Celebrating World Poetry Day | “Rubrics of My Enchantment” by Uzor Michael 


To celebrate the international Day of Poetry, here’s the winning poem from member, Uzor Michael, on the occasion of our club inauguration in Federal University of Technology Owerri, on 29th September, 2016.

Rubrics of my Enchantment

By Uzor Michael
Whispers of my lost charm

Sift through the thick cloud atop my yam barn

A rendition of discordant tunes

Forcing through my mind a calabash of runes

Of painted malice of my past and present
If only I had known

Alas! My gloom builds a room for me

A lonely room in my mud hut

How I longed for her companionship

If only she knew
I listen. Yes! My ears are awake

To a distant lullaby

Thinking the beautiful hymn to be hers

My feet set to work, dancing.

I dance, and dance.
Oh! The essence of my enchantment

You make me sing when all else is quiet

Your smile, a revelation of starry nights

Oh! My peace amidst chaos

Rubrics of my enchantment.
As I stroll to the farm

The grasses remind me of your fertility

The birds, your freedom

The swift breeze, your gentle caress on my skin

You set the path straight and I walk unharmed
Teach me oh my beloved

Set straight this chaos in my heart
Make me bold to say

My unending confession in hay
Take me by the hand and lead me

Yes lead me, for you are my enchantment
If words mean anything to you

Then hear me say them

You are the oil that adorns my roasted yam

The vegetable that saturates my oha soup
I still hear that distant tune

My heart echoes your voice
Yes! You are my rubrics

And I’ll follow you all the way.

In-House Writing Contest v6: “From February With Love”


​In-House Contest Version 6!

Our In-House contest is a little way we ensure that the writing never ceases. Follow the discussion of this contest and topics on twitter, facebook, and instagram with the hashtags #ROAinHouseV6 and #FromFebruaryWithLove 

  

Welcome to the 6th Version.

You remember February and you think of the fourteenth, and then you think of a name—Valentine—which makes you think of love. Then you think of cherubs with red-tipped arrows, heart-shaped chocolate boxes; a slow waltz on a silent evening with your lover, a meaning sacrifice by a friend, or a simple family meal. You think of a lot of things. We want you to tell us what you think of when you remember February. And if it is not a love story, or about St. Valentine’s gift, or about cupid’s arrow, it’s okay. Tell us still. 

This version is themed “From February with Love”

This version offers you the liberty to choose the topic you write on under the given theme for each category, and this has officially become the way to go with subsequent versions. Apart from this alteration, contest rules remains the same. 
Contest Eligibility:

You have to be African, an active or passive member of Route Africa, and have identified with a Route Africa activity unit in order to participate. To become a member, click here.

 

Contest Rules:

No simultaneous submissions. No multiple submissions.

Submissions can be made in person to our Chief Editor (Phone: +2348136659798), or email to routeafricamail@gmail.com.

There are 12 categories for the contest, and contest submissions must be made in the format described below:

Category 1: Best Review of African Literature on Wattpad

Task: Considering that wattpad is dominantly consisted of young teenage readers who respond more to socially-friendly pieces than professional work, write a review of an African book that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 and Maximum of 2000 words.

Note: Review must be written on wattpad, on the user profile of the author alone, as a fresh story with only one part. The winning story gets included in a new collection series by the wattpad community profile for the Route Africa activity unit, Meet Africa Initiative, and in addition, receives a Route Africa Seal on its cover page. Still in addition, if the review is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners, and a possible publication in established online literary magazines too.
Category 2: Best Spoken Word Poetry Piece

Task: Write and enact a poem that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: The written work should have a minimum of 1500 words and a maximum of 2000 words.

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV6 Spoken Word Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our Spoken Word in-House Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.
Category 3: Best Fiction Piece

Task: Write a Fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 3500 Words and Maximum of 5000 Words

Note: Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 4: Best Non-Fiction Piece

Task: Write a non-fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. ”

Word Count: Minimum of 3500 Words and Maximum of 5000 Words

Note: Non-Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 Non-Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 5: Best Flash Fiction Piece

Task: Write a flash fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 400 Words and Maximum of 700 Words

Note: Flash Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 Flash Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 6: Best Poetry Piece

Task: Write a poetry piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Verse Count: Minimum of 3 Microsoft Word A4-size pages and Maximum of 4 Microsoft Word A4-size pages (12pt font size; Times New Roman) 

Note: Poem must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 Poetry Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Indicate the poetic form employed on the body of the attached poem. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 7: Best Written Play

Task: Write a play that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts

Note: Written play must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 Written Play Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 8: Best Play-let

Task: Enact a play you’ve written (or one someone else has) that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Script Length: Minimum of 4 script pages and Maximum of 6 script pages

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts 

(Choice of act or script is at your discretion)

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV6 Playlet Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Play Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.
Category 9: Best News Coverage

Task: Cover recent news (not older than 3 weeks) focused on a topic that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word count: Minimum of 1500 Words Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The News Piece must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV6 News Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 10: Best Review of African and Non-African Work

Task: Write a concise review of an African book that depicts the theme of this contest’s version.

Word Count: Minimum of 2500 Words and Maximum of 3000 Words

Note: The review should be written and posted on goodreads.com with the goodreads account of the author of the work. Winning review will be included in a new Route Africa series published on our blog, centered on winners of out in-House contest Reviews. In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.
Category 11: Best Blog Post

Task: Write a Blog Post on the topic that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 Words and Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The blog post should be written and posted on the blog site of the author of the work. Winning posts will be reblogged on our blog, and be compiled for our “Blog Posts of the Year” at the end of the year, where featured authors will receive an award price (an appreciation for continuous writing and the beauty of the blogging art). In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.
Category 12: Best Interviews

Task: Conduct an interview with a young African and get him/her to answer a question that depicts the theme of this contest’s version, in light of his/her business start-up.

Interview Length: Minimum of 7 minutes and Maximum of 10 minutes.

Note: The written piece of the interview (if any) should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV6 Interview Submission”. The interview must be caught on camera, and the video should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Interview Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.
Contest Prizes:

Grand Prize: A chance to get your work published by an established online literary magazine.

Other Rewards:

Chances to be on the watch list of established personalities in the African Literary world, who have affiliations with us, and be announced by them.

Enlisting your work in our special collections of exceptional work.

Membership with a fast-growing literary community of youngsters in Africa.

 

Runner-Ups: The beauty of Route Africa’s in-House contests is that Everyone’s a Winner. Runner-ups will comprise of all the works that did not win. How do runner-ups win as well? They win by receiving a chance to redo (if necessary) their works, and have them published on our blog once redone as one of our regular blog posts/pieces.

 

Judges

Our judging panel consists of a carefully selected group of readers, and winners are chosen by popular opinion among these readers.

 

Deadline:

Each version of Route Africa’s in-House contest runs for a three-week period. Version 6 runs from 0900 hrs, GMT+1 Monday, 27th February, 2017 to Monday, 20th March, 2017.

Submissions will only be received for version 6 within that window. Any submission after this time will be ignored.

Contest winners will be contacted the following day, as well as runner-ups.

