The power of the spoken word cannot be overemphasized, and no, it’s not about religion or anything of that nature, it is about reality and the experience we all must have been familiar with.
If you believe verbal abuse exists, then you believe words are powerful.
Words do not just pass through our ears, and then the nervous system for interpretation and action, they also go to our hearts to alter its state, for good, and sadly, or evil.
Our stories as Nigerians and ultimately, Africans need to be told by us, without adulteration, and while movies, music, and visual arts are contributing their quota, we need to use the Spoken Word medium to pass this message across.
The grand finale of Poet and Spoken Word artist Titilope Sonuga‘s #OpenWithTitilope series ushered us into a not so popular experience in this part of the world. With a blend of soft music, beautiful flowery decoration and dim lights, Titilope told the peculiar stories of Nigeria and its peoples.
From the tragic cases of the missing Chibok School girls, and the 53 Buni Yadi boys murdered in cold blood by humans, adults, meant to protect and care for them, to the so close, yet so far experience of a 9 year old hawking in the middle of a busy highway while another sit in the comfort of an air-conditioned Mercedes Benz, playing Candy Crush on her iPad, Titilope challenged her audience to seek social justice and equity.
She told our stories of resilience, family, community as the musicians serenaded the audience – an ambiance best experienced than described.
Titilope launched into the depths of the human heart to reveal our common fears, pains, struggles, urging us, with her words to live above them… one day at a time.
Words should be used to inspire, and Titilope used them well in that regard. The audience was challenged to think, to dream, to be courageous and brave, to never remain in rock bottom, but see it as the perfect place to start building.
Some days, like she said, the only courageous or bravest thing you do, is to get out of bed, but you keep pushing – one day at a time – striving, listening, ready to surrender to the dictates of your God, and to act on what is revealed….
…. So that centuries from now, when the archaeologists shake the dust from your bones. Let them wonder about this thing called courage, when they rearrange each part of you, hold you piece by piece against the light, give them something to marvel at. Let their history books say, here lies a wo(man) who knew that fear is just a growling animal with no teeth.
P.S: The above quote is a line from one of her poems.
Photo Credit: Eniola Abumere (@abumeredotcom)