A Writer’s Safe Space at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Home is and will continue to be important in the lives of people. The definition of home has always varied. Primarily, it is where you live with people you call family, who share the same lineage and blood as you. The meaning of the term family is quite simple; it is people you love and who loves you in return. As humans, we are never entirely confined in a place; we move, travel and seek. It is through this journey that we make for ourselves home with people whom we aren’t necessarily related to by blood, but by something ordinary and just as deep. Being a creative, finding a community is just as important especially if you are new to a place. To find like minds open to conversation and learning can be a bliss. And this is what the students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka have seen for themselves.

The Writers Community, TWC as it is popularly called started in 2008 and it is an enriching community for writers who wish to learn, be in conversations they would otherwise not have with their fellow students, and mostly, exist as what they are, creatives. The community holds its meeting every Friday, where the Custodian (President), who runs for a session, spearheads the conference. It usually opens with pleasantries, discussions on a particular topic from a previous meeting, and the core of it all, submission of works by any member to be reviewed by everyone.

These honest reviews gear towards making a better writer out of everyone as discussions ensue, questions asked, and the learning wheel is left spinning. In moderating this, the Custodian shares copies of the workaround which will be read by the writer, and later criticized constructively by members who have opinions about the piece. In the acknowledgment that art and creativity are vast, there are no limitations to the kinds of work that can be submitted ranging from poetry, prose, essays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, art or whatever it is your mind comes up. Afterward, the best submissions are compiled and shared with everyone via the TWC boards located in the Faculty of Arts.

Apart from these weekly meetings, the community also organizes workshops where established writers come to teach and equip members. The guest for the last seminar was JK Anowe, a poet. For fun, the community holds its end of the year Discuss Night where members circle a bonfire, eat, drink, play games and of course, read more works. It also partners with other platforms within the school to create readings and performance night which are open to all students. The community is as essential as it is for every writer who wishes to grow and can serve as a solid foundation as it has for its ancestors like Otosirieze Obi-Young, Arizne Ifekandu, Benson David, Ebenezer Agu and many more.


Shade Mary-Ann Olaoye is a final year student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  She is passionate about writing and engages with multiple campus organizations and local societies to reinforce and promote her love of growing into a creative.

Shade makes her debut as a blog intern for That Green Tea.

Follow me on IG: @shade_mary_ann_olaoye

 

5 Things I Learned About Having Interns


I looked at my bank account, and it glared right back at me with disgust.

I felt this on a spiritual level. The who, what, where and why I had decided to make an investment with little to zero capital turned me into an overnight lawyer and personal finance broker. I was going to see this through the end. Every little free resource I could get my hands on, I latched onto it like a cat hanging on to dear life from drowning ( Disclaimer: I do not participate nor condone the drowning of cats, and neither should you, what kind of monster are you?)

But it was worth it. EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY.

And this is just the beginning. The way we consume information is continuously changing, and there are so many outlets that can cater to the type of target audience you want your message to get across. That being said, this was a learning experience for me without any experience in managing people independently. Here are five things I’ve learned about having interns:

Eat, Live and Breathe Organization Skills

Google is your friend. I had to become an overnight established content writer and editor. I mean I did do my posts and uploaded them when I felt like it. But when you watch someone else do it, and you use it as an opportunity to see if * cricket sounding bank account* your money was going to bring results, then you had to keep everyone on a schedule, and that meant assigning tasks to people.

Calendars, due dates, meetings ( especially since everyone worked remotely on different continents) was something I lost sleep too. I would ask myself if I was wasting my time, but something just felt so right about it. I had my expectations and having a set plan made it a lot easier.

The Fountain of Talent

It all comes down to perspective and the ability to give opportunities to people to show their best selves. ( Have you been on twitter? Especially Black Twitter ( and the various niches of them)?? Legends I tell you).

I think one thing I appreciated was that everyone was confident in what they brought to the table. Except for the rare occasions where things didn’t necessarily seem feasible to do at the time, the thought process of starting and executing a plan was remarkable, and it did generate the results we were hoping for; Exposure.

Connectedness

There are two types of employers ( business majors chill, this is from experience, I don’t need you hounding me). Those that see their employees as tools to generate results and those that look at their employees as people who are comfortable and happy to create. I strive for the latter. I strive to understand the humanness of the people that work with me. Some would say you can’t apply this model in real life ( I’m not quoting books because that’s free publicity and I’m not getting paid for it so meh).

I took time in my day to check up on them to make sure they’re okay. Letting them know that we can be friends and a team trying to achieve something helps in holistic development. I’m no one’s therapist but when you can afford to be emphatic and listen to the things they’re not saying, allows you to grow into a decent person, and that’s what the world needs.

Believing in Your Sauce

Raw sauce ( Big {man} Shaq couldn’t have said it any better). I had days I wanted to cave in and cry the doubt into oblivion. Sometimes it worked. I mean the crying out part. Y’all should try it sometime. A good cry will give you clarity. TRUST ME.

