When I was 10 years old, there was a girl in my class who I was quite certain at the time that I could give my life. So I wrote her a lovely poem over a weekend; I wrote the poem on Friday and finished it on Saturday. And it was, if I may say so myself, a work of sheer genius.
It ended with the dramatic words; “your warm embrace may be the last desire of my heart before I die!” I tucked it in my school bag and looked forward with a heart filled with love for Monday, to present to the object of my affections.
My mum, while cleaning out the bag, found the letter, and all hell broke loose. Needless to say, she beat the poetic genius out of me that terrible afternoon. But that’s not the end of the story. True love as you know, will survive even the worst brutality.
So, I bore my injuries as a worthy suffering. On Monday morning, I found the best opportunity to give her a freshly written version of the poem. I turned away as she took the letter, I didn’t want to behold the sheer pleasure as she read it but as I turned around, I noticed that she had actually handed the poem over to the teacher and she was pointing at me! While my physical bruises have healed from that experience and what happened with the teacher, my capacity for writing romantic poetry greatly diminished.
Fantastical Futures is the audaciously inspirational theme of the 8th edition of Ake Arts & Book Festival. Why do we in today’s world, dare to hope for a future so fantastic that it is described as fantastical?
Imagine the failure to recognize the responsibility of the individual, especially the gifted individual. Does the artist have a responsibility to society beyond that of the ordinary citizen? Is there a civic tax payable on talent?
Does the fact of your genius place upon you, a m0ral burden to attempt to use the powerful voice of your art to fight for the soul of the land, especially to fight for the soul of the land from whence you came?
To take m0ral positions, are you by virtue of your intellect and creativity a m0ral agent? Or are you not? Can you be neutral? Can you be politically neutral? Can you in the face of so much that needs to be done, poverty, deprivation, and injustice, stay politically neutral?
Can Africa afford to have its best talents wearing halos of political innocence and saying “let us leave politics to the scoundrels?” Earlier this year, the government established the Technology and Creativity Sector Working Group.
The group meets to work on policy, including rules and regulations regularly. So, we do have now, a policy group, who takes into account the sorts of views that Creatives may want especially in formulating policy and that is so for persons of technology as well.
Lastly, did you enjoy this story I told earlier? It was fiction. It didn’t happen. It is possible to create the future we want. We just need to “write” and work for a fantastical future! Have a great Sunday everyone.
*Osinbajo delivered the speech while declaring open the 8th edition of Ake Arts & Book Festival on Saturday.