Monday, January 12, 2009

Q & A Interview With Zambia's Mutinta Suuya


Who knows how these things happen? The best African minds are beginning to emerge in Diaspora and, with a remarkable African cultural events taking place all around the world, it is now clear the world has changed a whole lot. From M-Net's Face Of Africa to Miss Africa Canada coupled with related African cultural events in Sweden, Finland, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Australia, and several others spread out all over the Universe, the one that is for sure fascinating is the electric atmosphere of Miss Africa USA which kicked off four years ago in Jonesboro, Georgia.

And on Saturday, November 1, 2008, the beautiful African minds gathered at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center in Jonesboro, Georgia, for the 4th Annual Miss Africa USA contest and the elegant 18-year-old Mutinta Suuya was one of them; representing her country, Zambia. Born in Lusaka, Zambia and now a sophomore aspiring to be an economist and a lawyer by the time she's done with academics. Mutinta told me a whole lot and what the future holds for her. No doubt, at 18, she's almost there and it is quite amazing how her passion is driving her to the success lane.

She is too much for her age and with her volunteer work in progress her inspiration will definitely help change the African cultural landscape and, people around her develop a deeper understanding of Africa today. She is practically everything, an essayist and you name it.



EXCERPT:
Tell me about yourself

I am an 18 year old College Sophomore currently majoring in Economics in the State of Illinois, and I intend to go to Law School upon completing my Bachelors in Economics. I began attending High School when I was 10 years old and completed at 15. I have managed to maintain a 4.0 G.P.A throughout my college enrollment. In addition, I am an Honors student currently enrolled in the school's Honors program.

Besides being a Lawyer and Economist, I intend to continue modeling and become a Biographer. Writing Biographies is something I would love to do on a professional level because I am fascinated by different people's life stories. It is so interesting to realize that every individual on this planet has a unique story to tell even if they don't realize it.

On the other hand, I enjoy modeling because I have always been interested in fashion and photography. In my college enrollment so far I have received the following awards:
Outstanding Student of the year in 2007-2008 awards due to maintaining a 4.0 G.P.A, Who's Who amongst students in American Colleges and Universities and Lutrell Endowment Foundation Scholarship. I have also been recently nominated for the prestigious Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student laureate Award. It is statewide award in which only one student per school can be nominated for it.
I am member of the following organizations: Phi Theta Kappa Honors society, Student Activity Board, Student writer for School newspaper called NavigatorIn Addition. I am a part time Audio Visual Technician in the Audio Visual Technology department of the school. I was a finalist for the Miss Africa USA 2008 Scholarship and Beauty Pageant, and currently hold the title of Miss Zambia USA 2008. In 2008, I was the School's representative at the Honors Annual Spring Student Research Conference of the Honors Council of the Illinois Region (HCIR) at Western Illinois University in Moline, IL . At this conference I made an oral presentation on a project entitled "Are Biofuels the next best Alternative energy resource?" Not forgetting, I am a featured author in a publication by Elder and Leemuar Publishers called Challenge the Experts.

When you arrived on the shores of the United States, what was the difference between growing up in Lusaka, Zambia and settling in America?

The differences between growing up in Lusaka and settling in America have been interesting learning expiriences. I am very grateful to having been brought up in Lusaka because I learnt so much about the importance of appreciating culture, morals and family life. It has also made me a down to earth person who will always remember where I came from. Settling in America has been a lovely learning experience and opportunity as well. I love the diversity in culture and race found in America. Not forgetting I admire and respect the hardworking ethic and determination instilled in the people that live here.

Let's talk about the beauty contest, the Miss Africa USA recently held in Jonesboro, Georgia. How did you hear about the contest and what motivated you to enter your bid?

I saw and read about the contest online. I decided to enter the contest because I loved the fact that it was celebrating African culture and was acknowledging all the beautiful and talented women found in its continent.

What was the experience like; I mean the fanfare, the contestants, the audience, the panel of judges and organizers that Saturday night you stepped on stage for a shot to the crown?

It was such an amazing experience. In one weekend, I learnt so much about other cultures and greatly enhanced my modeling skills. The audience and judges were awesome. They did an amazing job to help bring the contest to life.

In your leisure time what keeps you busy?

In my leisure time I love reading Biographies, travelling and seeing different historical sites and museums, writing different thoughts on paper, watching movies and documentaries, and most of all listening and watching CNN.

Who is your favorite author?

