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NKATA: Dots of Thoughts
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NKATA: Dots of Thoughts

Author: Nkata Podcast Station

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I often wake up in the morning with thoughts reeling in my head. Thoughts inspired by a conversation with someone; something I read, heard, listened to (music/podcasts), a film I saw, a photograph I made, an essay/poem I wrote, or in broad terms, an impactful encounter. They exist as disjointed, scattered particles I often refer to as dots of thoughts.Thus, this podcast show is an attempt to articulate, to converse and to put in relation these floating thoughts. While it relies on random impulses, the podcast is structured by thought-prompts focusing on everyday issues across space, time and works of life. Though it is not a live podcast, it somewhat mimics this approach in that for every episode, the conversation, which begins as a monologue, evolves into a dialogue through a phone conversation with someone else in another part of the world (a friend, a colleague, relative, expert in a subject, creator of a work, originator of an idea). This ensures a broadening of the thematic and locational context of the conversation as a way of demystifying distances. It is a weekly show intended to be spontaneous (as much as technical requirements and logistics allow). Future episodes will feature intro/excerpts of new music tracks made by me. Other times, it will reference aural materials sourced from different corners of everyday life. It will be freshly served – nothing preserved in the freezer! Listeners are encouraged to join the conversation by leaving a comment on the episode in their preferred platform of listening. Selected comments will be addressed in a subsequent episode.Emeka Okereke (host)Available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, Overcast, etc.
12 Episodes
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In the 12th Episode of Dots of Thoughts, Emeka Okereke reflects on the photographic work of Lebohang Kganye. Ke Lefa Laka: Her-story,  was realised in 2013. It explores the relationship between Lebohang Kganye and her mother, who passed on three years earlier. She employs the techniques of double exposure and superimposition to “re-enter” the life of her mother and to seek out a space of communality between the living and the dead, between the past and the present wherein “she is me, I am her and there remains in this commonality so much difference, and so much distance in space and time”. In reflecting on this body of work, Emeka Okereke writes on Instagram: “I find this series enigmatically powerful. I appreciate the artist’s uncomplicated use of the photographic medium in the bridging of the past and present without closing off the space lost to imperceptible, ungraspable emotions – all of which reinforces the intimacy we can only sense but not necessarily understand.I find myself dwelling on the ambiguous duality captured in this work – reminiscent of the spiritual concept of the holy trinity, but in this case, between a daughter and mother. Yet, I am reminded of the concept of duality, of dependability, of invisibility in the worldview of the Igbo people: where one thing stands, something else stands beside it.”This statement became the prompt to reach out to Lebohang and expound on these strands of thoughts, which is this podcast episode. Listen to Lebohang Kganye as she takes us through some of the thought processes behind the work. In the conversation, she asserts: More than anything, the work also provides a space for therapy and for healing. As much as it is about loss, it is also about celebration. In that navigation of guilt [of loss] is also a celebration of a person. Listen to the full episode on nkatapodcast.com.Also available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Deezer, Google Podcast and over ten other podcast platforms. Follow the podcast on these platforms to get notified when new episodes go live. Use the time stamps to navigate to parts of the podcast. Also, listen to the podcast alongside Lebohang Kganye's website: https://www.lebohangkganye.co.za/Want to join a growing community of supporters and reviewers of the project? Checkout out our Patreon page. Host: Emeka Okereke (Barcelona)Guest: Lebohang Kganye (Johannesburg)Production: E.O Multimedia LTD. Art works: Lebohang KganyeMusic/Composer: Kupesonics/KupeskiSupported by Stiftung Kunstfonds GermanyCreated during the Research Residency Program at The Over | Pol & Grace BarcelonaSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
In this episode of Dots of Thoughts Podcast, Emeka Okereke is joined by Ekow Eshun to reflect on the book, “Africa State of Mind” edited by Ekow Eshun and published by Thames & Hudson. The book brings together works from 52 contemporary photographers from Africa. Fundamental to the book is Ekow Eshun’s intention to “explore how contemporary photographers have presented Africanness and Africa as a physiological space as much as a physical space”.The conversation departs from the book’s periodical marker: all photographic works were made in the 21st century. It would meander across various topics while touching on conceptual considerations in the works of such photographers as François-Xavier Gbré, Hicham Gardaf, Eric Gyamfi and Lebohang Kganye. A recurrent point of consensus is that the works included in the book exemplify how today’s photographers are articulating the complex narrative of African realities. Not only do their work offer a unique yet critical gaze, but it also rescues the photographic medium from its