 

♥♥Good luck guys, and may the best writer win.♥♥
POWERED BY OUR CURRENT PUBLICATION, PUBLICITY AND MENTORING PARTNERS: MOOFYME.COM & IRENOSEN OKOJIE (TWITTER LINK

Bring Back Our Reading Culture | Highlights of The Efficient Reading Skills Workshop in FUTO 

by Ndukwe-Nwoke Chiziterem
Millennials (also known as Generation X) are persons born between the 1980s and the 2000s. They have been known to be the truly digital generation. A lot of advent and inventions that have been made in the information sector (social media, messaging, internet content interactivity) has occurred during – and has mostly been due to – this time period.

Today we have facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, and a continual and rapid discarding of information as plain text. This has dropped appreciation levels for the written word, and hence, people would rather watch a movie about The Great Gatsby than read the timeless classic by F. Scott Fitzgerald; they would rather have a snapchat or instagram story or a periscope feed inform them about a natural disaster or a terrorist attack than information on Times or Guardian or Vanguard (even if the information is sharing the same digital space as the video stories or feeds they run to).

Nobody is condemning this action. It is simply a call to any who hasn’t yet observed and known this—the times has indeed changed, and methodology to approach things must with it. News companies now incorporate strategies like Eye-Reports to cater for the desire to have a smart-phone recorded video story or feed be the source of news. Radio presenters have tilted more towards facebook comments and tweets to engage their audiences on their shows than the traditional phone-ins. It is everywhere—reading culture is dwindling, or rather, drastically changing.

In Africa, where effective education is scarce, and phone companies that produce low-budget smart phones as their business strategy (Infinix, Tecno, Innjoo, etc) have made into their biggest market, this lack, or inadvertent negligence, of reading poses a much greater problem. Africa is in dire need of persons who would not only catch up with the western world in R&D (Research and Development), but will overtake them and build Africa into a fierce economy. When we have Africans who aren’t reading and depend on those 1% who can afford education in diaspora to come home and perform magic for us, then, regrettably, Africa will remain the pity case for the western world. So, it is obvious there is a need for the efforts to get people to read in Africa is far greater than these efforts elsewhere.
This millennial syndrome – pardon the coined term – of preferring images, gifs, memes, videos, to text can only be solved if there is an efficient way where these texts, no matter how lengthy, can be treated the same way the videos, gifs, memes, and still captivating images are treated. The answer is speed reading.

Now, this is not speed reading as you may picture it, but instead, a scientifically-providential means to have a person appreciate long texts as he does a movie by comprehending fully and reading faster. There’s a lot to be said about how this is possible, and how efforts have already been made, and are still being improved upon to make this experience work for everybody, but this article is not about it. To learn more about speed reading, visit readfaster.com .

The Reading Revolution in Africa Project, RRIAP (a movement founded by Festus Azarah) 

is dedicated to seeing Africa through in this respect. Since it began full operation in 2012, the movement has approached secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria to introduce speed and efficient reading to students, and as well, motivate them to read and research more. 

The latest workshop conducted by RRIAP was in the Federal University of Technology Owerri, which was done in collaboration with Route Africa Writers Organization, FUTO (the FUTO club for Route Africa Writers Organization, a non-profit organization for emerging African writers) on Saturday, the 28th of January, 2017. 

The workshop, tagged The Efficient Reading Skills Workshop and campaigned with the hashtag #ReadRevFUTO, was graced by World-renowned researcher on Space Neuroscience and author of over 200 books, as well as proponent of the Igbo Heritage as Mediators of Yahweh, Academician Prince (Dr.) Phil Njemanze,

Academician Prince (Dr.) Phil Njemanze giving talk on “Igbo, Mediators of Yahweh”

who spoke extensively on his controversial and game-changing research and findings on the Igbo Culture (See this YouTube video for an interview with him where he explains this) and challenged participants to read wide and see joy in research. The event also hosted Dr. Uchenna Uwakwe, 

Dr. Uche Uwakwe giving talk on Positive Writing Culture

coordinator of Read to Write Right movement and staff adviser of Route Africa FUTO. Mr. Festus Azarah

Mr. Festus Azarah conducting the Reading Training

gave his workshop training on speed reading, and the event was wrapped up really nicely with a challenge to partipants to purchase the speed reading software introduced on the event day, read wider, and not accept limits. 
Other highlights of the day was an introductory speech by Route Africa’s founder, Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke, 

Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke giving talk on Route Africa titled “Speak”

titled “Speak” where he challenged participants to always use their voices, and not be silent on matters. Route Africa member, Stanley Ekpegbue

Stanley Ekpegbue doing Spoken Word

 gave a moving spoken word performance, Book promotions was done by Emizon Group‘s founder, Emma Ekeke,

Emma Ekeke (owner, Emizon Publications) doing Book Promotions

and finally, people left motivated, and pumped to bring back our reading culture. Not an African cry alone, but a global one indeed.
The event was anchored by Route Africa member, Okwuosa Chidike, an up-and-coming rapper and songwriter.

Okwuosa Chidike anchoring the event

Here are other photos from the event:

Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke (Route Africa founder) and Oyim Theresa (reporter, De Lumen Press FUTO)

(Route Africa Founder with Oyim Theresa, Reporter from De Lumen Press FUTO)

L-T-R: Chioma Ginikanwa (Route Africa Vice President), Dr. Uche Uwakwe, and Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke

L-T-R: Chioma Ginikanwa, Academician Prince (Dr.) Phil Njemanze, and Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke

L-T-R: Dr. Uwakwe, Dr. Njemanze, Chioma, and Chiziterem

Mr. Festus Azarah and Dr. Uche watching a video presentation by by Les Brown

Dr. Njemanze and a section of the Participants

Event being live tweeted (Hashtag #ReadRevFUTO)

Engaged audience during Mr. Azarah’s training

Interactive session with Dr. Njemanze

Dr. Uwakwe reading out of his poem collection, The Headmaster’s Resonance

Dr. Uwakwe and a captured audience

An engaged student

Another engaged student

Chiziterem and a listening audience

Event Sponsors: The Literacy Company, MISSL, NIFES FUTO, De Lumen Press FUTO, Daniel’s RecipeQube Technology, Insight Media, Deezey Media, and Ugraffix.

In-House Writing Contest v5


In-House Contest Version 5!

Our In-House contest is a little way we ensure that the writing never ceases. Think NaNoWriMo, but not in 30 days . . . all the time instead! And all the genres available as well, and best of all, rewards of special publications and publicity for contest winners.

Follow the discussion of this contest and topics on twitter with the hashtag #ROAinHouseV5

 

Welcome to Version 5. People make New Year Resolutions. Many see them to fulfilment, others try at them consistently and fail, the rest find themselves too weak to bring to achievement what they have promised themselves. Our resolutions range from decisions to turn from vice and do better to having more love in our hearts, to never let go of a virtue or of a loved one, to become more philanthropic, to embrace knowledge, to finally pursue that dream, or simply, to say “sorry” some more. 

In this version, we want you to express resolutions made for 2017 (either yours or someone else’s, if you’re privy to that) in literary form. What you’re required to do for all categories is to write a journey of seeing that resolution through 365 days of 2017 — whether hampered by hurdles, failed at, or succeeded at — and then returning to January 1, realizing the events in your piece are either a dream, a trance, a revelation, time travel, prophecy, or some other scientific/mystical means that has been known/suspected to speak of the future. 