I actually have two favorite authors, Eric Blair also known as the great George Orwell and Sidney Sheldon. I love George Orwell's works because he was such an intelligent and controversial writer. I admire and respect the fact that he did not think that it was important to go with the mainstream opinion even when it was wrong. He wrote books that were not favored in his time but have become master pieces today. Orwell was generally a powerful writer whose works will continue to endure the test of time.

Sidney Sheldon is a brilliant author who is so entertaining. One thing I noticed about his books is that although Sidney Sheldon was a male author, he usually gave power to the women in them. In almost every book I have read by him, a woman is the main character. Additionally, he was such a great story teller and a legend in his own right.

What's your favorite dish?

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Who is your favorite musician?

Mariah Carey, her voice and lyrics are just amazing. There is something so sincere in the way she sings and delivers her music.

In fashion, who is your favorite designer?

Coco Chanel is my favorite designer. She greatly influenced the fashion industry by her classy yet sophisticated designs. Today, her design label has grown greatly and is worn by so many people across the globe.

what's your wish for Africa since you will be fully engaged in volunteer work?

My wish for Africa is to see it become an economically independent continent. Despite Africa gaining political independence from its colonial masters, it is yet to gain Economical Independence. I believe that Africa is indeed "diamond in Ruff"; it has the potential to become a powerful independent continent both politically and economically.

What area of politics is your interest?

Honestly, I am interested in so many different areas of politics. However, Global Politics is my main interest because I strongly believe that each day the world is becoming more and more connected. We witnessed that with the collapse of the US economy, the Global economy was crumbling too. This simply showed that the political and economical instability of one nation will have an impact on other nations too. In addition, I think it is important for us as Humankind to not only consider ourselves as citizens of a country but of the globe. Thus, this is why global politics my main are of interest.

CARTOON: A Real State Of Hopelessness


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Nigerian gangsters get a foothold in a violent Italian landscape

As the African gangs gain clout, conflict with the Neapolitan mafia known as the Camorra intensifies, made brutally clear by an attempted hit that left six Ghanaians dead.

By Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Castel Volturno, Italy -- Soaring on cocaine, guns smoking, the Camorra hit squad sped down the Via Domitiana, the road built along the Bay of Naples during the Roman Empire.The gangsters had just killed an arcade owner. Now they were hunting an African drug dealer.

Bulky in bulletproof vests, they scanned the dim main drag of this no man's land by the sea, a 16-mile strip of a town where Naples blends with Nigeria. They saw African prostitutes wearing miniskirts and multicolored braids, a wild night parade of silhouettes posing, strutting, staggering in search of a few euros. The sedan passed storefront churches, neon motel signs and garbage-strewn lots. It stopped at a low white structure housing Ob-Ob Exotic Fashions.The drug dealer wasn't there. But the gunmen opened up anyway, strafing a group of Ghanaians at the store with an AK-47 assault rifle and semiautomatic pistols. Then they fled to a squalid hide-out and celebrated with lobster and champagne, leaving behind six people dead, one wounded and an uproar that spread across Italy.The killings in September, recounted in interviews by senior antimafia officials, were gory evidence of conflict between the Neapolitan mafia, known as the Camorra, and Nigerian gangsters who play a growing role in Italy's drug and prostitution rackets.

This landscape of change and fear has been shaped by a singular juxtaposition: One of Europe's biggest concentrations of African immigrants has risen in the heart of Camorra turf."After the shooting, my wife said: 'Let's pack and leave this place,' " said Nsangu "Sammi" Kagutta, a Tanzanian father of three who owns a nearby Internet center. "They were just poor people trying to get their daily bread. If it was about drugs, they shot the wrong people."Most of the victims were illegal immigrant laborers, though one or two may have been low-level drug pushers, investigators say. The fusillade of 130 bullets was apparently an indiscriminate message from a Camorra clan aimed at terrifying its junior partners into obedience."It was not about racism at all," said Jean-Rene Bilongo, a community mediator from Cameroon who speaks French, English and Italian with the broad Neapolitan accent. "It was about business."Nigerian gangsters have made Castel Volturno a European headquarters. In the 1990s, demand boomed here for African prostitutes -- prosecutors call it "the Naomi Campbell phenomenon." Camorra clans "rented" turf to Nigerian pimps, a line of work that Neapolitan gangsters disdain.And as cocaine flows increasingly to Europe through West Africa, Nigerians have graduated from their previous role as smuggling "mules" and pay the Camorra for a cut of street trafficking action."The Camorra worked well with the Nigerians at first," said Antonio Laudati, a top Justice Ministry official who led a major prosecution of the Nigerian mafia last year. "They were low-cost labor. They were well-received because they were cheap and very loyal. But then the Nigerians started to rise to a new level."That coincided with the disarray of the region's dominant clan from the nearby town of Casal di Principe. As older Casalesi bosses went to prison, a new generation of swaggering, hard-partying gunslingers stepped up. During the last year, they embarked on a punitive campaign against Italian turncoats and foreign rivals, killing nine people.Those deaths were in addition to the violence on Sept. 18, which came about because the Casalesi gunmen were looking for an African drug dealer who had crossed them, said a senior antimafia official who requested anonymity for security reasons. They gunned down a mob-connected Italian they suspected of protecting the African, then attacked the clothing shop in a drug-fueled frenzy, officials say."Behind the massacre is a question of territory," Laudati said.