colonial history and deployment. “There is no simplicity or singleness to Africanness”, Ekow says. One might think that this needn’t be said in 2021. This is precisely what this book hopes to achieve: These photographers show that such concerns have become secondary to image-makers of today. “If we say black is beautiful, it’s like these photographers are saying: we must question what beauty means”, Emeka adds. Where are Contemporary photographic practices from the African continent heading or pointing to? This question brings the podcast conversation towards the end while leaving enough room to account for whatever the future holds. Use the time stamps to skip to parts of the podcast. Listen on: https://nkatapodcast.comAlso on: Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Overcast, Deezer and more than ten other podcast platforms. Host: Emeka Okereke (Barcelona)Guest: Ekow Eshun (London)Production: E.O MultimediaMusic: Sir Kupeski DJ.  Supported by Stiftung Kunstfonds GermanyCreated during the Research Residency Program at The Over | Pol & Grace BarcelonaSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
In this episode of "Time Does Not Pass. We, on the other hand, pass through it - and make forms of it", Emeka Okereke (Berlin) is in conversation with J. Redza (Kuala Lumpur). They reflect on the idea of Time in relation to age(ing). This episode can be best described as a "rumination between millennials". Emeka Okereke and J. Redza were born on the same year (1980, Kaduna Nigeria, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) - a coincidence that preceded their encounter in 2006 over the internet. Insofar as they are yet to meet in person, this conversation builds on their relationship forged in the umbilical Time portal sustained by cyber connection. They managed to share what Emeka Okereke called "a communal time-zone" over 14 years. What does this kind of connection mean as we head further into the subjectivist era of the 21st century? What is the foremost millennials' role in bridging the gap between a post-generation and the future generations of the world? What does it feel like to be forty – both as a man and a woman – in our Time? Is forty the new thirty as the younger generation become less conservative and gradually removed from the previous generation's cautious disposition? J. Redza offers a few suggestions for a better appraisal of these thoughts: "We are still in the consciousness place where we are learning how to use the internet. We need to be more conscious of how we use the internet rather than how it uses us". "In many different cultures, we talk about fate, and that there are many circles in life. This I find fascinating. So I don't see things in a linear way.""Despite what you want to do in life or online [cyberspace], the basis is your sense of who you are; it has to be very strong."The conversation rounds up with the need to be grounded in oneself. To be disciplined. And finally to consider that if one has good health, it translates to the wealth of Time. Yet this kind of wealth cannot be saved in a deposit box or a bank account. It is to be used every day – in the present. Host: Emeka Okereke (Berlin)Guest: J. Redza (Kuala Lumpur)Production: E.O Multimedia LTD. Album Art: J. Redza ArtMusic: DJ Kupeski. Timestamps: 0:00: Introduction by Emeka Okereke3:47: J. Redza joins the conversation via Zoom6:29: It's as if we have known each other since childhood: how Emeka and J. met11:40: Creating a Time Tunnel18:22: Life is not linear. There circles of fate, lessons from my parents22:40: How do you deal with the societal pressure of age(ing) and Time?26:36: The Paradox of Age: Keep your childlikeness29:29: Let nature have its way in us: relating with each other and the internet space.31:22: What does it feel like to be forty? 36:52:The Transitional role of the millennials in the 21st century41:52:Success: your sense of sense has to be very strong45:42: The Wealth of Time. 48:41:Living in the Now: an excellent note to end51:20: Outro and vote of thanks by Emeka Okereke. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
"I am looking at Time as an element of art, an element of expression not as a clock or calendar. I am looking at the capacity you have as an individual to define a progression of your existence and your event."In this episode, which continues our reflection on Time, Emeka Okereke is in conversation with Jude Anogwih. It opens with Anogwih's proposition to think of Time as an element, an interactive material for expression and agency. From here on, the conversation takes the form of open-ended questions serving to broaden horizons, while acting as mirrors that do not only reflect ourselves to us but calls for the inclusion of the reflection of others into our views of the future. While the aim is to discuss Time beyond its quantifiable entrapping, there are few pointers in the conversation which serve as support structures for thoughts explored:"The concept of difference, of becoming of multiplicity, of diversity, of equity – these are things that are resonating today. How do we create a society that reflects all and not one?""I am always reluctant [to align with] the idea of "the future". But I am interested in the idea of "future generations" because these are more of minds. How do we shape minds that will understand and accept the dynamics and changes of Time?""Sometimes, we look at the future from our individual myopic reflection; we are not asking ourselves: how do we bring in the reflection of others into that future?""To understand and comment on Time is like trying to embrace the sea or trying to give a full hug to the ocean.""There is a lot we are rethinking: the concept of difference, but also the whole idea of becoming". "This different interactive concept of Time is what I, as anartist, look at. The dynamics of it all; how it defines today, and now and, possibly, the future we are trying to shape."How do we accept what we are not familiar with?""How do we live and thrive in the unprecedented?""How do we create this amazing flower of sadness that will help others to be hopeful, and remind me of where I was and what I want myself to experience next?Listen to the full episode on: https://nkatapodcast.com/show/dotAlso available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Deezer, Overcast, and more. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