This version is themed “This Year’s Prognosis”

Unlike previous in-house contest versions, this version offers you the liberty to choose the topic you write on under the given theme for each category. Apart from this alteration, contest rules remains the same. 

Contest Eligibility:

You have to be African, an active or passive member of Route Africa, and have identified with a Route Africa activity unit in order to participate. To become a member, click here.

 

Contest Rules:

No simultaneous submissions. No multiple submissions.

Submissions can be made in person to our Chief Editor (Phone: +2348136659798), or email to routeafricamail@gmail.com.

There are 12 categories for the contest, and contest submissions must be made in the format described below:

Category 1: Best Light Review of African Literature on Wattpad

Task: Considering that wattpad is dominantly consisted of young teenage readers who respond more to socially-friendly pieces than professional work, write a review of an African book that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 and Maximum of 2000 words.

Note: Review must be written on wattpad, on the user profile of the author alone, as a fresh story with only one part. The winning story gets included in a new collection series by the wattpad community profile for the Route Africa activity unit, Meet Africa Initiative, and in addition, receives a Route Africa Seal on its cover page. Still in addition, if the review is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners, and a possible publication in established online literary magazines too.

Category 2: Best Spoken Word Poetry Piece

Task: Write and enact a poem that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: The written work should have a minimum of 1500 words and a maximum of 2000 words.

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV5 Spoken Word Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our Spoken Word in-House Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.

Category 3: Best Fiction Piece

Task: Write a Fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Note: Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 4: Best Non-Fiction Piece

Task: Write a non-fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. ”

Word Count: Minimum of 3500 Words and Maximum of 5000 Words

Note: Non-Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 Non-Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 5: Best Flash Fiction Piece

Task: Write a flash fiction piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 400 Words and Maximum of 700 Words

Note: Flash Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 Flash Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 6: Best Written Poetry

Task: Write a poetry piece that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Verse Count: Minimum of 3 Microsoft Word A4-size pages and Maximum of 4 Microsoft Word A4-size pages (12pt font size; Times New Roman) 

Note: Poem must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 Poetry Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Indicate the poetic form employed on the body of the attached poem. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 7: Best Written Play

Task: Write a play that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts

Note: Written play must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 Written Play Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 8: Best Scripted Play

Task: Enact a play you’ve written (or one someone else has) that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Script Length: Minimum of 4 script pages and Maximum of 6 script pages

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts 

(Choice of act or script is at your discretion)

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV5 Playlet Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Play Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.
Category 9: Best News Coverage

Task: Cover recent news (not older than 3 weeks) focused on a topic that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word count: Minimum of 1500 Words Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The News Piece must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV5 News Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.
Category 10: Best Concise Review of African and Non-African Work

Task: Write a concise review of an African book that depicts the theme of this contest’s version.

Word Count: Minimum of 2500 Words and Maximum of 3000 Words

Note: The review should be written and posted on goodreads.com with the goodreads account of the author of the work. Winning review will be included in a new Route Africa series published on our blog, centered on winners of out in-House contest Reviews. In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.
Category 11: Best Blog Post

Task: Write a Blog Post on the topic that depicts the theme of this contest’s version. 

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 Words and Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The blog post should be written and posted on the blog site of the author of the work. Winning posts will be reblogged on our blog, and be compiled for our “Blog Posts of the Year” at the end of the year, where featured authors will receive an award price (an appreciation for continuous writing and the beauty of the blogging art). In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.
Category 12: Best Interviews

Task: Conduct an interview with a young African and get him/her to answer a question that depicts the theme of this contest’s version, in light of his/her business start-up.

Interview Length: Minimum of 7 minutes and Maximum of 10 minutes.

Note: The written piece of the interview (if any) should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV5 Interview Submission”. The interview must be caught on camera, and the video should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Interview Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.
Contest Prizes:

Grand Prize: A chance to get your work published by an established online literary magazine.

Other Rewards:

Chances to be on the watch list of established personalities in the African Literary world, who have affiliations with us, and be announced by them.

Enlisting your work in our special collections of exceptional work.

Membership with a fast-growing literary community of youngsters in Africa.

Runner-Ups: The beauty of Route Africa’s in-House contests is that Everyone’s a Winner. Runner-ups will comprise of all the works that did not win. How do runner-ups win as well? They win by receiving a chance to redo (if necessary) their works, and have them published on our blog once redone as one of our regular blog posts/pieces.

 

Judges:

Our judging panel consists of a carefully selected group of readers, and winners are chosen by popular opinion among these readers.

 

Deadline:

Each version of Route Africa’s in-House contest runs for a three-week period. Version 5 runs from 0900 hrs, GMT+1 Wednesday, 11th January, 2017 to Wednesday, 2nd February, 2017.

Submissions will only be received for version 5 within that window. Any submission after this time will be ignored.

Contest winners will be contacted the following day, as well as runner-ups.

 

♥♥Good luck guys, and may the best writer win.♥♥
POWERED BY OUR CURRENT PUBLICATION, PUBLICITY AND MENTORING PARTNERS: MOOFYME.COM & IRENOSEN OKOJIE (TWITTER LINK).

In-House Writing Contest v4 Winners


We’re happy to once again announce the winners of our in-house writing contest v4 themed “Of Christmas”.

Contest was held in 12 categories and a good number of entries were received within the 3 week space the contest ran. Our judges took a good look at the entries and returned these names as the winners of this version’s contest (only 2 of 12 categories are represented here, and this is because entries for other categories were insufficient to make out a winner):

Best Short Fiction: “The Made List Checked Twice” by Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke. 


Best Flash Fiction: “Christmas with the Okoyes” by Thea Onyekwuo. 

Both winning entries have been published on reputable African literary blog, moofyme.com. Click on the entry titles to read. Do well to share and comment on the entries. 

We congratulate Chiziterem and Thea for their participation, and bid them success for the upcoming v5.

To find out details about our in-house contests, click the link below:

Version 1
Version 2 (Rio 2016 Olympics) 

Version 3 (A New President)
Version 4 (Of Christmas)
Expect a more exciting v5, and remember, writing never ceases. 

….birds and bridges! 

How to Make an Engine That Runs on Voices, or Route Africa’s 2016 in Review | Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke | An Essay

How to Make an Engine That Runs on Voices,

or Route Africa’s 2016 in Review



There’s a wise proverb that says “from small beginnings comes great things.” No one knows who said it, but whomever it is, he’s the greatest, most ubiquitous prophet that has ever lived.


January:

To hear the lark begin his flight,

And singing startle the dull night,

From his watch-tower in the skies,

Till the dappled dawn doth rise.

~ John Milton’s “L’Allegro”

The seeds of what would soon become Route Africa were planted in the mind of Chiziterem, our founder. It is easy to make him out to be this saviour for all emerging African writers who are yet undiscovered; students, majoring in stuff they aren’t as passionate about as they are to penning their emotions and imaginations down. It’s a far cry from this. What happened to him, happened to us all; still happens to us all. It is summarized in one word: voice.

