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Writer of the Month: Ofem Ubi for February 2022

I'm delighted to introduce my pick for this month, the quadruple threat-visual artist, filmmaker, photographer and writer- Ofem Ubi!

The Writer

Ofem Ubi is a Poet, Photographer and Film maker from Nigeria. He was shortlisted for and also published in the Deep Dreams Anthology of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize, 2018. He is the first and former Lead Rep for PIN (Poets in Nigeria) Crutech Connect Center.

Ofem seeks to fuse all independent genres into documentation. Presently using film, music, poetry, photography to tell time, archive the present and record events that will serve as catalogue for history.

The Poem

they said a South African killed

a Nigerian named Xenophobia.

my people have found a survival mechanism

a way to fill the potholes in our faces.

they say it’s a black thing

to carry sarcasm around your wrist.

We have made a bonfire off laughter

built our skin to bask in its warmth.

this country is a festival of white teeth.

around here we prescribe comedy for healing

drink each joke like a vaccine;

our alternate orgasm

the calcium that fortifies our feeble

bones for the next tempest.

this is how we unbuckle our souls from the phobia

of untimely death

for at least a late demise is an omen of goodwill.

this is how you live when your hope is beheaded

this is how you dwell in my country

an aquarium of boiling fish.

The Inspiration Behind the Poem

“Bovi” is my favourite Nigerian comedian, hence the title of the poem, which also served as a shout-out and tribute to the Legend.

Nigerians are people who are resilient. It shows in our everyday struggle, how we chose to hang unto the positive side of life regardless of the bad political climate, the micro wars that exist between tribes, religious debacles e.t.c

The comedy industry is a stream that never runs dry because comedians have found a way to create content from the happenings around the people. This helps milk joy from our collective suffering, thereby making it less taunting and more able to deal with. It’s so apparent on Twitter, where everything is an instrument for relief.

This eases the growing trauma and depleting mental health of the people, so much everybody makes a joke, even from their own circumstances, “in a country like mine, what other better way is there to live than laugh at anything built to sink you?”

Disclaimer: "EMC's 6 things" interview series seeks to promote the artist and their featured writing and is in no way an endorsement of any of said artist's services, opinions or other work outside of this feature.


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