We often hear such expressions as "Time passes". "Don't waste time". "Buy time". "Spend time". But, is time quantifiable in the sense we use it? Isn't it a paradox, this inclination to contain what contains us? These are some of the thoughts (and more) foregrounding this reflection on and about time. This podcast is an introduction to a series of conversations aimed at fleshing out thoughts regarding our understanding/reading of time as a non-physical yet uncircumventable component our connectedness. Subsequent episodes will feature guests from different parts of the globe, st each discussing and expanding on specific themes. Follow the conversation on www.nkatapodcast.com/dotAlso available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Deezer, Overcast and more. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
Founded in 1927, Queen's College, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria is part of a formidable legacy addressing the gender disparities between male and female education in Nigeria spearheaded by a group of women who contributed to the founding of this country's first government-owned secondary school for girls.The six years I spent in Queen's College between 1993-1999 formed part of a lifelong lesson in feminism, ambition and mediating between individuals across class, social and cultural differences, in what would also prove to be a network far beyond what I could have imagined as a shy thirteen-year-old walking through the blue gates of my high school campus for the first time. The 1990s, defined by a return to full-blown military rule, a tumultuous time as the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola's democratically-elected president was announced in June 1993, and in 1995 Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other environmental activists murdered by the state. It was under this climate that I began formal secondary education in an institution that would leave indelible marks on my psyche going forward extending way beyond Yaba and on the many global endeavours I have since saught.I had first encountered this school for girls through my family as decades earlier, two of my cousins had gone there. They would often speak so fondly about fellow peers, teachers, principals and all of the goings-on during their time in there, particularly 'boarding house' experiences. In my first two years, I was a day student. Then this was followed by four years of boarding, which, if I'm honest, confused me as I assumed this experience was for people who didn't live in Lagos or, you know, couldn't commute every day. I focus on my time as a boarder because this really was the first time in my life I met young ladies who represented all the different tribal groups in Nigeria, it felt like everyone from everywhere was here. I learned and heard about so many places I had never heard of or only saw on maps. A melting pot of cultures and experience and one that was a lesson in diplomacy and co-existence. Tuck shop, out-of-bounds, Mati Obasa, slabs (a washing area), and one Ju! Phrases that only a QCOG would understand! The stark realities that this was no Mallory Towers but really survival of the fittest, fetching water, washing your clothes and making sure they weren't nicked, sticking to the many rules. Still, indeed there was time for fun (acculturation, inter-house sports, visiting days and exeats!).I and everyone who has and still passes through those blue gates are part of a legacy of female leaders traversing many geographies and built on a vision by a group of women responding to the importance of educating the girl child in Nigeria and beyond. It is no small feat to bear and pass on the torch of Queen's College.Guest: Jareh DasHost: Emeka OkerekeText: Jareh DasCover Image: Jareh DasMusic: Life's Gone Down Low by The Lijadu Sisters. Production: E.O Multimedia LTD. Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
For 25 years, Madam Margaret Opambour-Adjei has run the Afroshop Tropical Markt, in Neukölln Berlin, where she sells foodstuffs, cosmetics and fabrics mainly from West Africa. Originally from Ghana, she migrated to Germany in 1988. In this episode, Emeka Okereke visited her shop during which they discussed various aspect of the movement of African food across borders. “We are quite conversant with the movement of bodies and people back and forth borders in the context of migration – in this case, Africans. But there is another angle to it: the movement of food. Africans have always carried their food with them when they travel or migrate. If there are two luggage allowances [for a flight], it is most likely that one of the luggage will be filled with foodstuff.”Their conversation was a glimpse into her life:The challenges of running such a business in Berlin; the trajectory of the transportation/distribution of African foodstuff and the agents involved. Some of the governmental policies which constitute bottlenecks. Her