot box’ and my daughter was deprived of her break ers suffering and if they are, will a bottle of soda relieve their sessions in order to campaign by trudging around the entire suffering?” Grandma asked her. The answer was no. “What is school, beseeching her colleagues to vote for her. the connection between getting elected as a class captain and bringing drinks for your teachers?” No connection. Of As if that wasn’t enough, they mounted pressure on her to course Grandma threw in some hype here and there and bring ‘palliatives’ to school. Yes, they used that term. I ig- the next day, my brave 8 year-old announced to her class nored her at first but it slowly became a battle cry. When that she would no longer be contesting in the elections. That I realized it was a big deal, I asked her who the intending meant more to me than an empty title. It also helped that beneficiaries of these palliatives were, and she said it was she topped her class at the end of the term! for her teachers. As a matter of fact, she told me that her opponents had been bringing drinks and snacks for their Dear teachers, parents, educators. Righteousness exalts teachers. My shock knew no bounds. Why were these par- a nation. Don’t enable the rugged, stomach-infrastructure ents enabling this behavior? I asked her if she knew that she driven politicking that we are struggling to get rid of by was being asked to bribe her teachers to vote for her. She teaching our children the very same thing. Yes, the system vehemently refused and said it was just to “convince them may be rotten at the core, but I dare you to shine your light to vote for her.” I patiently explained to her what a proper in that little corner, go against the tide if required, and point voting process should entail. Candidates for elections were our young ones in the right way, and no; palliative politics is supposed to be voted for based on their leadership abili- not that way. ties, poise, diligence, honesty and such other noble reasons. 42

Youth and Politics in Nigeria: THE #EndSARS MOVEMENT. -By Ken Henshaw- Historically, young people have been in the fore- Squad; the campaign immediately gained momentum and spread front of questioning authority, demanding ac- to major Nigerian cities. The persistence of the young campaign- countability and driving social transformation. ers pressured the government to ban that Police unit and initiate History is replete with epochs of young people other far reaching reforms, including state level panels of inquiry taking the lead in redefining how their societies to address cases of police brutality. are governed, and what social values are upheld. It is interesting to note that the EndSARS campaign was different In 1940s United States, young Americans were the first to break in many regards. Beyond its spread and mobilization, it show- the long-held policies of racial segregation and make demands cased a series of novelties in fundraising, volunteering support, for equal rights through the civil rights movement. Rather than leadership (or the lack of it), and its ability to bring together and conform to what seemed at the time like established principles, accommodate a host of interests, including the feminist move- they chose to challenge it and eventually replace it. Again, be- ment. With the benefit of hindsight however, could more have ginning in the 1960s, young American students took the lead in been achieved with the EndSARS episode? Was it a movement or demanding that their governments discontinue war efforts, es- a ‘moment’? What shape should future organizing around social pecially in Vietnam. The Peace Movement which they created and political transformation by young people take? snowballed into a massive social movement which forced the A key error in the EndSARS protest emerged because it was or- government to end that war. Elsewhere, youths have also been ganized as a single generational effort. On social media, influ- outstanding in bold agitations designed to provoke change. In encers made it a point of duty to denigrate older people, insult the 1980s, millions of Chinese students took to the streets de- them and blame them for having failed to fix Nigeria in ‘their manding democratic reforms and increased freedoms. While the time’. Some went as far as declaring that Nigerians above 35 years protest resulted in the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre, it should not bother joining the protests. This was not only wrong, nonetheless showcased the power of young people to challenge but it was also ahistorical. In reality, every generation of Nigeri- the status quo. ans has faced peculiar challenges which they fearlessly confront- In 2010, using nothing but smartphones and social media, young ed. While a generation identified colonial rule as the greatest Tunisians began a revolution demanding an end to years of hu- impediment to national progress in the 1940s and 1950s and de- man rights abuses, corruption, poverty and undemocratic gover- feated it, the next generation was tasked with the responsibility nance. Almost immediately, the revolution spread to other Arab of challenging military dictatorship and defeating it. Like Frantz countries including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. Fanon