"They were killed in a symbolic manner. It was an ethnic warning to rebellious Africans. This is a new reality, a work in progress, and we are trying to figure it out."Since the killings, the government in Rome has cracked down, arresting suspects and deploying 500 soldiers in the region. Local leaders want Italians and immigrants to work together against an entrenched outlaw culture.In Castel Volturno and elsewhere in southern Europe where crime, immigration and economic crisis converge, an uncertain future is under construction."We need to deal with the social problems, and not just using the police," said Mayor Francesco Nuzzo, who estimates there are 15,000 undocumented immigrants here.

"This is a world. There are 50 different ethnicities in Castel Volturno."The faded stucco motels on the Via Domitiana are relics from 30 years ago, when the town aspired to become a tourism capital. Instead, the pollution and helter-skelter architecture attest to neglect and rapacity. Camorra clans got rich off the unlicensed construction of vacation complexes, concrete monstrosities that served as refuge for victims of the Naples earthquake in 1980, then an influx of immigrants.Africans first came to work in tomato fields made bountiful by the climate of the Caserta region and subsidies from the European Union. In recent years, many arrived on a new flow of ragged smuggling flotillas from Libya to Sicily.

Like the fugitive local gangsters who dodge police for years in the mob-dominated towns north of Naples, newcomers find this a good place to lie low."It attracts illegal immigrants because there is a generalized culture of lawlessness," the senior antimafia official said. "People don't pay taxes, they build illegally, they dump garbage illegally, they buy contraband, they work off the books. People in this part of Italy have a problem with rules."

But jobs are scarce. Employers prefer Eastern Europeans to work in hotels and South Asians to clean up after the herds of buffalo whose milk is used to produce the region's acclaimed mozzarella.Hard times may have aggravated the extraordinary reaction the day after the killings. A march by Africans erupted into a riot on the Via Domitiana. They vandalized cars and shops and scuffled with police. In response, there was an anti-immigrant demonstration that Mayor Nuzzo blames partly on manipulation by the Camorra.More trauma came in early November. Local governments invited Miriam Makeba, a beloved South African singer, to a benefit concert here. The idea was to defy the Camorra and promote tolerance. The 76-year-old performed, but suffered a heart attack and died backstage.

"It was very sad," said Kagutta, the Tanzanian businessman, who met Makeba before the concert. "She seemed a little frail, not healthy. But she talked and sang normally. She was dancing on stage. What a very bad day."In an immigrant community bereft of leaders, the quiet Kagutta, 42, has made a mark. Dressed casually but carefully, he talks over an espresso in a glass-walled office at the back of his Internet shop. The place seems an oasis: well-kept, rows of modern computers, signs announcing DHL delivery service and computer repairs.On the night of the killings, Kagutta rushed to the area with other Africans. He saw the dead, some of them men he knew, sprawled in the store and a bullet-shredded Alfa Romeo.Fear spread. Several African businesses shut their doors. Nonetheless, Kagutta said, the quick response of Italian law enforcement reassured him. He said he also had good experiences since he arrived here in his late 20s, a laborer with dreams of opening a business."There are people who give you a hand," he said. "I have an Italian friend who is my brother. He says that and he means it, with no self-interest."The nationwide attention to Castel Volturno could have a positive result, he said."I think right now there is more understanding," he said. "The door of integration will be more open."The door closed forever, though, for six Ghanaians on Sept. 18. It took more than two months for authorities to identify them and complete the procedures to send the bodies, traveling this time with papers, back to their homeland.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The problem with cheap oil

