Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Mojisola Adebayo

Featured Poem:

Griot's Prologue from Moj of the Antarctic

Enlarge poem

Once,
We were
Gondwana,
Africa and Antarctica
Antarctica and Africa
One content
Continent.

Before.
Before
Nakedness
And the snake.

Before Enlightenment.
Before Enwhitenment.
Gondwana.
Where day and night danced a duet
In step,
Together.
Two million years ago

Gondwana:
Africa.
Antarctica.
A history of
The future:
Antarctica melts,
Africa sinks,
We all disappear.

One million
Two million
Three million more!
From ice to sea to land to shore!

Melting
Rising
Flooding
Seas.
Salt to soil
Drought
Disease

Desert.
Desertification.
Creatures
Comforts
Coasts
Erosion
Forest.
Deforestation.
More land
More light
More wind
More flight
Of souls,
Soaked.

Tempest
Justice
Tempest
Just ice
Just us
Washing away
Sand and land and memories
Memories.

One melts,
The other sinks,
We all disappear:
Magic!

Imagine:
Gondwana,
Once
We were
One.

But,
Gondwana
Split
Like a family,
Tectonically,
And no one could remember
How it happened.

Yet in understanding through
Opposites
The ancients believed
In what they could not see,
By the stars
They perceived
Antarctica
Must
Exist
Somewhere
Arctic
Anti-thesis
Antarctica.

And then
Eventually
You were
uncovered
and you had grown cold.
(The ancient gestures towards the video. Awe inspiring music).
You were discovered,
So now we know
If Antarctica exists
Then the world is a globe,
And if the world is a globe
In a tilting procession
Inclined to be eccentric
Obliquely orbiting
The sun

Then are we not
In a tilting procession
Inclined to be eccentric,
Living with the inevitability of unpredictability
In the knowledge that we can predict the inevitable
Make the inevitable vetible
Vary the variable
Protect the vulnerable
Apply eco logic
To anthropogenic
Action!
And through adaptability and change
Be sustained
Or let the last one turn the lights out!
(In blackout she moves to another position. Lights up).

She said:
If Antarctica exists
And the world is a wobbling wanderer
Then nothing is straight
And no one is straight
Forward.
If the world is a globe
Then there is no above
No below
No North or South
No heaven or hell
No white or (she prompts audience to respond) black
No male or (she prompts audience to respond) female
No God or (she prompts audience to respond) Devil
Magic!
Just a magnetic pull…

An extract from the prologue of Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey by Mojisola Adebayo.

08.08.12 I Stand Corrected @ Artscape Cape Town. A British Council event

Griot's Prologue from Moj of the Antarctic by Mojisola Adebayo

Download the audio file

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Biography

Mojisola Adebayo is a British born, Nigerian / Danish performer, playwright, director, producer, workshop leader and teacher. Over the past 20 years, she has worked on theatre projects across the world including Antarctica, Botswana, Brazil, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Finland, Greenland, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, the USA and Zimbabwe. She has acted in over 40 theatre, television and radio productions, scripted, devised and directed over 30 plays and has lead countless workshops and training courses.

Her wide and diverse work has ranged from being an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company to co-founding VIDYA, a slum dweller’s theatre company in Ahmedabad, India. All of her work is concerned with power, identity, personal and social change. Having trained extensively with and also worked alongside Augusto Boal, she is a specialist facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed, being invited to work particularly in areas of conflict and crisis.

Mojisola also teaches in the department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, at Rose Bruford College and is studying for her PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

Mojisola has written poetry for many years and even had a stint as a teenage rapper. However, it was in 2005 that she embarked upon writing plays as her primary focus, through her landmark production, Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey, which was researched on Antarctica in 2005 and performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer up North and had a British Council African tour. She followed this with Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House) and Matt Henson, North Star, developed in Greenland through Cape Farewell (Lyric Hammersmith).

Her first commission was Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour). 48 Minutes for Palestine, a collaboration with Ashtar Theatre Palestine, is now touring all over the world. The Listeners, a play for young actors, commissioned by Pegasus Theatre Company, in partnership with The Samaritans (Oxford) premiered in March 2012. She was a Writer-on-Attachment with Unicorn and Birmingham Rep where she wrote Asara and the Sea-Monstress, her first play for children.

I Stand Corrected, created with Mamela Nyamza and commissioned by Artscape, South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in August 2012 and played to rave reviews at Ovalhouse in November / December 2012. The show comes to the Soweto Theatre in 2013.

Alongside her produced plays, Mojisola’s publications include The Theatre for Development Handbook with John Martin and Manisha Mehta, based on their work with VIDYA (order at www.pan-arts.net all proceeds go to the VIDYA charitable trust); 48 Minutes for Palestine in Anna Furse’s Theatre in Pieces: An Anthology of Experimental Theatre from 1968-2010 (Methuen) and Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey in Deirdre Osborne’s Hidden Gems for Oberon Books. Her first solo collection Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One has just been published by Oberon. Order Plays One here: www.oberonbooks.com/author/adebayo/ She is busy working on Plays Two

Mojisola Adebayo

08.08.12 I Stand Corrected @ Artscape Cape Town. A British Council event
08.08.12 I Stand Corrected @ Artscape Cape Town. A British Council event

Biography

Mojisola Adebayo is a British born, Nigerian / Danish performer, playwright, director, producer, workshop leader and teacher. Over the past 20 years, she has worked on theatre projects across the world including Antarctica, Botswana, Brazil, Belgium, Burma, Canada, Finland, Greenland, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Malawi, Mauritius, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, the USA and Zimbabwe. She has acted in over 40 theatre, television and radio productions, scripted, devised and directed over 30 plays and has lead countless workshops and training courses.