Voice – the innate desire to be heard and portray our self-image to build self-esteem and be happy – is the dichotomous centre of the emerged and the emerging writer. The hunt for voice will drive any person, no matter how much restraint he or she may offer, to go lengths, shift way of life, take up new religions, bleach, admit to LGBTI, purvey niftiness for craft, or become so famous people would kiss the very feet upon which he or she walks. Disregarding it is amusing the gods of futility. This natural instinct to want people to hear you out – at least hear, before broaching approval – is what Chiziterem harnessed, and coming together with a few friends, decided to explore.

Let’s call it an anthropological insight into the heart and desires of the unsung African writer, or, becoming increasingly pissed off that some people write stuff and people shout praises of their names all over the earth, and then other people do, and their parents say to them, “you won’t concentrate and read your thermodynamics textbook, and leave this story book nonsense. Nobody reads these days. There’s no future in becoming a writer.”

And so, vigour fades, visions blur, desires wane, and talent dies…dies until what’s left of it is laughable. Writing is made out of being a way of life — a phenomenon akin to inhalation and exhalation of air — and is made into being about money. There has been no writer who has ever lived who pursued money first, before the fun and joy of writing, thus leaving a legacy, who has had his or her name written boldly in the annals of time. Do a thorough research, and good luck proving this wrong.

Chiziterem, who had at late January spoken with Michael, Chioma, and Chidike about his desire of doing something about the African writing community, had gently awoken in them that voice. And their voices, synchronized, cried one singular cry: “Oh, how we’re academic misfits.” Truly, yes, some more than most, others not at all, but the African student writing community is made out of academic misfits – a photography blogger at heart studying chemical engineering, a news reporter studying transport management, a fiction novelist studying petroleum engineering, a talented thespian studying soil science. And this had to change.

A lot had to change. People had to wake. Not just writers. But the entire academic system predominant in Africa. People needed to appreciate the relevance of the arts more and more. They needed to see that there’s a beautiful, aesthetically relevant life that awaits the art enthusiast. Even more so, the art enthusiast who had seen past that art-science dividing line, and had come to understand that there is no art student or science student; there is simply an exciting interplay of the varieties in life, expressions of scientific discovery, and the learning of them. And who best to scream this eye-opening understanding to the African who does not know (and the rest of the world indeed) than the African writer, no matter what kind?

And so, the lark begun his flight.


February:

one loves form only

and form only comes

into existence when

the thing is born.

~ Charles Olson’s “I, Maximus of Gloucester, to You”

Meet Africa Intiative revisited.

Meet Africa initiative is the precursor to Black Kit, which was eventually renamed to Route Africa. Shortened as MAI, the initiative was started by Chiziterem the previous year as a way to awaken this voice amongst African writers on the writing social site wattpad.com. MAI’s aim is to get African writers on wattpad to contribute to efforts to make African works more popular on the site. Efforts made to drive home this vision among wattpadders, as they’re called, bounced back. And this was because wattpad was a global community, and made up mainly of person whom Chiziterem might never really meet in person.

Chiziterem had, since conceiving the idea of doing something within the student community, plowed through barriers and developed correspondence with Brittle Paper’s Ainehi Edoro, Obinna Udenwe (Satans and Shaitans), Irenosen Okojie (Butterfly Fish, Speak Gigantular), and Pearl Osibu. He pitched the idea before them, and in concordance with the subliminal message his failure on wattpad gave him, he knew he was approaching things from the wrong direction. No one grows outside in. Growth (and success) is, and shall always remain, an inside out phenomenon.

So, what more? In this month of love, he began planting seeds in the hearts of friends, friends of friends, not allowing his plans of building his “writing empire” as he’d call it any more succinct than a chameleon in defense, but not being so cryptic that people did not get his message: do not ever shy away from the smallest selfish excuse to bring pen and paper to bed.

The most amazing thing about form, about existence, is that it is an unhinged concept. There is no defining it. This is not to say that it is nebulous and therefore, incomprehensible, no. It is like Schrodinger’s Cat: It is and takes definitiveness when observable and measurable. Else, it is (pardon the nerdy physics terms), a sea of potential mush, like the Higgs field. Observation and measurement of form begins in description. If you can describe it, then you have observed it, and then you can measure, and describe even further. The beautiful art we make in our day, the relics and antiques, and museum collections that tell our history, the technology that continues to enhance our perspective of what really is possible, our invested afrofuturism, these things are, because they can be described. And the world depends on the writer to do the description.

The carrying of a message at the tip of the writer’s ink.


March:

A plant in the world is an event, a happening, an arrow, and not a boring, bearded development.

~ Osip Mandelstam’s “Journey to Armenia”

A kit is a group of pigeons in flight. The homer pigeon was used in times past to carry messages from person to person because of its migratory patterns in flight. A black kit is a set of black homer pigeons carrying messages from a place to another. A black kit is a set of black homer pigeons carrying the message of blackness from a place where there is blackness to another place where there might be a different shade of blackness, or to another place where there isn’t blackness at all.

Blackness.

Preparing for church and spending a copious amount of time adjusting the gele. The pin, the right amounts of them, must go through the right end of one fabric on the thick headscarf and end up on the other right end of the same headscarf. The buba must be worn properly. Church is a family thing, and passively obligatory.

Sitting on the desert floor, hijab on all the time, you and your girlfriends, learning from dusk till dawn ornate and adorning skin art.

Washing your hands, sitting on the low stool, guiding the itching limbs to the eba or fufu or amala and ofe nsala or ewedu so that the rumbling stomach may rest from duty.

Ogene, not gongs. Juju, not pop. Dashiki, not cashmere suits. Okpu, not fedoras. Gruff accents, and even gruffer inflections on our colonial tongues. Shuku, not cornrows. Omugwo.

Greeting elders once you meet them, receiving permission to speak in a gathering with elders, child training as a family affair, marrying the family, taking chieftaincy titles, sacred respect for nature, the strength in the dance.

Exploration of who one is and what identity really means is key to knowing oneself. For the African, it is going back to roots. It is not being archaic, and at the same time, throwing light to the ways of our forefathers. When you put the message in the tightly clenched claws of the black homer pigeon, what do you write? What do you say? How can you inform, and perhaps entertain, the recipient? What are the armaments of your information?

Riddle me this: who is the African writer without the African?

And so, the seed to discover who the African is planted itself, and its quick growing stalk became intertwined in Chiziterem’s quest to awake the hidden voice in the emerging African writer.

April:

BRUTUS There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;

Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat,

And we must take the current when it serves,

Or lose our ventures.

~ William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3”

Many came to mind, but few were called for they were chosen; not by man, or camaraderie, or a mere smite of desire to scream together with our voices, no. The choice to choose bestows upon the chooser not a simple task. Resolving the difficulty riding shotgun with this undertaking only came about when the right socio-psychological device – an innate, nature-given algorithm that sorted talent from will, and showmanship from educability – took over the mantle of choosing. A device so paradoxically simple, its conceiver could only be omnipotent. Choice. Choice did the choosing. Choice offered to twenty-five young individuals, whether or not they would partake in making history, in engraving their names in the sands of time, in taking a chance, a wild goofy, liable-to-implode-sooner-rather-than-later chance.

There weren’t twenty-five offers alone. But then, twenty-five risk takers humoured Choice, some more than most, a full-spectrum of reasons driving the risk-taking — some wholesomely benign, others mildly self-serving — but twenty-five yesses, nonetheless.

