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Saturday, 30 November 2019


By King Solomon Ekhaiyeme

Griots and Bards, a monthly Spokenword, Visual arts and Social Conversation event celebrated its one year anniversary at Thought Pyramid Art Centre, Lagos yesterday. The event, curated by RezThaPoet, a Spokenword Artiste had in attendance Madame Taiwo Ajayi-Lycet, a celebrated theatre artist and writer, as a special guest.

The event opened with poetry performance from Habeeb Ajijola, a Spokenword Poet and co-compere of GAB. The performance dovetailed into conversations about cultural silences that have oppressed young people in society. While a lot of audience members noted that the older generations leverage on culture to bully and silence the younger whether they are right or wrong. Madame Taiwo Ajayi-Lycet, the ace theatre artist, said that every society creates hierarchy in order to preserve order and it is unfortunate that some people use their cultural authority wrongly.

RezThaPoet described Taiwo Ajayi-Lycet as a force that transcends both young and old generations because of her motherly presence and her ability to listen to people irrespective of their ages. He described her as an internationally laurelled woman who is not only an inspiration to women but to creative people and to all Nigerians. RezThaPoet also thanked Thought Pyramid Art Centre and all his partners for supporting the culture initiative for 12 months.

The discourse shifted to sexual oppression between the sexes and the silences and roles of both genders. The discussion was heated and emotion as Alexis, a co-compere and a victim of rape narrated her ordeal in the hands of religious leaders and doctors who were meant to know better. Madam Ajayi-Lycet, who went through the same ordeal consoled her urging her to protect her mind by becoming the best version of herself without being held bound by her past. She also said no man worth his salt and manliness can rape a woman. As an aside, Ajayi-Lycett said that we should all be wary of agendas that oppress masculinity in Africa. She said 'there is an agenda to make men effeminate, to stop men from being confident and groomed for fatherhood, we should be wary of them and discard them with strong force'. Other members of the audience also advocated openness between men and women rather than suspicious, mischief and deceit.

The performance interlude at the event featured alternative music acts, Maka, Tone The Emperor and Tosin Music, while spoken word poet Eva delivered a deeply emotional piece about conscious living and caring.

The Anniversary edition of Griots and Bards closed with poetry renditions from Madame Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, the dame of the event. Ajayi-Lycett praised GAB for creating a platform to 'fashion a new future'. She urges young people not to begrudge the wrongdoing and mistakes made by her generation that has made life unbearable for them, but to forge a new direction for generations to come.

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