22 February 2014

THE ROLE AND BENEFITS OF MOTHER LANGUAGES (For International Mother Language Day)

Guest Writer: Adegbite Adebimpe

Image Credit: all-images
There are many definitions of a Mother Language, otherwise referred to as 'Mother Tongue', but a simple one is “the local language of one’s local or otherwise, indigenous environment”.

Mother Language does not come into question but for the classification of language into other categories such as Second Language (reason because, save for few exceptions, Mother Language is always the first language), Foreign Language etc. Well, languages fall into different categories not because the languages determine their ‘fate’ but because other factors (basically non-linguistic) influence the position and relevance of each language. These factors include: quest for socio-economic relevance, technological progress, and religion, amongst others. It should be noted that language, on a broad note, gives relevance to every individual in terms of status and pedigree. The importance of language can therefore be examined from the perspectives of how it enhances the global status of an individual, or how it aids the optimum comprehension of other languages that enhance such status. All languages, however, preserve the culture, norms and integrity of its original and native users or owners.

21 February 2014


Image Credit: atlanteanconspiracy
Her name is Faiza; she is a Muslim whose life is under threat. She is fleeing her hometown crying for justice, and wondering why the world is the way it is- unjust.

He is a Christian who has been taught that the Muslims have enslaved and dealt unjustly with them because of the ‘tolerance’ of Christianity. They have been taken for fools but no more. They must fight; take back the land. There is only one way to do that- kill.

Her name is Aisha and she is a prisoner, taken from her friends and family, a casualty in the on-going war of beliefs between the government and a sect of extremists. He is a child-soldier, a prisoner, held against his will and forced to partake in the war.

A STROLL WITH ALEXANDER ARGUELLES (For International Mother Language Day)

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart." ~Nelson Mandela

There are so many controversies about the actual number of languages Prof Alexander can speak. Some say 20, others say 40; but from research through You tube videos and other documents online, we can say he speaks and writes in at least two dozen languages.

Now, if you're like me, who is finding it difficult to learn a second or third language, then you'll really appreciate the achievements of Prof Alexander.

He is one of the world's foremost polyglots and has dedicated most of his life to learning as many languages as he can in a very systematic and scholarly fashion. In course of our stroll we talked about language and culture; his language learning skills; and he ‘kind of’ cleared up the controversy on the actual number of languages he can speak--I say kind of because, he's a man of many words and sometimes it's easy for one to lose count while having a conversation with him, but you can find out for yourself, here's our stroll.

20 February 2014

BIRTHING A JUST SOCIETY (For World Day of Social Justice)

 Guest Writer: Toromade Samson

image Credit: pakedu.net
Let’s play a game. I can’t promise it will be fun, but I can promise it is a game. Call your 10-year-old sibling, ask him/her to mention three memorable, acknowledged days in the world. I just called mine (who is actually 12), and he mentioned "Easter, Valentine’s Day and Nigeria’s Independence Day". Christmas is conspicuously absent from his list and I have no idea why Christmas won’t make a 12-year-old’s top list of 'memorable days'. I know it’d make the first three in mine. But I think if I allowed him more than three slots, he’d reach number one hundred without including  World Day of Social Justice.

The first time I heard about social justice was a month ago, and it rang as much bell to me as a deaf person at a rackety Eminem concert. And even though you’d like to question why a deaf person would go to a musical concert, it’s not the focus of this article. A day of nail-biting and furious googling later, I became well-equipped to write an article about it. So, here, I’m going to claim the intellectual high ground and ask you, dear reader, how much do you know about social justice?

A STROLL WITH JESSICA MINHAS (For World Day of Social Justice)

"In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up in a thousand fold in the future." ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

(Image Credit: Jessica Minhas)
Jessica grew up in an environment no parent will wish for their child. One filled with addiction, racism, and curse words, and these in turn had so much negative effect on her mind that at a point she even began to think she was black--no thanks to how Grand Pa treated her. Now all this can set-up a child for a sad, depressed, inferiority complex-filled adulthood right? Well, that's the twist in today's story. Just as gold passes through the heat of the mine to become pure, Jess grew above the limitations of her childhood into an adulthood filled with hope, love, and beauty.