A tide on the affairs of these ones had been taken at the flood. And the tide rises still till this day. The moon is full, and the sea currents are in full attention. The billows these tides erupt amplifies the voices behind them. The voices that had been muffled ever since.

The twenty-five positive replies to the SMS text sent on the twenty-second was the first seal to the success story that is Route Africa. Chiziterem smiled. And then he planned the first meeting.


May:

Anyone who sees in his own occupation merely a means of earning money degrades it; but he that sees in it a service to mankind ennobles both his labor and himself.

~ A. Lawrence Lowell (U.S. Political Scientist)

Sixteenth of May began it all officially. The twenty-five met, twenty-one students of the Federal University of Technology Owerri, and four others from ABSU, UniLag, ESUT, and Madonna. Twelve in physical attendance, expositions rendered, talks done, agreements reached, first documented structure derived, elections held, leaders chosen, portfolios given, food and drinks shared, photos taken, a vision bought.

Black Kit had found form. It was alive. It kicked. Its heart beat. The occupation to write and never stop, learn literature, arts and culture, of, from, and about Africa, and never stop, teach others and never wary, recruit other risk-taking choice-indulging screamers and never tire, speak, sing, vocalize, and prattle on about we and never stop, be inventive and innovative (as true students of passionate endeavours are wont to doing) in ways to spread our vision to the rest of Africa and never be myopic about it, began.

We saw ourselves as birds. African birds with ink and a message, or more.

And this we are.

June:

Building a team organization requires leaders to be knowledgeable as well as inspiring. They should understand the nature of productive teamwork and feel a passion for creating it.

~ Dean Tjosvold (American Psychologist and Author)

First the crawl with the belly feels nice– a lot of fun. But then it starts being hurtful, and then you see enchanting things you like a good distance away from you, and it is not static. It is in motion and you want to reach it faster. But there’s still this central pull on you to the floor, partially immobilizing you. You don’t want it anymore, so you take the offensive, you push away. The belly leaves the floor, and falls back. You push again and you gain some extra height in how far the belly lifts away from the floor. You realize it’s not just the job of the belly– the hips and knees want to do work too. The third lift, fourth lift, sixteenth lift, and you discover exactly what they want to contribute to the effort. So, the seventeenth lift, and you let them do their thing. The hips wriggle and bend, the knees plant firmly to the floor. With the lifting motion, something new, something so novel it changes entire visual perspectives of the world around you, happens. You feel smaller, but taller at the same time. The connection with the ambience of terra firma loosens. Centre of gravity changes, slight contortions occur. You’re on your knees, and it’s exhilarating.

But the motile prized possession is still ahead of you. It’s a challenge, but you feel more equipped to the task now. There’s a potential manufactured by your new form now, and it possesses in it so much momentum it takes your breath right out of you. You move because you must. Right arm, right leg, you fall. It’s frustrating and you want to cry. In rubbing the rivulets off, you sight your prize once more, and you choose not to give up, no matter how hard you fall, or how long you may stay down. You return, painfully, back to the kneeling stance, on all fours. Then motion again- you’re wiser now, so right arm, left leg. Hey! It’s working! Left arm–, you fall once more. Twenty tries and you finally achieve the second degree of motion. Right arm, left leg, left arm, right leg. You pick up the pace. But you alert the prize as well to your new-found mobility, and it too, speeds up, away from you.

No way you’re letting it out of your sight. There’s a sensation building inside, newer than the last, more chivalrous than the last. It sports desire, awareness of self, and of the concept of need. It almost takes over you; but you gain control of it. It intoxicates, and somehow, you realize it is not a good feeling to let it all in. You’ll channel it some other way. Your arms starts giving in to mortality– the futility of life. It quakes and weakens, and you’re frustrated once more. Your prize is leaving, fast. Need. You need it. You need the prize, if you must grace the call to existence that tells you you must have faith in the fact that you have to live on, that anything contrary to living will have dire consequences, not on you, but on the people you live for. So, you push need into your arms, and while you pursue your prize, your arms stretch. They lift off the ground and straighten into the distance, magnetized by the power of need, and kept aligned by faith in existence. A number of falls occur once more, but you’re used to it this time. You now know it is a key and fundamental part of said futility of life. You also know that this futile life only makes sense when you’re able to get back up after each fall, and so you do, every time, because you’re resilient, because, need.

Your legs are sturdier now. They learn too. They support better now. Each muscle fiber, and bone marrow, and tendon, and ligament, adapts to their role. They know that the fibers and marrows and tendons and ligaments of other body parts are not like they. They serve their own purposes. And they were doing excellent jobs at it. It only behooved them to do the same. And so, they did. They supported– load, effort, fulcrum, post.

The prize is in view now, right there at the tip of your fingers, and you motion to grasp, to clinch and never let go. You find that your prize, as well as it gave you a good chase, it grew as well, ever away from you. But you have it now, at least the parts of it that were in the beginning. It’s still moving, but the motion now is changed; it’s fused with yours, and it establishes better symmetry as you both move, for the chase has not ended. The growth of your prize makes it, like a never-ending fabric, something to never stop acquiring. You use a fist to take hold of a section and drag it to your coffers only to find that the fabric is even longer. And with each new length comes newer obstacles, newer designs, newer patterns, newer hues, newer textures, newer dimensions.

You’re happy, with yourself, because you have a hold of your prize, and you know you will never stop taking in whatever new it lends you, and you’re appreciative, because you did it, you and all your body parts, working together, learning together, establishing new structures together, recruiting more members, more partners, developing harmony in voice, initiating and engaging new and tested programmes to develop yourself, to compete healthily, to be a unit, a family.

June was the month Black Kit became Route Africa, and learnt family.

July:

No great marketing decisions have ever been made on quantitative data.

~ John Sculley (American businessman)

Ever been to a marketplace? An African marketplace? A truly African marketplace? Then you can appreciate the holiness of the phrase ‘buy, and, sell’. There is give and take in all forms and shades in a truly African market– haggling, pawning, vending, hawking, dumping, window-shopping, shorting, bargaining, pilfering, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-ing. These things go on day after day, season after season, and they bring with them complaints, malice, and even arrests. But they also bring with them new alliances, partnerships, conglomerations, even business syndicates. And through all of these, the people are happy, whether there’s an arrest, or there’s interest. The African marketplace is the business model of all non-profits pursuing community causes as commonplace as better education for the less-privilege, or free dental check-ups for senior citizens twice a month, or a panacean community solution for emerging/hidden writers seeking a voice. Most times you don’t need expertise to navigate its waters; you simply dive in and start trading.

These aspect of Route Africa’s vision became clearer and more concrete– we are a business; our primary product is our club members (student members, and non-student members who decide to participate in club activities); our secondary products are the works written by both club and non-club members for Route Africa; we render services that aid society significantly (educational and literary enlightenment through cradle programmes aimed at improving the vocation of members, and as well, conscious endeavours to announce start-up African businesses through our dedicated activity unit, Perchers); we, like any other business, need partners who would provide publicity, backbone and finances, reach and mentorship for members; we, being an academic entity, had to be fully invested into the school structure, so we must exist as a club with full status in any school, with an academic staff adviser, functioning library (of course), and recognition by said school.