Prices that low -- and their equivalents at the gas pump -- will no doubt be viewed as a godsend by many hard-hit American consumers, even if they ensure severe economic hardship in oil-producing countries like Nigeria, Russia, Iran, Kuwait, and Venezuela that depend on energy exports for a large share of their national income. Here, however, is a simple but crucial reality to keep in mind: No matter how much it costs, whether it's rising or falling, oil has a profound impact on the world we inhabit -- and this will be no less true in 2009 than in 2008. READ MORE>>>

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Tragedy of the Igbo Intellectual

Wake up everybody
No more sleeping in bed
No more backward thinking
Time for thinking ahead
The world’s change so very much
For what it use to be
There is so much hatred
War and poverty

----Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes

If you fast-forward the Kenneth Gamble-Leon Huff production on The Sound of Philadelphia Records label released by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes with that powerful voice of Theodore Pendergrass way back in 1973 now, there will be a whole lot to tell the world has not gotten any better based on if one should ask me coming that afar thirty-something years ago when technology had just begun in making life better from every aspect of society.

We haven’t seen much change over the years because the entire world is still compounded by the same old problems; problems now worse than ever seen before. Thirty-something years ago when the Blue Notes envisioned a fragile world if I still remember, was after the pogrom in a fast pace took place in Nigeria when pregnant women were eviscerated and disemboweled and the world looking the other way as if nothing happened which is reason enough the Igbo intellectual is seen as lacking a sense of belonging in taking the lead putting into perspective all that happened during the pogrom and the ominous consequences that followed. On the other hand, it had been presumed what happened over forty years ago should be forgotten by moving on and I will be coming to that in a minute.

Perhaps I may not have a problem with such gruesome acts of unnatural taste committed against humankind for the fact Igbo people as one observer noted are just “stupid” because if you walk into any bookstore today some Armenian who wasn’t born during the Armenian genocide of 1915 has written a book provoking greater popular outrage around the globe; one Jew born about twenty-seven years ago and has learned from the Synagogue that to forget is to proclaim Hitler innocent has compiled a book on a witness to the truth – the Holocaust; a South African who found his way escaping Apartheid to the woods around Mississippi has jotted down his experience of injustice; a teenager somewhere in the Lebanese community in Michigan is writing about the Beirut massacre of 1982; a Brit having no clue of 17th Century England has written a detailed account on the Gunpowder Plot orchestrated to bring the British empire to its knees during the Elizabethan era; a Chinese immigrant whose forebears were demolished and plundered writes about the Naijing massacre; a Cambodian puts into perspective the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s; a Balkan writes about the Bosnian massacres of the 1990s; a then seven-year-old is reflecting and piecing together the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and a curious minded being documents on the death of Anne Frank and the Concentrations Camps, and construction of the Holocaust museums as the list goes on and on.

But nowadays, encounter an Igbo anywhere especially at a beer parlor, isi-ewu joints and places like that, the theme of such forums would sound much normal as in any regular bar – hanging out in those Armani suits and spewing out nonsense on the grounds of alcohol and loose women being involved. The irony though is that none comes out with something of substance, some kind of brilliant and meaningful stuff even though altered minds in an environment alcohol and women are involved can still have decent debates and argue intellectually.

My point here is precisely about we who have embedded ourselves into the American social system which is unlike any other in the world, a nation that has emerged from nations all over the world, and a nation pragmatically created, never seen before to have not taken advantage like other immigrants in building community and being concretely part of a system where collectivity ultimately leads to utopia.

My attempt here is a studied survey based on different accounts regarding the Igbo guardian, the so-called “intellectual” and how it is today a tragedy.

Is there an instance where some thought has been put in place how we explored the shores of America over forty years ago like our other immigrant counterparts and yet have nothing, absolutely nothing to show for it? Has anyone thought about what would be the position of our children fifteen years from now in a faster changing environment resourced through community, put it this way, a historic problem that absorbed so much effort to resolve and finally brought about change by electing a second generation immigrant Barack Obama president of the United States? And did anyone think about how we could have established ourselves here in Diaspora as a powerhouse in every aspect, in such a way we could influence the “power brokers” in our native land permanently putting to a stop riff raffs running the show? Has anyone reflected, studied and investigated the most blood soaked event in its era where our women were raped by Islamic hoodlums who were also nihilists, killed en-masse infants and children; and then murdered our men in the most brutal of circumstances in an attempt to wipe out a specific ethnic group which amounts to genocide by any accepted definition?