Jessica is a speaker, activist, TV Host and producer specializing on culture and media's impact on women. Her work has taken her around the globe exploring issues such as human trafficking, child labour, medical tourism, youth advocacy, and much more.

Also former Miss Florida USA and 4th Runner-up for Miss USA in 2003; Jessica told me about her passion for volunteering and fighting for justice; and also explained how she grew from the very many ugly things said to her as a child to winning beauty pageants. Here's my stroll with Jess;

13 February 2014


"TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains." ~ Peggy Nooma

When I was 10, I skipped lunch many times and trekked back home from school for two full terms to save up my transport--and to kids out there please don't try this (haha). At the end of the second term I realized my dream. I had saved up seven hundred Naira which I needed to purchase my most desired toy; a 7-band world receiver radio. Why did I love a radio? I don't know, I just loved it, and I was willing to pay the price to get it--and I did.

On the night my dream came true; I shut my room door and carefully opened the carton. After twisting both knobs back and forth for a while, I finally caught a shortwave signal and guess whose voice I heard? Mr Owen Bennett Jones' presenting news hour on the BBC World Service. I was blown away by his diction and the music behind his words. I fell asleep that night listening to Owen, and that became a habit I carried on all through my days in secondary school.

For those who don't know him, Mr. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance British journalist and one of the hosts of News hour on BBC World Service. A graduate of the London School of Economics; he won the Sony Radio Gold Award in the news journalist of the year category in 2008, and the 'Commonwealth Journalist of the year' in 2009. Mr Owen's new book 'Target Britain' is a fiction book set amid the war on terror, and his experience from being a former BBC correspondent in various countries has shaped his career and made him an authority in discussing issues relating to the middle east and other global stories.

We had a stroll and we talked about the radio, his career, the future of Radio in this evolving 'social media age' and lots more. This is a special stroll not just because it's my first stroll in 2014, but also because I'm strolling with Journalism experience as old as me. Mr Owen started broadcasting for the BBC in the early 90s, around the same time I was born. So I consider it a rare privilege to have this conversation with him. Walk with us.

4 February 2014

FIGHTING THE MONSTER: A Personal Recount (For World Cancer Day)

Guest Writer: Adeola Opeyemi 
Image Credit: worldcancerday.org
The Myth

Everyone I know told me I was too young to have breast cancer. It was probably the reason why when I was told I had Ductal Carcinoma in Situ; a stage-zero non-invasive cancer, I looked straight into my doctor’s eyes and told him with all seriousness, that he must be mistaken.

“I am twenty-two...” I stated

“And?” my doctor asked

“I’m too young to have breast cancer or anything remotely close to it. And definitely not something with a strange name. You must be mistaken. Can you run the test again?...”

Everyone I know was wrong and there it was; the inception of a life threatening disease.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? (#Observe: For World Cancer Day)

Today is World Cancer Day. World Cancer Day is a global observance through which we extend people’s awareness of cancer and how to prevent, detect or treat it. This observance is held on 4th of February, each year.

Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century. While there have been numerous advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer—factors that should contribute to the decline of the disease—the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year has globally continued to increase. There were 8.1 million new cases diagnosed in 1990, 10 million in 2000, and some 12.4 million in 2008. The number of annual deaths worldwide from cancer has also increased—from 5.2 million people in 1990 to 7.6 million people in 2008. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 13.1 million by 2030. However, also according to WHO, as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable.

As a result, raising awareness of cancer prevention has become a prominent goal of many cancer and health organizations around the world, and World Cancer Day has come to represent an annual reaffirmation of the importance of this goal.

In honour of this observance, here are the things you can do;

- CALL/ VISIT: Call at the nearest health centre or those on medical missions for your health status. There, interact (if possible) with the cancer patients, and make them aware of the structures in place for their treatment, and hope for a future where cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.