“Truth is bitter” is an all too familiar expression. As it seems to me, the expression borrows its validity from an understanding of “bitter” as the opposite of “sweet” — chocolaty, ice-creamy, sweet — as such, the antithesis of comfort and the comfortable.

Many English words and adages ought to be passed through the scrutiny of a renewed gaze if they are to retain in them anything of a life-giving, regenerative meaning.

“Truth is bitter” carries within it something of a malediction, an indictment, a condemnation even before Truth is born. Truth becomes judgemental even before it has a space…


Facing The Mediterranean

Who are these stones washed ashore?

A friend told me the other day, via a chat, that the earth has a heartbeat — something called the Schumann Resonance. This is new to me. In any case, it is claimed that the heartbeat of the earth has been rising in the past years. Humans are affected by these fluctuations — thrown “off sync” and out of frequency. It manifests in heightened anxiety, an insistent feeling of disquietude.

For some, this feeling of nonalignment is caused by the earth’s heartbeat. For others, it could be the moon. The sea, on the other…


There is so much to be admired about Burna Boy’s sixth and newest studio album, Twice As Tall, beyond its musical feat. If one considers a musical album an artistic body of work, there is much to be said about form and content as much as where it sits in the articulation of its time. In other words, what it attempts to achieve in the way of historical correlations, political consciousness, self-awareness/affirmation and socio-cultural positioning.

One underpinning character of this album is what one could easily term the unusual collaborations. My first thought on hearing Youssou N’dour in the beginning…


On the 27th of May, a video surfaced online showing a police officer pressing his knee into the neck of a black man lying on the floor and handcuffed. The policeman continued to pin the man to the ground even as he pleaded for his life. “I can’t breathe” he repeatedly said, until his voice and body receded into motionlessness. One could hear eye witnesses, as well as the video-maker, implore the policeman to let the man go. “How long are you gonna hold him down like that? He is not even resisting arrest right now. He’s gonna pass out…


“Velvele” is a Turkish word. In English it could mean any of the following: fracas, riot, pandemonium, outcry, uproar, kerfuffle, hullabaloo, chaos, noise. Or it could also mean “being alive”. Neukölln, Berlin. Image by Emeka Okereke.

I have been thinking about this whole Corona Virus saga in a more cogitative way. What is it trying to say or reveal to us in its globally frenzied nature? For instance, why does it seem like it is taking out mostly the older members of the society while preserving the younger ones and children? A second example: In my work, I am preoccupied with the operative mechanisms of borders and movement – a highly contested discourse in its own right. Seen from the perspective of COVID – 19, the discourse takes on a whole other dimension: a virus that…


The Malian singer and guitarist, Rokia Traoré was arrested by the French authority, at the behest of their Belgian counterpart, as she arrived at the Charles de Gaulle Airport on Tuesday March 10. The Belgian government, following a ruling over a child custody dispute between Rokia Traore and her Ex, Jan Gossen, arrested her over claims of “kidnapping, sequestration and hostage-taking” of their 4 year old daughter.

While I may not know much about the details of the relationship between Rokia Traoré and Jan Gossen, what I am particularly interested in, and find problematic, is the deplorable act of accusing…


In beginning this reflection about the collective, I have, ringing at the back of my head, an Igbo saying: Igwe bụ ike which translates to “the collective is power”. This saying is in many ways fundamental to the social psychology of the Igbo people of Nigeria with whom I share a lineage. Elsewhere, Chinua Achebe, the acclaimed Nigerian novelist, and critic, referred to this as the Igbo’s preference for duality as opposed to singularity: “Wherever Something Stands, Something Else Will Stand Beside It”.1 …


Twenty-four hours prior to hopping into a plane for a fifteen-hour journey, I had no idea I would eventually be making it to Chennai. My Nigerian passport seems to be the gift that keeps on giving where it has to do with being a document that, rather than aid mobility, actively facilitates its restrictions. I was informed by the Indian embassy that holders of a Nigerian passport will have to wait six to eight weeks for their visas to be ready. What for! Many applicants of other nationalities are simply applying and printing out their visas online almost as fast…


White Screen, Bariga Nights, Lagos 2018. ©Emeka Okereke.

Is it possible to think from that silence (the silence created by coloniality of knowledge), to undo the colonial differences that “time” contributed to make and contributes to maintain?1

For well over two weeks, the cyberspace has been in a state of frenzy following the latest release of Marvel comics’ blockbuster superhero movie: Black Panther. What is it that makes this film different from the rest of the Marvel comics series? Well, let’s start with the most obvious: it is probably the first time in contemporary history that a movie of its calibre will feature almost an all-Black cast.2 If…


I am in a different mood today. So I am going to write about running. But first, let me say that this post is not about grandiose achievements. It is about little steps. I have been running for months now. Although I cannot yet call myself a serious runner, I have learnt a thing or two about my body and mind since I took up running on a more regular basis. I am in Berlin. As I write, it is as cold as February can be. Despite the fact that there has been some talk about how this is one…

Emeka K. Okereke

I am a visual artist and a hyphenate. I write (poems, critical essays, opinions). I write out of necessity. www.emekaokereke.com

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