CASSAVA REPUBLIC PRESS AT 10: NAIJA BRAND WITH A GLOBAL REACH

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After having Jowhor Ile, @FarafinaBooks author on the Classic FM 97.3 #BookOnReview show on Saturday which I anchor with Benjamin Okoh, it was time to look forward to the anniversary party which Bibi graciously extended an invite to grace and on to Colours in Africa we went Sunday and from the moment I stepped out of the car, I saw Caine Prize winner Lidudulaingani in conversation with @deartitilope,  powerful poet of global proportions in conversation and I knew I was in the right place but first a picture to convince my brother at home I knew who they were (Happy now?). Hehehe. How is a girl not to ‘famz’ every once in a while? *winks

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 First things first, believe it or not, I try to not to engage a writer with tales of how much I enjoyed their work as I feel it seems too pretentious and patronizing. I’d rather ask about other projects I know they are involved in and take it from there. And that’s how I and Lidudu started talking about which came first – the writing or photography and ended with his need to keep his sentences short when he’s a panel discussant and Titilope’s look of surprise when I asked how her Intel’s #IAmPowerful campaign was doing and how i found out that Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s Morayo Da Silva character in the novella, Like A Mule Bringing Icecream to the Sun was inspired by her Zimbabwean husband’s 90 year old grandmother who sometimes loves to hear her phone ring out loud rather than pick it up! Lol.

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I met Panashe Chigumadzi, South African author of ‘Sweet Medicine’ who won an award recently for the book and happens to be curating the inaugural Abantu Book Festival and of course she agreed to send me an invitation  to ease my ‘visa application’ process and then @infobuddie zoomed in on me with me holding tightly to my delicious ‘asaro’ made by the superbly elegant @tolueros

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Next stop was Chairman, Etisalat Prize for Literature 2016 judging panel who from my conversation with him agreed to start the sleeping process on the plane after the hardwork of sifting through entries and serving up a delish longlist and then finish it off when he gets home safely to the US!

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Okey Ndibe is a writer and speaker whose journey I have followed for a while and so you can imagine my girly delight when we spoke in pure Igbo and I would need another blog post to explain why my short conversation with him was refreshingly different.

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Can I forget my fellow alumni, Leye Adenle who won the ‘Prix Marianne’ beating out 26 other authors and whose book we will reviewing this week on the show. Leye is a sweet soul and perfect gentle man and I will leave it at that. Benjamin decided to join us!

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Ayo Sogunro has to come to the show with any of his books so that he can help me answer the question he posed about my sexual orientation. Ha!

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And of course @catchoris and Teju Cole were there with their trademark glasses and ‘hats’ and Teju Cole gave a glowing speech about joining the Cassava family and how his recent work, the collection of essays’ Known and Strange Things’ was practically coerced out of him and for that we are grateful. Loving Zukiswa’s hair from the back!

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Not forgetting the gracious @molarawood who took us down memory lane on when she knew Bibi Bakare-Yusuf was going to be a brand to be reckoned with. Ireti Bakar-Yusuf came in her version of events leading up to the creation of Cassava and how immensely proud of Bibi she was and I went awww (*pauses to blow nostrils into clean hankerchief)

And yes I got her to pout!

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This is the most fun I have had in a long while not necessarily because almost the whole of #AkeFest (guests, panel discussants and moderators) was there but because you could feel the love, warmth and respect everyone had for Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (who is verrrry shy but a busy bee nonetheless) Ireti Bakare-Yusuf (the so-called rebel but beautifully intelligent sister) and Cassava Republic Press.

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Bibi & co-founder Jeremy

 

Sarah giving her speech and reading an excerpt from her book, Like A Mule Bringing Icecream to the Sun and yes she nailed the Indian accent!

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And Toni Kan sneaked in too and we got to be in the same picture as the powerhouse herself, Bibi!

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Some up close and personal shots..

Can’t remember what the joke was about but I had to be camera ready nonetheless. Can’t say for Panashe (very warm and likeable personality)

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And finally the elegant @tolueros who dished us delish after delish culinary delights!

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Congratulations from the BM family and may we be there at the golden jubilee!

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