said, every generation discovers its own mission, and ful- What later became known as the Arab Spring is still inspiration fils it or betrays it. The EndSARS protest created an opportunity for a wave of reforms in several Arab countries. for young people to definitely seize the national narrative and In Nigeria, young people have been active throughout its politi- unite the country in one cohesive push for national reformation. cal history. In colonial times, students and several youth organi- It could have done this by learning from the experiences that his- zations drove the campaign for independence from British rule. tory presents. It ended as a moment, and never really made the The Zikist movement which played a key role in that epoch, was transition to a movement. mostly driven by youths. Their act of defiance and robust cam- It nonetheless provides valuable lessons on how young people paigning inspired the entire country and eventually led to inde- should organize and demand for change. The first lesson is that pendence in 1960. When in the mid-1960s, Nigeria descended there is need to be clear about what needs to change. The End- into authoritarian military, it was young Nigerians who again SARS campaign spent valuable time before it finally achieved took the initiative and pioneered the pro-democracy movement, that clarity and produced a decent list of demands. The second demanding a return to democracy and representative gover- lesson is the need to build solidarity and synergy with all pro- nance, which eventually culminated in the country’s return to gressive forces. The struggle for social transformation must in- democracy in 1999. clude rather than exclude. The third lesson is the value of the At least twice since 1999, young Nigerians have again taken the international community in popularizing change efforts. The lead in demanding social reforms. In 2012, when the President EndSARS campaign discovered this value and used it appropri- against popular sentiments increased the price of petrol and die- ately. The final lesson is that no matter how nonviolent the move- sel, young Nigerians were the first to march on the streets across ment is, violence will very likely be the response of the state. This 55 cities demanding an immediate reversal and a host of other is because coercive force is all the state knows, it is all it is capable reforms. After days of street action and unprecedented solidarity, of. Previous generations knew this character of the state, and if the government partially reversed itself, and became more mind- they could have taught this lesson, perhaps the gruesome occur- ful of the resolve of young Nigerians. rence at Lekki which brought a bitter and unsatisfactory end to The most recent youth-led campaign in Nigeria is the EndSARS the protests, may never have happened. drive. Occasioned by a string of atrocities committed by the Ken Henshaw is the Executive Director of the Centre for Social police, especially a rogue unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Studies and Development (We The People) and an advocate for transparency and accountability in governance. 43

TOURIST SITES IN NIGERIA Olumo Rock Ade Awaye Mountains Nigeria boasts of an abundance of natural landmarks and and Suspended Lakes tourist sites. Whether it is for a family vacation or a school excursion, here are 5 amazing tourist sites that will take your Nike Art Gallery breath away! Ikogosi warm springs 1. Olumo Rock - Abeokuta- Ogun state Olumo means “troubles and sufferings are all over”. The histo- Ogbunike Caves ry of the rock dates back to the 19th century Oyo Empire when Abeokuta was inhabited by the Egba people who found refuge at the Olumo rock during inter-tribal wars. Olumo rock is located at Abeokuta, an hour’s drive from the city of Lagos. At Olumo Rock, you will be acquainted with attractions like natural tun- nels, unusual trees, natural cantilevers, gardens on the rock, as well as an aerial and impressive view of the city of Abeokuta, from the apex of the rock. 2. Ado Awaye Mountains and Suspended Lakes - Oyo state Did you know there are two suspended lakes in the world and one of them is in Nigeria? A suspended lake is described as a lake found on top of a mountain. Iyake Lake is a suspended lake in Ado Awaye and it is the only suspended lake in Africa and the only one of two in the world. Ado Awaye is also blessed with a mountain and an elephant like tree. This structure is formed by tangled tree roots and trunks which dramatically takes the form of the head and trunk of an elephant. 3. Nike Art Gallery - Lagos The gallery is one of Nigeria’s hidden treasures owned by Chief Nike Davies Okundaye. The Lagos gallery is located at Elegushi Beach Road in Lekki. The breath-taking gallery comprises of an art gallery and textile museum featuring over 7,000 pieces. In the premises, there is a coffee shop, a visual diary and information on the gallery. 4. Ikogosi Warm Springs - Ekiti Hot meets cold at this geological wonder of a spring in Ekiti state. The result? A confluence point with fantastical healing prop- erties. The natural phenomenon is a thriving, tourist site and boasts of a resort to cater to tourists and visitors. 5. Ogbunike Caves – Anambra They take their name from Ogbunike, a town in Anambra and are a system of caves linked together by tunnels and passages. They were used as a place of refuge between 1968 to 1969, at the height of the Nigerian civil war. The water around the caves is thought to have some healing powers and there is a stream which flows out to join River Nkissa, a river outside one of the caves exits. 44