From the foregoing, efforts doubled and tripled, and became more refined, and more to-the-point in conducting business, and it paid off. July brought us partnership with Reading Revolution in Africa Project (a full-packaged effective reading bouquet run and managed by Festus Azarah, backed by MISSL) and Irenosen Okojie (author, Butterfly Fish). Our reach stretched to three more Nigerian universities – Imo State University, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, represented by sole members in each school. We hosted the first version of our in-house writing contest, but most of all, membership was thrown open to the general public. We were in full effect. The cogs on the wheel begun work.

August:

Give me your arm, old Toad;

Help me down Cemetery Road.

~ Philip Larkin’s “Toads Revisited” from “The Whitsun Weddings”

Someone reminisced and said, “there’s mighty chance I go back in time and change a butterfly to a shitting pigeon, and still wind up old, lonely, cranky, and looking out the window wondering if I asked that little girl for one of her oranges, if she would be kind enough to hand me one.”

Okay, the truth is that that had not been said. Until now. It does not lessen its truth though. Life operates with one universal principle, which has been translated, interpreted, and retranslated and reinterpreted in various forms since the dawn of time, and that is “give and take”. But life doesn’t end this law here. The law requires execution in one way alone if happiness must be derived from it – following the principle of ‘pari passu’. Fairness. As well, this principle, duly executed, in more practical instances, exerts strain on a myriad theories of humanity on what goodness is, and how it can be shown, and most of all, who deserves it.

That the question of who is even asked tells that a pollution to the principle of fairness has ruled man’s theories, his religions, his ethical codes, his vast cultures. This pollution has run down so deep into the core of man’s primal instincts that the request is not made any more to have one’s back scratched. It is demanded; more to the point, it is coerced, or even, manipulated and blackmailed out of one. And unhealthiness festers.

For Route Africa to stand, we understood more things. One – a highlight on itself – of them is that we had help getting where we were. We are pro-entrepreneur, pro-have-your-own-stuff-going-on-and-still-be-part-of-us, very much. (When these stuff referred to are literary in nature, it makes up a core value which we uphold. We call it our “fan-out” principle). But being pro– whatever without walking the talk is baloney. We were a struggling non-profit who felt a need to help other start-ups, especially ones run by students. It was hard, but it was not an impasse. It was a shot at empathetic business strategies. Who has ever heard of that?

But we planned a thing, put the thing into motion, and it worked. Two new partner sign ups benefitted from this – Qube Technology (a software graphics design outfit), and Aristotle Photography (a photography enterprise), both run by students. Their successes aided us to blow our doors to any form of technical partnership with any start-up that sees a future with a not-so-financially-stable non-profit organization for emerging African writers with a voice.
September:

Black is a sacrament. It’s an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.

Nikki Giovanni (American Writer and Activist)

Nikki Giovanni, born in 1943, is American poet, essayist, and lecturer, whose work reflects her pride in her African American heritage. Her poetic language and rhythms reflect jazz and blues music, and she is considered a leader in the black oral poetry movement. She would say she is a woman, black, and polite. She more than understands the essence of blackness, of being proud of African origins. She lives it, and breathes it. She showcased it.

September was for showcase.

Route Africa, on the twenty-ninth, was officially inaugurated. A feast of literature it was. It was not the Aké Arts and Book Festival, or the Man Booker Prize award day, or even some prestigious book reading by a famous author. It was a day to be proud. A day of reveling in the simple joys of reading a book out loud to an audience and discussing it, ruminating over it; of allowing spoken word poetry entrance you and transport you to kingdoms where emotions had arms and feet, and could talk and give advice; of taking part in active, impromptu writing, pulling down psychosomatic hindrances that wish to put asunder between pen and paper; of discussing Africa, and the relevance of blackness, of the future of our stories and how we must become shrewd custodians; of unity in voice, our screams, echoing in oneness across lands, one iota of note at a time.

The grounds of Federal University of Technology Owerri took notice of us. We had gained good traction in making our presence known locally, as much as we’ve been going after the international front. We could now beat our chests and say, yes, when we approach a new local, remote, village school, we will not be ashamed, or discouraged, to announce ourselves, for their hearts it is we are meant to touch.

A gladness as well lay in the fact that our partners were fully invested in this dream of ours to touch all manner of hearts. A kind signing of an excerpt of her book Butterfly Fish and approval to use free of charge for the inauguration by Irenosen Okojie, and a coverage of the event by moofyme.com, went distances to pat us on the back, “well done, we’re behind you.”

Our appreciation brought forth the tiny art-appreciation concept, #ROAlovesAfroLit where members create art (literary, or non-literary) to appreciate the blessings in Africa, and the blessing that is Africa.

And so, the message is: Black is a sacrament. Performed gracefully, whole-heartedly, and even when it will not seem like a victory is coming, the resilience and comradeship and brotherhood in the mix will lift your hearts, will fill you with joy, will give you reason, always, to voice.
October:

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

~Alfred Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

The first half of a two-month controlled experiment. An experiment in persistence. Persistence in duty, in making sure the wheels on the bus go round in unison. Unison in purpose. Purpose, which in infinitesimally quantized time intervals can be indeed widely different between two individuals who profess to pursue a common goal. The common goal to be studious, and available, whenever called upon, to perform a task necessary for the good-functioning of this engine our voices had built for nine months now. Nine months, for each wheel, riddled with some manner of aloofness as to what the engine really required them to do. Deeds which now must be individually sought out, and comprehended, as that which pertains the one wheel is very unique and peculiar, and different from that which pertains the other. But the other, and the one, they seem to always drift apart, in purpose, and it would seem as well, that the common goal isn’t really common after all. Common is overrated. Rate common with these: “I must write and not stop, and in not stopping, I learn to write better.” “If I am an executive wheel in this bus powered by the engine of our combined voices, then that simply means I am accountable, and must be up and doing– a true steward of the prompting of the voice.” “If I have not been bestowed with a portfolio, but find that I’m a wheel as well, it means one thing alone– I must move. Else, the bus shan’t. And if I must move, I must keep at it, and know that portfolio is just a different tyre colour. A wheel is always just a wheel, and what is needed of the one wheel, is as well needed of the other.” “I am here to help others.”

Whatever is done within these frames of thinking is a step in the right direction. Doing it repeatedly and without slacking or grumbling, is persistence. It might be weakened by time and fate, but with a strong will, it stands.

We stood.
November:

I have known him come home to supper with a flood of tears, and a declaration that nothing was now left but a jail; and go to bed making a calculation of the expense of putting bow-windows to the house, ‘in case anything turned up,’ which was his favourite expression.

~ Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield”

Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield has the right idea. Part two of the experiment in persistence was a sub-experiment in optimism.

Route Africa had begun planning Reading Revolutions Reading Workshop to hold in FUTO the next year. Route Africa’s pool of financial donors was absolutely not a dime a dozen. School break. Students drift apart. Meetings held virtually alone. Participation waning. Hope never looked stranger, for the situation was that beautiful structures were in place, most in motion already, but structure holders were not only in scant, but the few available got lost more and more in side attractions, and the lure to regard voluntary causes ebbed for them because they seemed to take so much from you and not give back.

Viva persistence. And spirit.

And the power of few.