shop as a Pan-African Space, as a space of conviviality. Her connection with Ghana, her home country. Incapsulating this is the fact that the conversation took place on the so-called #blackoutteusday, and in the same week when many people in the world are protesting under the “Black Lives Matter” banner. While this is commendable, it is crucial to articulate other ways black people are making lives matter - in their everyday lives. The likes of Madam Margaret may not be able to go for the placard-waving match-protest protest in Berlin. But she has kept a business running for 25 years in Berlin – even as the business is frustrated by imperialist-capitalist realities. She Keeps her head up – for herself and those who depend on her as far as in Ghana. She makes "Lives Matter". This podcast is a small attempt to honour her own way of making lives matter.Guest: Margaret Opambour-Adjei (Berlin)Host: Emeka Okereke (Berlin)Text: Emeka OkerekePhotography: Emeka OkerekeMusic: Sir KupeskiGraphic Design: Innocent Ekejiuba,Listen on: nkatapodcast.com/dotSupport the project: nkatapodcast.com/patreon Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
In this Episode, Emeka Okereke (Berlin) connects, through a phone conversation, with Diwas Raja (Kathmandu) – writer, scholar and Lead Researcher at the Nepal Picture Library. Their discussion expands on the intentions and the operative premise of the photography book, "Dalit, A Quest For Dignity" of which Diwas is the editor. The book, which is a Nepal Picture Library Project, "came about as an attempt to create a visual archive of the Dalit experience in modern Nepal."The episode opens with an introduction-style monologue that served to set the atmosphere for the ensuing conversation. It touched on various strands of thoughts related to the ethics and position of photography in (1) ascribing dignity and legitimacy to the oppressed/marginalised peoples; (2) the making of a multi-contextual world. The discussion took, as an opening point, the notion of relating "image-making to world-making" as culled from the introductory text of the book. It then touched on certain tropes upon which the reading and arrangement of the book's content are anchored. A highlight of the conversation is Diwas' point on the need to read photographs beyond the point of view of the maker. Thus, to account for the meaning acquired through relation as it makes its rounds across space and time. Here, it is useful to return to that highly neglected aspect of photography by which it occupies an important place in human relations: the social function of photography. Dalit, A Quest for Dignity speaks of image-making in relation to world-making. Although the images in the book operate in the milieu of the Nepali-Dalit lives, they strive to speak beyond their context. In this case, to ascribe dignity also means to assert a people place in the world without disavowing their locality or localised experience.If a photography book – which looks to address the past, while working in, and with the urgency of the present – should carry within it anything of the future, it ought to consider the place of images in the making of a multi-contextual world.This book from the Nepal picture Library is a significant response and contribution to the challenges of this multi-contextual world-making.Just in case you were wondering who a Dalit is, it's all in the conversation. Take a listenWant to support the project? Check out our Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcastHost: Emeka OkerekeGuest: Diwas RajaText: Emeka OkerekePhotography: Emeka OkerekeMusic: "Little Gestures" by Sir Kupeski DJ. Graphics: Innocent EkejiubaSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
To dedicate a conversation to Tony Allen is to recall the rich history of African Music, unsurpassed wit and creative ingenuity, needful rebellion, activism and truly African artistic inventions and languages through that very melodious, harmonious, rhythmic, soul-soothing art form called music. Much of Africa's temperament, sense of community, sharing, family, humanity and spirituality has been captured and indeed preserved in music. But it didn't stay static. If anything, it travelled at the same pace, if not more, as every slave ship that left the continent to cross the Trans-Atlantic ocean in the 16th century. It preserved itself in the subconscious and the imaginary until it was ripe to let itself out inform of Jazz, highlife, Palm wine music, Funk and eventually Afrobeat. This episode aims to discuss the legacy of Tony Allen from a perspective which takes into account his contribution towards the preservation and dissemination of Afrobeat. Joining Emeka Okereke (host) through a phone call is Jahman Anikulapo. He is a reputable name in the culture industry in Nigeria. He has been an arts and culture journalist since 1987. But in between, he is a theatre director, producer, and manager of numerous cultural projects and platforms. He is well conversant with the work and legacy of Fela Kuti, and he knew Tony Allen personally. They discussed the legacy of Tony Allen given the concerted effort to attach it, and somewhat overshadowing it with, the legacy of Fela Kuti. Their conversation threw light on the achievements of Tony Allen. If Fela Kuti is, rightfully so, the inventor of Afrobeat, Tony Allen – through a consistent, prolific career, boasting a discography of over 70 albums and collaborations – was indispensable in sustaining Afrobeat. That, in and of itself, is a worthy legacy.No foundation can stand without sustenance. No unique identity (as can be attributed to Afrobeat) can fulfil itself without collaboration outside itself.  Needless to say: it takes many trees to make a forestIt is such broader correlations and historical perspectives that are of utmost importance. Listen to the podcast on: www.nkapodcast.com/dotAlso available on: Apple Podcast, Spotify, TuneIn and more... Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