Nigerians in History: Ken Saro-Wiwa: The Teacher and Writer who became a Martyr. -By Eze Nyeche Omereji- B orn Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa (before chang- The execution of the Ogoni Nine was widely condemned ing his name to Saro-Wiwa) on 10 October and criticized by human rights organizations, the United 1941 to Chief Jim Wiwa, Saro-Wiwa was an Nations, several foreign countries including the United accomplished writer, television producer, ac- States of America and the United Kingdom, leading to tivist, business man, teacher and politician. the imposition of an arms embargo on Nigeria by several He was a hero to his people, the Ogonis, an ethnic minori- countries. ty in Rivers State, Nigeria. His homeland, Ogoniland in the Niger Delta had been targeted for crude oil extraction Half a year after his execution, Ken Saro-Wiwa received since the 1950s and, had suffered extreme environmental the Right Livelihood Award for his courage, and also the damage from decades of indiscriminate petroleum waste Goldman Environmental Prize. There are dozens of arti- dumping. cles, books and songs praising and idolizing the man who is highly revered in his home state. Ken Saro-Wiwa lectured at the University of Lagos and later at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Ken’s time at the Prior to his execution and following his brief stint in poli- University of Lagos did not last long as he was recalled tics, Saro-Wiwa concentrated on his literary career. Using to become the Civilian Administrator for the port city of proceeds of monies from his brief political sojourn as an Bonny. Saro-Wiwa positioned himself as an Ogoni leader Administrator and a Commissioner, he started a publish- dedicated to the federal cause. He was subsequently ap- ing company and also set up other businesses. His first pointed as a Commissioner in the Old Rivers State. novels were Songs in a Time of War and Sozaboy (1985). Sozaboy satirized the corruption in the Nigerian society In 1990, Saro-Wiwa devoted most of his time to human and, Transistor Radio, one of his best known plays reso- rights and environmental causes, particularly in Ogo- nated well with the Nigerian society. It was later adopted niland. He and other indigenes went on to form the into a television series, “Basi and Company” which ran on Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), television from 1985 to 1990 and was said to have reached a human right’s movement focused on bringing the plight an audience of 30 million with about 150 episodes. of the Ogoni people to the world. In 1992 he was ar- rested and detained by the Nigerian military government Ken Saro-Wiwa’s literary genius garnered him interna- for several months without trial. In January 1993, MOSOP tional recognition and connections which played no small organized peaceful marches with about 300,000 Ogoni part in pushing for the actualization of his dreams for people, more than half of the Ogoni population at the MOSOP and his fight against the Nigerian Government time drawing international attention to their plight. and Shell, the oil company that caused the pollution of Ogoniland - in Saro-Wiwa’s opinion. Saro-Wiwa was rearrested in June 1993 and released after Eze Nyeche Omereji is an Accountant, he obtained a a month by the Nigerian authorities. The following year, on Bachelors degree from Wisconsin International University College, Ghana. He is passionate about Fintech and he May 21 1994, four Ogoni Chiefs were murdered and Sa- finds joy in books and travel. ro-Wiwa was accused of inciting the murders. He denied the charges brought against him by the government but was imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal. The same fate befell eight other MOSOP leaders who, along with Sa- ro-Wiwa became known as the Ogoni Nine. 45

AND ENTERTAINMENT The internet never forgets: like the #FlipTheSwitchChallenge that low-key promoted cross- dressing - which I mistakenly fell for - or the #IceBucketChal- Social media challenges - to indulge or to ignore? lenge which tested endurance and also helped to raise money for charity. Always keep the goal in mind, it is very important. -By Ebenezar Wikina- 3. How does it impact the next person? “Put your head on my shoulllllllderrr...” I’m The world is increasingly growing selfish and so most times we sure this rings a bell. It does not? Are you sure you are a teen- often think of ourselves and what we wish to do and how we ager? How can I know this challenge and you don’t? Okay don’t want to do it, etc. without really considering how it affects other mind me, I’m just kidding. It’s a popular soundtrack for the red people, especially those close to us. If your challenge brings any light challenge (aka #SilhouetteChallenge) that took the inter- kind of harm, either physically or emotionally, to the next person net by storm in February 2021 