Besides a very notable few like scholar Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe whose extensive and exhaustive writings on the pogrom and Biafra is out there; Oguchi Nkwocha as a vivid witness who consistently maintained his ground on the status quo in evaluating and studying the ominous consequences of the pogrom; Emeka Amanze whose movement is quite revealing on a sorry state of the Igbo nation and lessons learned during the pogrom; M. O. Ene’s unrelenting effort and the book Jaundiced Justice, and most recently an inspiring novel Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who wasn’t yet born during the said conflict, no Diaspora Igbo has emerged to author an analysis regarding the atrocious nature of what the Islamic Jihadists deliberately did to the Igbo people in a “premeditated and diabolical act” programmed to wipe out the Igbo nation from the face of this planet.

The Diaspora Igbo intellectual’s inability to deal solidly with home-abroad realities is characteristic of the peculiar failure of the Igbo intellectual and so also is a failed leadership back home resulting to being compelled to give up and quieted in exchange for cash and other treasures by gangsters who overnight hijacked and destroyed every aspect of Igbo ideals. Since the Igbo intellectual has been flattened and cannot deal adequately with a hijack of Igbo ideals on moral grounds by a group of imbeciles and thuggish elements who are now thriving on a confused and chaotic Igbo nation, the option left for the Igbo intellectual becomes obvious which is ultimately succumbing on the basis of being vulnerable and gullible.

A situation like that is a dangerous one especially in a society that is still on its path for a structure required to make the availability of social programs a basic as in all civil and organized societies. It is only in banana republics checks and balances are negated to track the records of public office holders; and the trouble of the Igbo intellectual, in this case, is abandonment of responsibilities because the Igbo intellectual is no longer interested on the welfare of the people supposedly to be guided, thus relying heavily on individualism and bent on a selfish gain based on what his surroundings are feeding him.

The following statements are typical confessions one hears constantly from supposedly Diaspora Igbo intellectual: “Look, our mates are now running the show in Igbo land and they are chopping. I have no choice than to join the bandwagon.” “Did you hear he has been appointed as assistant to the local government chairman? I just spoke to him on the phone not too long ago and he was full of life because he is now chopping, talking big and things like that.” Or “I have been dreading in this country for too long with nothing to show for it but bills and all kinds of troubles including my marriage which seemingly is heading to Splitville. This country has been a nightmare. I have to go so I can join the chopping class… Naija money still dey nyafunyafu… make I go join them before the scramble and grab is over. Make you dey there now.” Even, “In Nigeria you are served like a king with the women kowtowing and you can have as many women as you wish, and as long as your pocket is loaded you’ve got it all, and that’s the way it goes.” And listen to this, “I am building a castle.”

Yes, of course, the castles on dusty alleys with no street numberings, serfdom, servitude, coercion and prostitution and all that amoral in this modernity for a people who once were top notch in utopia and republican ideals in an about face paved way for ndi gburu ozu, the money bags who destroyed every aspect of Igbo values and cultural relativism. It is hard to believe running into an Igbo intellectual is like meeting a generation of airheads who have no clue the importance of determining their contribution to creation and why they are in this universe, in the first place. It is also disturbing that the Igbo intellectual from every scope rejected Igbo values for materials not necessary in establishing a profound leadership based on the concept of how it all began when our forebears had the vision of what the Igbo should be in today’s society.

The pragmatic and egalitarian Igbo envisioned by Michael I. Opara, Mazi Mbonu Ojike, Francis Akanu Ibiam and other great Igbo visionaries of the time which was drawn from the Igbo guardian and the days of the Igbo Union, and its principles of making the Igbo nation the best it could be to parallel the Western Hemisphere in all standards of social programs and infrastructures distressingly vanished overnight because the Igbo intellectual succumbed to the ways and means of Omemgbeoji 1 of Igbo land, the societal nouveau riche whose elevation to prominence is questionable and whose socio-economic status shouldn’t have arrived had the Igbo intellectual been firm keeping his composure and principles been respected for the fact the social programs are all out there for all and sundry to see as evidence of good leadership; and as beneficiaries of a sound socio-cultural and political order, no question, the sudden eruption of empire and an ensuing anarchy wouldn’t have also arrived.