Hard work, and a determined refusal to let go of the panacean vision of Route Africa in the hearts of a few triumphed in the end. The experiment ended. Persistence prevailed. And though the vision our voices had drawn up continually seem far-fetched and grossly unobtainable, faith in us, in what we want to become, in our African doggedness, saw us through eleven months, and has kept on ever since.


December:

There are those who believe black people possess the secret of joy and that it is this that will sustain them through any spiritual or moral or physical devastation.

~Alice Walker’s “Possessing the Secret of Joy”

December is the month to experience joy, fulfilment, but most of all, to be gracious and thankful for the year you have had, the blessings you have received, and do good unto those whom you have harmed. ‘Tis a season to be jolly. For Route Africa, this season was explosive. Some would say it is a result of the secret joy of the black man’s heart. But that joy is no secret. It is as clear and as evident as the rising sun, or the tree on the hilltop. It is no enigma as well. You know it, and revere it, because it is one thing: the product of persistence borne out of dogged optimism. It is not fake. You can’t manage to feign it if you can encounter it. It swells from the inside. It gives you song, and dance, and love. It turns the grouch into a merry bard, and the grump into a cheery raconteur. And in its expressive magic, comes testimonies; because like attracts like after all, and a joyous heart attracts the most fruitful harvest.

The hearts of all the wheels in our bus must have blossomed unstoppably with joy, for we harvested, plenty.

With a praised publication of the inauguration event’s contest winning story and good reviews received in moofyme.com, the extending of reach to the University of Benin and Igbinedion University, the gain of 100% club status in FUTO, the launch of our SoundCloud Podcasts programme, our coaching programme, the commencement of our in-house lectures, and a full game plan on how to co-host the Reading Revolution Reading Workshop in January of the next year, and a road map for 2017, the transition from finding our optimism again in November to a December with testimonies couldn’t have gone any better.

Our touch on the wattpad scene returned as well, with members with renewed fire in spirit, ripping through the site to find out ways they can help, and notable wattpadders knowing of our existence with plans to work together in the coming year; this vital conquering front couldn’t be more active.

Blooming partnerships to be tidied up by the next year, a full embrace of our “fan out” principle by members, a heightened interest by non-student emerging African writers, financing strategies and willing financiers, promises to gain full-fledged club status in other schools with singular membership, an expected transition in leadership to go in the record books and spice up our history; the future surely does hold bright for Route Africa.

A full year from small beginnings to a luminous future, our voices are now alive. They speak, and can only grow louder. What was a speck of an idea has become a moving engine: the panacean community for emerging African writers. The bridge for African birds with ink and a message.

And what is all these to you? It is a simple message. One nobody should ever stop preaching: Don’t ever quieten your voice.

Speak.

 


 

Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke is a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from Federal University of Technology Owerri. He has been writing for 9 years now, and has a novel he’s working on. You can find his work on InspireCrib. He also writes on wattpad.

When he’s not writing, he’s watching a movie, singing, or doing a soundcloud podcast for Route Africa.

He is the founder and  president of Route Africa.

Testimonials From Our Members

Some time ago, right before our inauguration, a handful of Route Africa members made videos of themselves, speaking of why they joined Route Africa, what Route Africa is doing for them and their literary goals, and where they hope their journey with the organization would take them to in the near future. Route Africa founder and president, Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke, narrated a short version of our start up story. 

In case you missed our inauguration where these videos where first viewed, we’ve gone ahead to upload them on YouTube for you to see yourselves. 

Here are the videos, seven of them:

From Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke (founder) on how we started:

From Ekpegbue Stanley:

From Queen Arekpitan:

From Chima Okeke:

From Egbuna Michael:

From Precious Eke:

From Ifunanya Igwe:

If you want to be part of this, it’s easy. Follow this link ( https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSco7-houhLMfpLAdiOsP-orTDs761jcA8soEb7vdOhi40mdUA/viewform ) fill the form to become part of the fast rising community of emerging African writers that is Route Africa, observe your stay, then make your own video and mail to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line: “ROA Testimonial from <your name>”

For you all who take time to read our blog, many thanks for being part of our story. 

In-House Writing Contest Version 4: “Of Christmas”

In-House Contest Version 4!

Our In-House contest is a little way we ensure that the writing never ceases. Think NaNoWriMo, but not in 30 days . . . all the time instead! And all the genres available as well, and best of all, rewards of special publications and publicity for contest winners.

Follow the discussion of this contest and topics on twitter with the hashtag #ROAinHouseV4

Welcome to Version 4. In this version, we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, with our pens first. Themed “Of Christmas”, this version presents recognizable and easily relatable elements of the Christmas holiday and the Christmas spirit, and we get to write on them, in whatever context we choose. The flexible nature of this version allows space for more creative thinking, and a splendorous array of fun, interesting, engaging stories from all participants. It’s gonna be a jolly good, colourful, ride, as has been since auld lang syne. 

Contest Eligibility:

You have to be African, a registered member of Route Africa, and have identified with a Route Africa activity unit in order to participate. To become a member, click here.

Contest Rules:

No simultaneous submissions. No multiple submissions.

Submissions can be made in person to our Chief Editor (Phone: +2348136659798), or email to routeafricamail@gmail.com.

There are 12 categories for the contest, and contest submissions must be made in the format described below:

Category 1: Best Review of African Literature on Wattpad

Task: Write a review on wattpad of any already written story by someone else other than you that reminds you of the word “Boxing” as it relates to Christmas.

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 and Maximum of 2000 words.

Note: Review must be written on wattpad, on the user profile of the author alone, as a fresh story with only one part. The winning story gets included in a new collection series by the wattpad community profile for the Route Africa activity unit, Meet Africa Initiative, and in addition, receives a Route Africa Seal on its cover page. Still in addition, if the review is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners, and a possible publication in established online literary magazines too.

Category 2: Best Spoken Word Poetry Piece

Task: Write and enact a poem that reminds you of the word “Carol” as it pertains to Christmas.

Word Count: The written work should have a minimum of 1500 words and a maximum of 2000 words.

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV4 Spoken Word Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our Spoken Word in-House Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.

Category 3: Best Fiction Piece

Task: Write a short fiction piece that the words “Saint Nicholas” inspires, as it pertains to Christmas.

Note: Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 4: Best Non-Fiction Piece

Task: Write on the topic “Origins” as it pertains to Christmas.

Word Count: Minimum of 3500 Words and Maximum of 5000 Words

Note: Non-Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 Non-Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 5: Best Flash Fiction Piece

Task: Write a flash fiction piece that the word “Grinch” inspires, as it pertains to Christmas.

Word Count: Minimum of 400 Words and Maximum of 700 Words

Note: Flash Fiction work must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 Flash Fiction Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 6: Best Poetry Piece

Task: Write a poem that reminds you of the word “Mistletoe” as it pertains to Christmas.

Line Count: Minimum of 60 lines and Maximum of 80 lines.

Note: Poem must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 Poetry Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Indicate the poetic form employed on the body of the attached poem. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 7: Best Written Play

Task: Write a play that reminds you of the word “Fried Rice” as it pertains to Christmas.

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts

Note: Written play must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 Written Play Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 8: Best Play-let

Task: Enact a play you’ve written (or one someone else has) that reminds you of the word “12 Days” as it pertains to Christmas.