where folks uploaded videos of then you should not do it. It is as simple as that. themselves dancing naked under a red light filter. Years before the internet, I am certain that no one could have ever imagined a 4. How does it affect your Personal Brand? situation where people would voluntarily upload their nude vid- eos online. That’s how ‘powerful’ challenges can be, but how do In this age of information abundance, every single thing you post you navigate this new social media era as a teenager? online either adds to or subtracts from your digital brand. What The Internet never forgets. impression do you want people to have about you when they see Challenges became the order of the day on social media when your social media posts? I was exposed to this truth when I was TikTok gained popularity. Singing challenges, voice over chal- 17 and since then I have consciously made posts that look like lenges, ice bucket challenge and flip the switch challenge. The who I want to be in the future. The kind of articles and videos challenge fever continued to spread like wildfire across social I share are also deliberate and intentional. This doesn’t mean media. I don’t share PawPaw memes and gifs from time to time - you Five years from now though, imagine that you have applied for also don’t want to be boring. I also love to have fun and post fun your dream job with a promising salary. You’re now at the final things but, I always remember that my digital brand is important stage of screening and a social media audit of you is done (ev- so I avoid any post that appears to be vulgar or uncouth – regard- ery modern organization does this). What sort of footprint have less of how woke it sounds. you left for them to see? Nude videos? Challenge videos where This list is inexhaustible but, don’t be in a hurry to jump on any you’re using cuss words? Or opinion editorials and social media challenge just because it looks cool. Ask yourself questions and posts that edify and inspire? Before you make a post on social continue to ask before you make that post. Remember, when it is media, always remember; the internet never forgets. Once it is out, there’s usually no going back. Continue to use social media out, there’s usually no going back. to build bridges and expand your mind. Happy clicking! ______________________ The Ultimate Challenge Checklist Ebenezar Wikina is a development specialist who has been Let’s go back to the question we asked earlier. How can we decide working with young people since 2009. His work has tak- on what #challenges are worth engaging with and which ones are en him to the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, United not? I’ve come up with a short checklist of things to think about Nations in Geneva, Global Youth Economic Opportunities before joining any challenge online. Summit in Washington D.C, to mention a few. He won the first-ever Soundcity Africa MVP Award for Community De- 1. Will your future self be proud of it? velopment in 2019. 10 minutes after. 2 weeks after. 5 years later. Will you still be proud of yourself for taking part in this challenge? If it’s a chal- lenge you can only take part in secretly, then you most likely should not do it. 2. What is the goal of the challenge? Every Challenge is a movement - an advocacy of some sort - and every movement has a goal, a target, and a central aim. What could be the goal of the #BussItChallenge where girls twerk at the end of the video in a seductive way? I’m sure you already know the answer. Some challenges might have more subtle messaging, 46

How pop culture shapes youth culture: At the end of the day, loving ourselves and making decisions that align with our values, while also finding ways to enjoy our youth- Peer pressure and the need for approval. fulness, is a balance we must all seek. Not for your parents, your friends, your teacher or ‘the community’; but for yourself. We -By Flourish Enyinna- can live a life that is not constantly seeking approval, or agitated about the lack thereof. The world is changing very fast along with everything in it. What young people, people like me, see, listen to, and watch, passively Flourish Enyinna is a medical student who has an intense love shapes them. The media world in all its forms has become almost for children. She is an ardent reader, a great organizer and a more real than the real world itself - you would be surprised at social media enthusiast. She is keen on growth, personal devel- the level of influence it has on us. The culture of youth is basically opment, health and volunteering. When she is not doing school governed by popular culture and practices. When these practices related work, she can be seen reading or writing. are interacted with every day, they, little by little, start to seep into our lives, habits and behavior; whether it’s a trendy dance step, Q&A mode of dressing, or hairstyle. What do you think about parents creating Acting upon these things gives us a sense of belonging, a sense of Instagram pages for their babies and children? community, because a large number of people across the world are also doing the same thing. This is how pop culture takes its root in the culture of youth. This agreement is reached in movie scenes, the lyrics of