But I had to an extent believe I was the shit. I am still coming to terms with that. That you can walk into a situation, say your mind, get a yay or nay, and keep it pushing until you get steered into the right direction to see things happen. I have 2½ part-time jobs and considering the blog is my brainchild, I would get so exhausted about everything ( as if college isn’t its problem)

A Bright Future

To be honest, I thought I was going to fail. I didn’t think that I would have a committed team. A team that worked on a level of trust that didn’t require me to micromanage or be there physically so that they were aware of my awesomeness (nervous laugh).

I kept looking at the things I had written down and thought maybe they wouldn’t be able to project the vision I had planned out. Life is funny. Not only did they do better than I expected but considering the limited resources I had on deck, we accomplished everything in the time frame that was initially planned.

I am so proud of them. And I’m sure they haven’t realized it yet, but they are now premium assets to wherever their future takes them. Not because they interned for some not-so-big-shot blog, but because they acted on their courage, went through a process and delivered. And that’s something you can’t teach in a classroom.


That Green Tea Blog will be celebrating it’s official 2 year anniversary in March and would like to thank everyone that supported us along the way.

We will also be conducting a Season 2 intern cycle. We can’t wait to see your applications!

How Youths of Minna Are Using Car Drifting Stunts As a Tool For Brotherhood

The city is known for social events like a horse race, commonly known as Hawa; often organized to celebrate things like a sister’s wedding, a brother’s walimah, a friend’s graduation, etc. The most spectacular and grand Hawa however, occurs only during Sallah celebrations. The whole city meets to watch, and the King is usually part of the horse riders; not racing, but making a royal appearance. But another social event Minna is known for is Car drifting stunts.

Car drifting is the process of overly accelerating a car around a stage, causing it to release a cloud of exhaust fumes in its trail. This is done for fun and competitions and is becoming increasingly popular amongst youths of Minna, the capital city of Niger State.

Wikipedia defines car drifting as,

“A driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, with loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control and driving the car through the entirety of a corner. Car drifting occurs when the rear slip angle is greater than the front slip angle, to such an extent that often the front wheels are pointing in the opposite direction to the turn (e.g., the car is turning left, wheels are pointed right or vice versa, also known as a reverse lock or counter-steering)”

Car drifting stunts first started in Japan in 1970, by a man named Kunimitsu Takahashi. He was first a motorcyclist and then a driver. He would go on to win major awards for car drifting competitions.

The end aim of car drifting is usually to produce exhaust fumes from the burning of car tires.

Keiichi Tsuchiya, another Japanese, known as the “Drift King” came into history upon encountering Tahakashi’s drifting techniques. Sometime in the late 90s, particularly in 1996, Drifting began to gain more popularity outside of Japan, in places like California.

Drift League presents Tokyo Wedding Party

On 10th February 2019, Minna car drifters converged at 3-Arm Zone to have Drifting stunts in celebration of a sister of one of their top members who recently got married. They called it Tokyo-Wedding Party from the Drift-league. Before this, they had made a flyer and shared it across social media, inviting people to come to to to to watch.

The bride was in attendance with two of her friends to witness the fun celebration. Her hands and feet had henna, and her face was heavily made up. She wore a black hijab.

At 4:30 pm, the stage was still mostly empty and exuded a serene, peaceful atmosphere, even though the event had scheduled for 4:00 pm.

Soon, drifters and spectators started to arrive in trickles. Some of them had customized t-shirts. Most casually dressed in t-shirts and jeans.

When the first car arrived, it did so with a grand announcement; tires were screeching hard against the cemented inter-locked ground as people cheered.

In about an hour, the arena was full of drifters and watchers alike. And so the fun began. As spectacular as the view often was, it sometimes left fear in the mouth of watchers especially first-time viewers. But not for the young men standing around the arena and cheering loudly as each car began its show.

In about an hour, the arena was full of drifters and watchers alike. And so the fun began. As spectacular as the view often was, it sometimes left fear in the mouth of watchers especially first-time viewers. But not for the young men standing around the arena and cheering loudly as each car began its show.

A small car first drove into the arena and began to accelerate round and round in a way that made eyes dizzy. And then it drove off the cemented road into a corner filled with sand. Once there, the driver began to press hard on the accelerator, while at the same time steering the wheel in a direction opposite the direction the tires were headed. This sent the tires rolling hard against the sand in one direction and then breathing loads of sand in, and leaving clouds of dust erupting into the air. Once this was achieved, the car veered back onto the road and accelerated hard, leading the tires into burning smoke out in spirals and spirals of fumes that drove the crowd into cheers.

Several cars did this in turns, each trying to outdo the one before it, producing more and more smoke.

As night drew closer, the bride and her two friends, who had been mere viewers before now, were invited into one of the cars whose turn it was to drift. They went in. Once the car started, they began to scream in what could have been terror, or excitement, or both. But the driver did not stop. He drifted until the tires burned and there were thick clouds of smoke. By the time he finished, and the three women alighted from the car, they each clutched their chests in obvious terror and tried to gain their breaths back. The crowd cheered.

Towards the end of the show, word went round that there was to be a Hawa on the 24th of February, in honor of a member’s brother who had recently done his Qur’anic graduation.

There is a fabric that binds the youths of this city together, and it is called brotherhood.