Script Length: Minimum of 4 script pages and Maximum of 6 script pages

Acts Count: Minimum of 3 acts and Maximum of 5 acts (Choice of act or script is at your discretion)

Note: The written piece should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV4 Playlet Submission”. The enacted piece should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Play Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.

Category 9: Best News Coverage

Task: Cover recent news (not older than 3 weeks) that reminds you of the word “Kwanzaa” as it pertains to Christmas.

Word count: Minimum of 1500 Words Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The News Piece must be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com as an attachment (.docx, .doc or .rtf formats) with subject line “ROAV4 News Submission”. Include on the body of your mail a query letter indicating your name, location, and contact details. Also attach a recent photograph. (Click to learn how to write a query letter). Winning piece gets a publication in an established online literary magazine in partnership with Route Africa.

Category 10: Best Review of African and Non-African Work

Task: Write a review of a book already written story by someone else other than you that reminds you of the word “Hanukkah” as it relates to Christmas.

Word Count: Minimum of 2500 Words and Maximum of 3000 Words

Note: The review should be written and posted on goodreads.com with the goodreads account of the author of the work. Winning review will be included in a new Route Africa series published on our blog, centered on winners of out in-House contest Reviews. In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.

Category 11: Best Blog Post

Task: Write a Blog Post that reminds you of the word “Papa Noël” as it pertains to Christmas.

Word Count: Minimum of 1500 Words and Maximum of 2000 Words

Note: The blog post should be written and posted on the blog site of the author of the work. Winning posts will be reblogged on our blog, and be compiled for our “Blog Posts of the Year” at the end of the year, where featured authors will receive an award price (an appreciation for continuous writing and the beauty of the blogging art). In addition, winning works have a chance to receive publicity for their works by any of our established partners, and in turn, have their works referenced in any publication by an established online literary magazine.

Category 12: Best Interviews

Task: Conduct an interview with a young African and get him/her to answer questions about “Purchases” as it pertains to Christmas.

Interview Length: Minimum of 7 minutes and Maximum of 10 minutes.

Note: The written piece of the interview (if any) should be mailed to routeafricamail@gmail.com with subject line “ROAV4 Interview Submission”. The interview must be caught on camera, and the video should be uploaded to youtube on the youtube channel of the author of the piece. The winning piece gets a his video included in a video made by Route Africa, dedicated to his winning piece, included as a video series for our in-House Interview Contest winners. If the piece is good enough, it stands a chance to get a shout out from our established partners.

Contest Prizes:

Grand Prize: A chance to get your work published by an established online literary magazine.

Other Rewards:

  • Chances to be on the watch list of established personalities in the African Literary world, who have affiliations with us, and be announced by them.
  • Enlisting your work in our special collections of exceptional work.
  • Membership with a fast-growing literary community of youngsters in Africa.

Runner-Ups: The beauty of Route Africa’s in-House contests is that Everyone’s a Winner. Runner-ups will comprise of all the works that did not win. How do runner-ups win as well? They win by receiving a chance to redo (if necessary) their works, and have them published on our blog once redone as one of our regular blog posts/pieces.

Judges

Our judging panel consists of a carefully selected group of readers, and winners are chosen by popular opinion among these readers.

Deadline:

Each version of Route Africa’s in-House contest runs for a three-week period. Version 4 runs from 0900 hrs, GMT+1 Tuesday, 6th December, 2016 to 2100 hrs, GMT+1, Tuesday, 27th December, 2016.

Submissions will only be received for version 4 within that window. Any submission after this time will be ignored.

Contest winners will be contacted the following day, as well as runner-ups.

♥♥Good luck guys, and may the best writer win.♥♥

POWERED BY OUR CURRENT PUBLICATION, PUBLICITY AND MENTORING PARTNERS: MOOFYME.COM & IRENOSEN OKOJIE (TWITTER LINK).

Route Africa Launches SoundCloud Podcasts

So, in today’s world, writing with pen and paper seem not to suffice anymore. Platforms like wattpad provide means to convert your mobile phone or tablet (or laptop if you’re old school)  to a typewriter and churn pieces of words away. YouTube was a blessing for spoken word poetry performers…and stage acting (improv, miming, etc). The list of ways literary involvement and appreciation has advanced and integrated itself really well in society today tells of the acceptability of more and more unorthodox ways of creating works of literature. Mobile apps, TV, radio, the internet, are all mighty facilitators of this integration. More people who were skeptical at first are now trying their hands at pieces of writing, of any sort (wattpad alone boasts of 127k sign ups every day. The ongoing NaNoWriMo, in one year’s event alone, creates stories whose words when lined up to each other could stretch from Berkeley to Timbuktu and back). One of those platforms is soundcloud (the YouTube of audio).

Today, podcasts are everywhere, people are talking about everything from all over the place, in their own unique way. And people are listening too. The spread of information is at its highest; and it’s only going to keep spreading. As you might have come to notice, we at Route Africa are all about aiding the spread of that information. But instead, our information; Africa’s information, Africa’s stories, through the minds and lips of young Africans (especially students). This has lead to the launch of our soundcloud platform where member-writers of Route Africa talk about African literature they way they want to. And all you’ve got to participate is tune in and listen, all for free. 

And what’s more brilliant?  All you need to do to get a section where you can speak to as an African writer is to simply register. You’ll be free to share any piece of literature or literature news or gossip or talk you may want to share, in your way. 

And we must repeat this again-in your own way! 

We kick off this launch with a podcast from our President and founder Chiziterem Ndukwe-Nwoke. His corner is “What’s up Writing World? ” and as a starter, he reads out and talks about the take a notable African literary icon had on the results of the American presidential elections. And then, he goes on to read out a poem he wrote on the despair in solitariness titled ‘Solitaire’. 

Here’s the link to the podcast on soundcloud: https://m.soundcloud.com/route-africa/whats-up-writing-world-podcast

So, quit waiting if you’re reading this and require a means to let your voice be heard and be part of a community dedicated to announcing you to the world as well. Join us. Speak. Let the world hear your message and your story. 

If I Were President | By Okeke Chima | Blog Entry for ROAinHouseV3

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were President of a country? Well, Okeke Chima – a fourth year Materials and Metallurgical Engineering student of Federal University of Technology Owerri – has. 

The excerpt you see below is a section of his thoughts. Click the link below the excerpt to read the entire thing. It will leave you with a refreshed vigour to do something about your country. That is the true meaning of patriotism. 

…If I were President.

First thing I’d do is Peirce my earlobes. Crazy right? I don’t know about you but that’s perfectly normal if you ask me?

I’d also surround myself with people who would only tell me the upside of things only, I mean, who likes negativity right? That way I’d keep the negative vibes out.

Like breathing exercises “in with the good, out with the bad, nothing can stop my shine”.

If I were president, I’ll take four months off immediately I’m announced winner just to bask in the feeling of being president. I mean, what’s all the rush for? Especially when I have 4 years, I mean 4 whole years to be here and can always rig my way into seat in the next elections.

If i were President I wouldn’t get to the business at all, not when there are witches to be hunted and dogs to be fed. Come on, you know these dogs put everything on the line to have me on this seat, I’m simply taking care if my own…

Click here to read the entire entry.