songs, or through Instagram skits and, that is why whether it is in Abuja or California, the chances of two teenagers making the same decision is higher than the chances of two adults making the same decisions. While adults may have tangible real life reasons for their actions, making a particular decision may just be the cool thing to do for a teenager. However, while we do this to have a sense of belonging, we may VENUS IKONWA; It is cool if they are opening the pages lose what we value and truly hold dear- our identity. Identity to preserve memories but if they are doing it to compliment crisis sets in and we lose the true version of ourselves in order to themselves, then they should seek help. find the generally accepted version. In a bid to gain acceptance and approval from the other “members of our community,” we BERNICE AKROFI: Well, it is their time, energy and their inadvertently yield to external influence. Things are funny be- child. Also some people make money off that now so I wish cause the ‘community’ says they are. Things spark up anger be- them all the best. cause the ‘community’ thinks they should. Things are not cool because the ‘community’ thinks so. JOAN LLOYD: I think it creates a safe place between the Gift, 19, says, “Because there is this trend to be a quirky girl, you children and the parents and it preserves memories for the can be shamed for wanting to be girly, for liking pink, flowers, kids as well. And Instagram babies are taking over the feed dolls, and other things that have been termed ‘girly’ and because now. you really want your friends to approve of the choices you make, you just tend to look past things that you really like.” Mmesoma, JUDITH CHIDI: I find it extra but it is fine, as long as they 20, says, “Last year, I realized that I really like pink and flow- do not put too much out there. But they have to understand ers too so right now, I don’t care what others think, I’m going to that they have now put the baby in the public eye. openly say I love these things.” Princess, 18, says “there are some things I didn’t care about or pay any mind to, but when I saw that EZE WODU: It is the same way people used to hang up it was a big deal to a lot of people online, I began to get angry too. photos of their kids in their homes to document memories Sometimes, I catch myself and realize that I really don’t mind but people do not see it like that. However, I think that but other times, my reaction is automatic and this gives me this like normal rules in life, actions have consequences and feeling that I’m in line with other people.” exposing your child to the world like that has unintended consequences. In as much as approval gives us a sense of worth, it may go over- XAVIERA: I honestly don’t see anything wrong with it, board and throw us into a state of desperation. Even with body however I firmly believe that parents should protect these sizes, a certain acceptable type of body figure has been passed accounts very strictly. There are a lot of predators, sexual around to the members of the youth community; there is now a offenders and perverts that roam the internet and target certain way to look. Pictures are not posted on the internet for children-yes children-and is even they are not safe from visual documentary purposes anymore but for a subtle contest such attacks. I understand that parents want to state their on popularities. Cee, 18, said “I didn’t think anything was wrong bundle of joy, their rising star, their beautiful daughter or with my body and I loved how I looked until people made me handsome son with the rest of the world- and they have feel that the ideal me should be thinner.” Also, Snapchat has be- every right to do so! Parents should, however, do them- come one of the most used apps in recent times because of the selves a huge favor and check the history of that unknown standard of beauty the society has set; snapchat dysmorphia is photographer promising to make their child a super model also on the rise. Sadly, this approval most of us seek is usually fashion nova. superficial and not based on concrete values. 47

A TEENAGER ON WHAT CONSTITUTES GOOD MUSIC -By Xaviera Ajimuda- Music can be an escape and there’s nothing more enticing to a prisoner than the idea of being free and so in that respect, music B Music is an entity that touches the soul and so acts as a liberator to some. whatever speaks to the soul is what teenagers will Music is not just a bunch of notes we dance to and show off all listen to. This can range from any genre... pop, the latest moves-(it can be though! But very rarely.) The music RNB, Indie, punk, heavy metal, Gospel and so we sway to writes the stories of what we have in our hearts, if on. Music is also very subjective which makes this you want to understand someone, just listening to their music question a little trickier to answer as not everyone has the same will tell you a lot of what you need to know, that’s how powerful view on what ‘good’ music is. To put it as best as I can, music music is! creates emotional and sentimental attachments to people, that Xaviera is a 16 year-old student who aspires to become a writer. one song could bring powerful memories of places they went to, experiences they had, emotions they felt... music is an outward expression of the contents of the soul. It says what the lips of a person can’t formulate and illustrates the feelings buried deep in- side. As much as people listen to remember, some listen to forget. Quiz Answers Answers 1. 