Her wide and diverse work has ranged from being an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company to co-founding VIDYA, a slum dweller’s theatre company in Ahmedabad, India. All of her work is concerned with power, identity, personal and social change. Having trained extensively with and also worked alongside Augusto Boal, she is a specialist facilitator in Theatre of the Oppressed, being invited to work particularly in areas of conflict and crisis.

Mojisola also teaches in the department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London, at Rose Bruford College and is studying for her PhD at Queen Mary University of London.

Mojisola has written poetry for many years and even had a stint as a teenage rapper. However, it was in 2005 that she embarked upon writing plays as her primary focus, through her landmark production, Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey, which was researched on Antarctica in 2005 and performed at Lyric Hammersmith, Oval House Theatre, Queer up North and had a British Council African tour. She followed this with Muhammad Ali and Me (Oval House) and Matt Henson, North Star, developed in Greenland through Cape Farewell (Lyric Hammersmith).

Her first commission was Desert Boy (Nitro, Albany and national tour). 48 Minutes for Palestine, a collaboration with Ashtar Theatre Palestine, is now touring all over the world. The Listeners, a play for young actors, commissioned by Pegasus Theatre Company, in partnership with The Samaritans (Oxford) premiered in March 2012. She was a Writer-on-Attachment with Unicorn and Birmingham Rep where she wrote Asara and the Sea-Monstress, her first play for children.

I Stand Corrected, created with Mamela Nyamza and commissioned by Artscape, South Africa, premiered in Cape Town in August 2012 and played to rave reviews at Ovalhouse in November / December 2012. The show comes to the Soweto Theatre in 2013.

Alongside her produced plays, Mojisola’s publications include The Theatre for Development Handbook with John Martin and Manisha Mehta, based on their work with VIDYA (order at www.pan-arts.net all proceeds go to the VIDYA charitable trust); 48 Minutes for Palestine in Anna Furse’s Theatre in Pieces: An Anthology of Experimental Theatre from 1968-2010 (Methuen) and Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey in Deirdre Osborne’s Hidden Gems for Oberon Books. Her first solo collection Mojisola Adebayo: Plays One has just been published by Oberon. Order Plays One here: www.oberonbooks.com/author/adebayo/ She is busy working on Plays Two

Featured Poem:

Griot's Prologue from Moj of the Antarctic

Enlarge poem

Once,
We were
Gondwana,
Africa and Antarctica
Antarctica and Africa
One content
Continent.

Before.
Before
Nakedness
And the snake.

Before Enlightenment.
Before Enwhitenment.
Gondwana.
Where day and night danced a duet
In step,
Together.
Two million years ago

Gondwana:
Africa.
Antarctica.
A history of
The future:
Antarctica melts,
Africa sinks,
We all disappear.

One million
Two million
Three million more!
From ice to sea to land to shore!

Melting
Rising
Flooding
Seas.
Salt to soil
Drought
Disease

Desert.
Desertification.
Creatures
Comforts
Coasts
Erosion
Forest.
Deforestation.
More land
More light
More wind
More flight
Of souls,
Soaked.

Tempest
Justice
Tempest
Just ice
Just us
Washing away
Sand and land and memories
Memories.

One melts,
The other sinks,
We all disappear:
Magic!

Imagine:
Gondwana,
Once
We were
One.

But,
Gondwana
Split
Like a family,
Tectonically,
And no one could remember
How it happened.

Yet in understanding through
Opposites
The ancients believed
In what they could not see,
By the stars
They perceived
Antarctica
Must
Exist
Somewhere
Arctic
Anti-thesis
Antarctica.

And then
Eventually
You were
uncovered
and you had grown cold.
(The ancient gestures towards the video. Awe inspiring music).
You were discovered,
So now we know
If Antarctica exists
Then the world is a globe,
And if the world is a globe
In a tilting procession
Inclined to be eccentric
Obliquely orbiting
The sun

Then are we not
In a tilting procession
Inclined to be eccentric,
Living with the inevitability of unpredictability
In the knowledge that we can predict the inevitable
Make the inevitable vetible
Vary the variable
Protect the vulnerable
Apply eco logic
To anthropogenic
Action!
And through adaptability and change
Be sustained
Or let the last one turn the lights out!
(In blackout she moves to another position. Lights up).

She said:
If Antarctica exists
And the world is a wobbling wanderer
Then nothing is straight
And no one is straight
Forward.
If the world is a globe
Then there is no above
No below
No North or South
No heaven or hell
No white or (she prompts audience to respond) black
No male or (she prompts audience to respond) female
No God or (she prompts audience to respond) Devil
Magic!
Just a magnetic pull…

An extract from the prologue of Moj of the Antarctic: An African Odyssey by Mojisola Adebayo.

Griot's Prologue from Moj of the Antarctic by Mojisola Adebayo

Download the audio file

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (0)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (0)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

Your email address will not be published.