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Posts Tagged ‘Bahati Books’

The report of African migrants trying to reach Europe is a daily news item. Many as we know and see frequently in the news meet their deaths in the Mediterranean. According to the International Organization for Migration, many others are being sold by traffickers into slavery in Libya, including for sex, for as little as $200, while others still are killed and their organs harvested for sale in the booming human organ trade.

Many young Africans find that after having paid human traffickers in the hope of finding a better life in Europe, they end up being held hostage by their traffickers who exploit them and their families, turning the dreams of a better life into a nightmare.

The International Organisation for Migration says slave markets and detentions are becoming increasingly common on the illegal migrant routes as criminal gangs cash in on what has become a very sad situation.

According to IOM’s chief of mission in Libya, Othman Belbeisi, selling human beings is becoming a trend among smugglers as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger. In his words, “Migrants are being sold in markets as a commodity” at a going rate of between $200 and $500” .

While some migrants sold this way managed to escape, many wallowed in captivity for months before being bought free or sold on. Others die and are unaccounted for and many among them are Nigerians fleeing harsh economic situation back at home or simply chasing the myth of greener grass on the other side.

The reality is that for many young people in Nigeria, the ultimate ambition in life is to go abroad. And the exodus has been on forever. There is hardly anyone who does not have a relative or someone who has “checked out.” In the late ‘80s and ‘90s there was a massive brain drain of Academics and professionals following the collapse of our educational institutions, and the persecution of perceived pro-democracy activists by the military dictators who held sway then.

The brain drain continues even today. You see it in the long queues of visa applicants in foreign embassies. I still have vivid memories of the crowd of rowdy, sweaty applicants in a zigzag queue, I saw on my first visit to the UK Visa application centre in Abuja close to a decade ago and how very willing they appeared to endure any kind of manhandling in their quest for a visa.

Such is the value placed on obtaining a visa that it is often a major prayer point in churches and a good course for testimonies. This obsession very easily turns into desperation. Many short-term visa applicants have absolutely no intention of returning. Some on student visas do not honour the terms. They live illegally in the shadows abroad, many getting deported, or jailed. These stories of the fate of their compatriots do not stop those who intend to seek the West’s presumed greener pastures, as the risk is considered one worth taking.

The denial of a visa or deportation does not stop the determined Nigerian immigrant nor does the fear of the dangers associated with migrating illegally. As long as there is a chance of success, no matter how slim, there will be willing people. This has resulted in the growth of what is today an industry of powerful people and their agents, feeding off the gullibility and desperation of young people in the guise of helping them reach their dreams of a better life abroad. These issues form the theme of my new e-book, ‘My Mind Is No Longer Here’ recently published by Bahati Books.

We have read of people who faked travel documents, of folks who braved life inside airtight containers sailing across the sea, of stowaways in the wheel compartment of international flights. We are also quite familiar with the malaise of human trafficking, of young ladies who either by coercion or by choice, are taken to European cities to work as prostitutes and the daredevil journey to Europe through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert and the stormy waves of the Mediterranean.

The UN’s International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in 2016 warned that the trafficking of Nigerian women to Italy by boat was reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe. About 3,600 Nigerian women arrived by boat into Italy in the first six months of that year, and more than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution in Italy and across Europe, the IOM said.

We need to stem this tide. Many of those who make this trip do not know any better. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the Nigerian government’s agency set up in response to the situation can only do as much. While we continue to clamour for a better deal from the government in terms of the state of the economy which is the ultimate solution to the crisis, we must also step up advocacy and public campaigns targeted at young people on the dangers of falling prey to criminal traffickers.

This is one issue where ideas are needed. It concerns us all because, in small instalments, our country’s future is disappearing…never to be recovered again.

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Yipeee!!! Today, finally my ebook, My Mind Is No Longer Here was release by Bahati Books.

The book is available for purchase Amazon and on the popular Nigerian ebooks platform, Okadabooks app

And as part of the launch, I did an article here for TRUE AFRICA on the general theme of the book.

Someone who has read it said they really liked it.  Buy, enjoy and do share what your thought about it.

And yes, a print version is in the works for all you print book lovers. Just watch this space.

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nze

Since 7 December, The Pigeonhole has been serialising Mother Never Sleeps, an anthology of new african writing put together by Bahati Books in  daily digital instalments delivered straight readers’ devices via the Pigeonhole iOS app, Android app or web reader.

My Story The Confession ,one of the stories in the anthology and is up today.

Hurry now and download The Pigeonhole app on iOS and Andriod to read for free. You can also read on the Web reader here. Its free to sign up.

Do drop a comment to let me know what you thought.

 

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This piece was written in commemoration of #BlackHistoryMonth 2016

I first became conscious of race and the history of black subjugation while watching the screen adaptation of Alex Haley’s 1976 classic novel, “ROOTS” on NTA, Nigeria’s leading television channel. I was seven or eight. In those days, television time on national broadcasting stations was limited so it was a special feeling to be invited by my dad to watch this programme which had become at the time, a favourite for many families in the neighbourhood. I am grateful that he did. I was so enraptured by the story and the experiences of the main character – so much so that I hardly referred to the programme as “ROOTS”, rather, it was “Kunta Kinte” to me. That show broadened by understanding of identity and black consciousness.

Before then, we had sang during morning school assemblies songs which pledged solidarity with the black struggle against apartheid and segregation in South Africa. We often donated with our meager lunch allowances to the “Free Mandela” efforts, of which Nigeria was at the forefront. We had also been taught about colonialism, of our country once being under the rule of white people, of how Nigeria won its independence on 1st October 1960 from Britain, a story that welled in me a sense of national pride. Nothing however brought all of these experiences – slavery, colonialism, apartheid and racial segregation, to life as much as “ROOTS”.

I remember feeling hurt knowing that what I was watching was not fiction, but an experience lived by people who look like me. I remember how I would lie in bed after each episode, mentally rewriting the script and changing the plot to enable Kunta Kinte’s escape. In my mind, he would succeed in his escape attempts, and he somehow returned to The Gambia as a free man. My young mind could not understand why one group of humans would subject another to such treatment. It made absolutely no sense and for many years, images of a defiant Kunta Kinte in chains, being whipped and forced to accept a new name was etched in my memory.

Many books, movies, and news stories later and I still struggle to grasp this history: not so much the past which I cannot change but the present, which point to the fact very little has changed in a system characterised by racism and prejudice.

Read the full article here

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bahati logoSo yes, its done. I am excited to announce that I am now a Bahati Books author. Today, in a series of tweets, I was unveiled as the latest member of #TeamBahati. The publisher will be releasing my debut novel later this year as an ebook. A print version is planned and will be released shortly afterwards.

Bahati Books is an eBook publishing company that aims to bring to global readers captivating and well written African literature by African authors. See more about this innovative and forward thinking publishing house here. Follow them on twitter @bahatiBooks and like their facebook page here

In signing onto Bahati, I am excited at exploring the potentials of digital technology in telling stories especially in Africa. I am convinced that digital is the future and even-though we might not be there yet,  there is a steady move in that direction and I am happy to be among those to herald it.

Whats the novel about? Well not so much details now (I am superstitious like that lol) but just to say the work  is very much engaged with issues of migration and trafficking and the pressures that influence the decision  of  young people to ‘check out.’ Bahati

Following the announcement, my profile is now listed on the sites ‘author page’, do check it out. And while you are at it, I am pleased to also inform you that I have a brand new short story “The Confession” published on the site which you must hurry now to read.

Tweet me @nzesylva and let me know what you think of the story.

So now the count down to the release. I cant wait!

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