27 books 1. Do you mind? 2. Love Matthew 22:36 – 40 2. Stable 3. The heart; 1 Samuel 16:7 3. Impeach 4. Wisdom; 1 Kings 3:9 4. Because he is full of pains (panes) 5. A coat of many colors; Genesis 37:3 5. Opportunity 6. Obadiah (For bonus points, the others are Philemon, 2 & 3 John and 6. Your tongue 7. I am your temper. Jude) 8. A teapot 7. You will live long in the land; Exodus 20:12 9. Pride 8. His friend; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 10. Your identity 9. Living and Active; Hebrews 4:12 10. The Lord who heals; Exodus 15:26 11. Quiet words; Ecclesiastes 9:17 12. 12. None, Moses led people out of Egypt. Noah was on the ark 1. Q: Why couldn’t the leopard play hide and seek? 2. Dad: “Can I see your report card, son?” Son: “I don’t have it.” Dad: “Why?” Son: “I gave it to my friend. He wanted to scare his parents.” 3. Q. How much room is needed for fungi to grow? 4. A man is talking to God. “God, how long is a million years?” God answers, “To me, it’s about a minute.” “God, how much is a million dollars?” “To me, it’s a penny.” “God, may I have a penny?” “Wait a minute.” 5. A teacher asked her students to use the word “beans” in a sentence. “My father grows beans,” said one girl. “My mother cooks beans,” said a boy. A third student spoke up, “We are all human beans.” Jokes Answers 1. Because he was always spotted. 2. As mushroom as possible 48

ON OUR BOOKSHELF The Salt Soldier -by Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya- A short story series: The humorous misadventures of a child-soldier in Eastern Nigeria who struggles to provide supplies for his family during the civil war. I t has been almost a year since our house was occu- watery saliva mingled with the Schnapps that my father kept pied, I suddenly realized. The walls would be riddled for his visitors. Grandma for all her age and wisdom loved hot with bullet holes and the window panes long gone. drinks and she wanted to share this love with her ancestors who The corrugated iron roof which had cost my father an resided in the corner of her bedroom. Her bedroom was a veri arm and leg would have been ripped off in strips. The table treasure trove of old and unusable knick knacks. Even our surrounding expanse which my mother had taken such pride in late Grandpa’s pipes caked with tobacco and grime, and the great grooming, would be overgrown with the tenacious goose grass. iron tripod used by our great grandmother was housed in this lit- That area had served as the arena for our football matches and a tle room and had defied all attempts by our mother to modernize play area for us children. There had ensued many a fight as my and sanitize. Grandma guarded her privacy jealously. sisters battled to play their games of ‘siwe’ when my friends and I The house of my childhood was deserted and desecrated. Our were set to start a never ending tournament of football, pushing home stood in the path of the advancing Nigerian army and we our luck with the aging canvas ball. Grandma’s wooden log with had to abandon it, fleeing with the clothes we had on our backs. the hollow carved into it which served as a trough for producing Grandma had waddled a few feet from the house and stopped, palm oil from palm kernels was located at the extreme end of returning to the hastily abandoned house. In those panicked this arena. The earthen ware pots were usually positioned around moments, my father handed my youngest sister over to me and the bungalow at strategic points where the eaves could direct the ran back to the house to get Grandma. Our mother was bliss- rain water into the pots for storage and cooling. They may have fully unaware of this occurrence as she led the charge, driving survived the war. her three daughters before her. Before our father got back to the The little grove behind the bungalow sheltered by an outcrop of house, Grandma toddled out, holding a bottle of Schnapps and trees that had been cultivated to grant some privacy as we dis- our grandfather’s snuff pipes. I smiled when I saw her, and even posed of bodily waste would be indistinguishable from the over- in his haste, I saw my father’s smile colored with a tinge of exas- grown farmland beyond. Our latrine had been maintained very peration. neatly and unsavory odors rarely wafted out to interfere with the The bullet that killed Grandma went straight through her neck ambience of a serene evening filled with children’s laughter, adult and blasted through the bottle of Schnapps with an ear splitting admonishment, healthy home-grown meals and sweet palm sound. My father escaped with a bullet in his leg and was saved wine tapped fresh by our very agile uncle, my mother’s younger from further harm by the grove of trees which had been our shel- brother. ter in private moments. Those trees sheltered him now although The spot where we had block rosary and said our prayers to the he remained odoriferous for days on end. Thus, the war came to Virgin Mary’s plastic statue was always highly revered no matter our home in the most violent of ways. how unruly our play had become. We were one of the few reli- gious families in our clan, and we were alternately mocked and respected. However my grandmother still had a little corner of her room where she would routinely place kolanuts and throw 49