Under normal circumstances, such titles as Eze Igbo Gburugburu should be done by merit based on community service – building of schools, offering free education, equipping the libraries, providing basic amenities (water and light), providing healthcare by way of dispensary facilities, abundant food by helping farmers through some kind of subsidies and creating many other provisional social programs including parks and recreation. And as a result of failed leadership, the young intellectuals have been asked to take over the mantle of Igbo leadership. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the 2000 World Igbo Congress Convention held in Dallas, Texas, speaks:

I am now an old man. I have done mine. I have not seen who will take that baton from me. I was 33 years when I did it. That the old did not agree to hand over power is not true. Come and take the baton. If we refuse to give it to you, grab it by force. You Igbos abroad are the window of the world to us. Don't turn your back on anything Igbo. Come and join. Our time is gone... My people, I will not lie to you. We came from home, we laugh and embrace, but I can tell you that big rain is falling. Our land is not good. Our condition is like a war. Nobody loves Igbos. The person who is scared of you will not love you. But we are not loved is Nigeria's problem not ours. If they love you, it is good. But the greatest is to be feared. We want to be feared.

But what can be expected of the young intellectuals when the old intellectuals such as Okenwa Nwosu who runs the Physician Omni Health Group in Maryland write articles that do not reveal the issues of their own political and cultural history? What can be expected of the young intellectuals when Kevin Osondu, the first black man, I repeat, first black man to earn a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo way back and nobody knows much about him? What can be expected of the young intellectuals when the old ones have lost every sense of purpose in keeping the Igbo ideal intact for generations to come? What really can be expected of the young intellectuals when a confused bunch of old intellectuals parleys with demonic gangsters in the likes of Orji Uzor Kalu who in broad day light took Igbo assets hostage and courageously on the humbleness of a paralyzed Igbo intellectual, got away with it? And what can be expected of the young Igbo intellectual when the old Igbo intellectual has shown nothing other than have outsiders in the likes of Nowamgbe Omoigui write its history while Appalachian State University political science professor Emmanuel Ike Udogu is writing on Nigeria fiscal economy and political compromise in Nigeria in the Twenty-First Century: Strategies for Political Stability and Peaceful Coexistence and photo journalist Ike Ude writes on Style File: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed?

For some reason, while combing through Ude’s new book, I decided to give him a call to find out what drove him into writing a book on style and furthermore to find out a little bit about him. Ude was born in Okigwe and grew up in several Northern cities before the Civil War. After the war his parents relocated to Enugu where his father worked for the Nigeria Railway Corporation. He sojourned to the shores of America in the 70s and began what would be a long journey. In Style File: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed, Ude, without a doubt, displayed a symbol of excellence on style of which he eloquently illustrated the fifty-five people in this world he mostly admired and considers to be stylists in their respective rights. Ude’s work, an impressive list which includes a handful of designers like Oscar de la Renta, Christian Louboulin, Carolina Herrera, John Galliano, Barnaba Fornasetti; journalists in the likes of Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley and Hamish Bowles; and photographers such as Coreen Simpson, Francesco Scavullo and a touch to the Motown look. Ude’s work also includes celebrities and the creative types ranging from perfumer Frederic Malle and actress Isabella Ferrari to burtesque dancer Dita von Teese. Malian-born photographer during the colonial era, Seydou Keita, made the list, too. Sculptor Andrea Logan, vintage couture dealer Didier Lindot, and London-based fashion designer Amechi Ihenacho whose 18th Century outfit graced the pages with biographical datas.

In all the occasions I spoke with Ude and in my attempt to pick up some understanding regarding his awareness toward a failed Igbo leadership, his interest in anything Igbo seemed to have waned and for the record he never talked back to me in Igbo despite my approach in many instances where I spoke Igbo fluently. As the case has been, Ude’s taste for style and perhaps neglect of his cultural heritage may be two different things and as a matter of choice, but a society whose cultural background is lost definitely has no place in history.

In any society and as in the case of Diaspora, it is the intellectuals who come to the fore as the molders and shapers of what is now vital and relevant in terms of social, cultural and political opinion. It is the intellectuals who give form and content to mass liberation movements that change society. It is the intellectuals who, because of their déclassé position, can see objectivity and clearly which way class forces are actually moving or aspiring to move, and which classes are advancing or retarding that advance. It is the intellectuals who detect and resolve conflicts in its community by recommending patterns from around which such problems would not be repeated again.

To be Continued.