This article is a collaboration between Writer, Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu, and Photographer Victor Adewale.

This project is part of a final assignment to conclude my time at That Green Tea. I am available for any future literary collaborations as needed. Follow me on social media on IG: @waasishafii and Twitter: @waasishafii

All images are the original work of Victor Adewale on IG: @victoradewale_ and Twitter: @victoradewale_

  1. Drifting (motorsport). (2019, January 22). Retrieved February 13, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drifting_(motorsport)

Eat.Drink.Lagos…. Repeat!

#EatDrinkFestival is a one of a kind festival and social event. Now in its fifth year, the team is taking #EatDrinkFestival to greater heights. In addition to bites and sips from a dynamic selection of Lagos’ upcoming vendors, pop-ups from celebrity and aspiring chefs, and hobbyist cooks, the Food Festival is an annual event set in the beautiful bay of the Lekki coliseum. The festival takes place every year in the last days of the year after the holidays (ikr, what a way to end the year).

The Food Festival combines innovation and interaction with the audiences. In just six years, the Festival has gained momentum with around 30,000 visitors in only one weekend. The primary purpose of the festival is to communicate inspiration and gastronomic knowledge about the cosmopolitan culture to all of its visitors.

What was offered was a wide range of special events and tastings with a focus on indigenous food culture – from seaweed safaris to sausage-making and cabbage workshops, to gourmet picnics along the boulevard. Visitors of all ages will discover engaging and insightful activities and master classes.

There was an atmosphere driven by enthusiasm and passion for local food culture and seeks to promote the Nigerian kitchen nationally as well as internationally. It gathered some of the leading producers, chefs, and enthusiasts to raise questions and create experiences around cosmopolitan/indigenous food for all its visitors.

Jollof Rice, the pride of West African cuisine with sweet corn and honey wings

Smolefikpots was my fave at the festival the corn did taste like it was drizzled with honey (or was it raspberry?). The chicken was a tad bit over seasoned but the flavor was toned down with the spring onion, and do not get me started on the Jollof rice, exactly how I like it; slightly burnt and moist. It was foodie heaven.

Thanks to the blog ( *coughs* Fatima) I did not miss out on dessert. I had chocolate banana drizzled doughnut with honey dips and sprinkles. When I tell you the entire thing melted in my mouth like whipped cream (Y’all gon think I’m lying, but I’m not). Here’s a rare photo of heaven in a box.

Guests could choose from relatively simple meals such as seafood Jollof and ofada Jollof to more exciting concoctions such as Jollof samosa, Jollof shawarma, groundnut jollof rice, Jollof arancini and acha (Fonio) Jollof.

Other options included Jollof risotto, Jollof couscous, nkwobi ( spicy cow foot) Jollof, Jollof burrito, coconut jollof rice, smokey ofada infused Jollof rice, Jollof gnocchi, and Jollof quinoa which could be washed down with cocktails, zobo, smoothies, beer and of course water. There was gelato and popsicles (some alcoholic) for when the weather got hot.

For the people who, for some reason, weren’t there for Jollof anything, there were other options including dirty rice, chicken wings, pork chops, small chops, asun ( spicy goat meat usually roasted), cookies, BBQ wings, native rice, and salads. The Food Festival did offer a diversity of opportunities and great experiences to a broad group of people in just one weekend.

Hopefully next year’s even more thrilling.


Rashineh is passionate about covering events in the Lagos metropolitan area and is available for collaborations.

Email: contact@thatgreentea.com

Don’t forget to like, share and follow us on all platforms!

IG: @rashinehfromaccounting

All images are original works of Rashineh and the property of That Green Tea blog.

Belief

We talk about finding beauty in the mundane, but also about whether or not we can afford to write about the little things while a fire rages in our backyard, burning things like gender equality, religious tolerance, and peace.

There has been the age-long argument on whether as writers, we can afford to listen to the voice of the heart when it is not speaking about the political. But then again, what is political? I’ve been thinking about these cages, and I’ve decided the little things are just as worthy of writing.

belief

the fierce resistance of the sky
when the sun begins to sink
forcing it to spill,
i believe in the kindness of truth to call that beauty.

the width of my sister’s smile
and the tenor of my best friend’s laughter
the love song that exists between rain and a window
and the tender spot that is midnight
the dirge of silence, truth.

the weakness in my chest when i begin to miss the people i love.
scars and their lineage
the assent of a family of laughter taking off by the same sheet of time
the curse that soaks my country like a towel would blood
the glint in my brother’s eye when he wants to prank.

i believe in the curl of hair
the anguished cry of a half buried hurt.
the slight smirk of nature over greenery kissing harmattan
i believe in hands.

in the fabric of friendship.


Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu is a final year law student at Bayero University, Kano. A poet and essayist, her work has appeared online and in print on platforms such as Ake Review, The Bitter Oleander, Afridiaspora, Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review, Selves, and elsewhere.

She is a 2018 fellow at the Ebedi Writers International Residency and interning here on That Green Tea blog.

All images sourced from Canva are free. Any copyrighted image will be rightfully mentioned. We don’t have litigation money so we keep it simple. 🙂