Do not romanticize suffering. There is of sunlight become my home again but longed for still nothing poetic about a love that breaks on whose trysting floor waited and his tune is heard your spirit. my proud vibrant life on the distant hill Know when to leave. Some bridges ----Chinua Achebe, Answers for the caged bird need to be burned. Use the light to find sings of freedom. a better way. A free bird leaps ----Maya Angelou, Caged Bird Practice Forgiveness. Start with your- on the back of the wind self. Nobody ever actually forgets. Re- and floats downstream The Lion stakes his claim member the lesson. till the current ends To the leadership of the pack Say no. Do no negotiate with terrorists. and dips his wing But the Antelopes remember Do not bargain for anyone’s love. in the orange sun rays The ferocious pounce of his paws Friendships end. Let go. Stay open. and dares to claim the sky. The hyena says the crown is made for ----10 things by Titilope Sonuga But a bird that stalks him down his narrow cage But the Impalas shudder at his lethal I broke at last can seldom see through appetite the terror-fringed fascination his bars of rage The Giraffe craves a place in the front that bound my ancient gaze his wings are clipped and But his eyes are too far from the ground to those crowding faces his feet are tied When the Zebra says it’s his right to of plunder and seized my so he opens his throat to sing. lead remnant life in a miracle The caged bird sings The pack points to the duplicity of his of decision between white- with a fearful trill stripes collar hands and shook it of things unknown The Elephant trudges into the power like a cheap watch in but longed for still tussle my ear and threw it down and his tune is heard But its colleagues dread his trampling beside me on the earth floor on the distant hill feet and rose to my feet. I for the caged bird The warthog is too ugly made of their shoulders sings of freedom. The rhino too riotous and heads bobbing up and down The free bird thinks of another breeze And the pack thrashes around a new ladder and leaned and the trade winds soft through the Like a snake without a head it on their sweating flanks sighing trees “Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”, and ascended till midair and the fat worms waiting on a dawn Proclaims the Forest Sage, my hands so new to harshness bright lawn “A little bit of a Lion could grapple the roughness of a and he names the sky his own A little bit of a Lamb prickly But a caged bird stands on the grave Tough like a tiger, compassionate like day and quench the source of dreams a doe that fed turbulence to their his shadow shouts on a nightmare Transparent like a river, mysterious like feet. I made a dramatic scream a lake descent that day landing his wings are clipped and his feet are A leader who knows how to follow backways into crouching shadows tied Followers mindful of their right to lead” into potsherds of broken trance. I so he opens his throat to sing. flung open long-disused windows The caged bird sings ----Niyi Osundare, The Leader and and doors and saw my hut with a fearful trill the Led new-swept by rainbow brooms of things unknown Movietastic! What’s showing in the cinemas? These are must see blockbuster movies coming up this year. Fast & Furious 9 (starts showing June 2021) Black Widow (starts showing July 2021) After the events of The Fate of the Furious (2017), Dom- The first Marvel property to kick off its Phase 4 (on the big screen, at least) will be inic Toretto and his family must face Dominic’s younger this prequel focusing on Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff. We don’t quite brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their know what the story surrounding the character will be, but we do know that she old enemy Cipher, and who holds a personal vendetta will be joined by David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and rising star Florence Pugh, against Dominic. among others. And who knows? Maybe Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will make an Starring: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, appearance. Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Lucas Black In the heights (starts showing June 2021) Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu adapts Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout musical, In the Heights. The show, which kicked off the Hamil- ton creator’s career, won four Tony Awards in 2008, including Best Musi- cal and Best Original Score. Chu demonstrated real skill with spectacle in Crazy Rich Asians, and the new movie shares similar themes of reclaiming one’s heritage – it follows the stories of several characters in New York’s heavily Latino neighborhood, Washington Heights, over three days. Starring: Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Corey Hawkins, Jimmy Smits, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco 50

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