In Episode 3 of Dots of Thoughts (DoT), Emeka Okereke reflects on a book which preoccupied him of late: Festac ‘77. This book, “decomposed, an-arranged and reproduced” by Chimurenga the Cape-Town based Pan African art space/publishers, is a compilation of the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture which took place in Nigeria, in 1977. It was an epic event that Ntone Edjabe, founder of Chimurenga, placed on the same historical pedestal as the Great Pyramid. The Festival brought together some 30,000 black artists and scholars from 56 different countries of Africa and the Diaspora to present, converse and debate African/black art and ideologies. Emeka Okereke (in Berlin) connected with Ntone Edjabe (in Cape Town) via a phone call to discuss the intentions, thought processes and conceptual positions which necessitated the book. Okereke suggested a descriptive premise as “anti-book” evidenced in the book’s unconventional form-content relation. Edjabe expanded on the analogy by referencing Toni Morrison’s Black Book as a significant source of inspiration. Like Morrison’s Black Book, Festac ‘77 set out with the audacious goal to put in book form an “unwritable history and story”. The foremost aim was to “experiment with new forms of writing that can capture the complexity, the epic scale of an event such as Festac ‘77.” A book that would account for the opacity, incomprehensibility, inconsistencies that are the crossroads of any foreseeable (African) unity.“The experiment was not to write a book about Festac. The experiment was to write a book through Festac”, Edjabe inferred.Join the conversation by leaving a comment on your preferred platform of listening. Listen on: nkatapodcast.com, Apple Podcast, Spotify, TuneIn and more. Want to become one of the foundational supporters of Nkata Podcast Station, see our Patreon page: nkatapodcast/patreonSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
Features: Innocent Ekejiuba /Oladimeji Olasoju /Ade Bantu (Lagos, Nigeria)Host: Emeka Okereke (Berlin, Germany).Episode two of DoT is an extension of thoughts explored in episode one. This time, Emeka Okereke connects with Innocent Ekejiuba and Oladimeji Olasoju, in Bariga Lagos – Nigeria. They conversed about the state of things with regards to the present situation. They offered remarkable views, garnished with pointed anecdotes (contradictions, grey areas, “politricks”), of how the everyday person of Lagos, and specifically, Bariga are dealing with the realities imposed on them by the lockdown. “Many people consider themselves as part of the “Essential Services” category because, essentially, that’s what they are to their family and loved ones”, Innocent inferred. While Oladimeji pointed out that no one has yet received any welfare benefits from the government, he was quick to note that the situation has encouraged acts of sharing, kindness, generosity and togetherness amongst neighbours. The masses, churches, and the private sector – not the government – are the real mitigators of this crisis. The entire episode is backdropped by “Disrupt the Program”, the new single from the Nigerian band, Bantu, led by the Nigerian-German musician, Ade Bantu. The song is a vehement rebuke of the government – calling out its ineptitude and abject disregard for the plight of the masses while imploring the people to do more than be social media protesters. Ade would further expand on the motivation behind the realisation of the song; why he chose to make its video in Bariga; the urgency from which this song, brimming with a Fela-Kuti intensity, emanated. What do you make of the different points raised in the conversation?Leave a comment on the episode in your preferred platform of listening. Selected comments will be addressed in subsequent episodes.Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
This debut episode of Dots of Thoughts takes as a prompt an essay I wrote in reference to the notion of social distancing and its many undertones especially in the context of Berlin, Europe where I am currently observing the lockdown. Invited to join the conversation, through a phone call, is Mathangi Krishnamurthy, a colleague and a dear friend based in Chennai, South of India. We ruminated on the nature of social distancing in a densely populated city such as Chennai;  a city where tactile communal interaction is not only important but central to existence. How are people making sense of the viability of social distancing? What does it mean beyond the “one-line mantra for the entire world” as she calls it? How is social distancing understood across lines of class and privilege?What do we do with our time now that we have been forced, albeit for a few weeks, to live in it in ways contrary to our habitual routine?Furthermore, will the world grasp the most needful lesson this crisis presents to us?Join the conversation by leaving a comment on the episode in their preferred platform of listening. Selected comments will be addressed in a subsequent episode.Listen to the podcast on our website, nkatapodcast.com. Also available on Apple podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, Overcast and more. To read the essay from which this conversation sprang, see hereEmeka OkerekeSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nkatapodcast)
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