The 2019 edition of The Nigerian American Multi-Service Association NAMSA Award will be unique, yet in keeping with the tradition of excellence the Nigerian community-based organization has always upheld, Godwin Nnanna, president, revealed.
The Boston-based award celebrates Nigerian students and people that contribute to the enhancement of the Nigerian community across the United States — either in business, politics, academics, or professional lives.
“The whole essence is to elevate the best among us for both the community and that outside to see what we have to offer,” Nnanna told Being Nigerian on September 2.
Among the highlights of this year’s edition are scholarships launching, community dialogues, writing competitions, and the launch of a house organ—a magazine—for NAMSA.
The writing competition, which has been re-branded Writing for Righting Award, is geared towards challenging high school and college kids to take on issues affecting people of color in the city of Boston.
Last year they wrote about racism when President Donald Trump reportedly made a comment referring to African countries as shitholes.
Early 2019, one of the things the organization decided to focus on is the issue of gun violence in America.
That is because of what happened in Boston last year.
“A member of our community, a cab driver, was shot dead in broad daylight,” he said.
So the high school students will be writing letters to their mayor discussing how gun violence could be prevented in the city.
“Remember what happened in El Paso, and other places? There is an account that said there have been 250-something gun violence incidents across America this year. And the year has not ended.”
The college students entering the competition will also take on a related issue—the Second Amendment.
“A lot of people have called for the Second Amendment to be repealed. Others say, ‘No. It’s untouchable’. So we task the college students to engage with their leaders on that—and the preponderance of guns in our system,” said Nnanna.
More of that will also come up for discussion during the community dialogue session.
The organizers said they have extended invitation to the Mayor of Boston City, Marty Walsh, and are hoping some other city’s officials will also attend the event to talk.
“We want to know what these people are doing to ensure that what happened in El Paso doesn’t happen in Boston,” he said.
Entries for the scholarships and competitions are already pouring in—from many high schools and universities, thrice the number of entries for the 2018 editions.
“A lot of students from Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and others. The award is growing in popularity with the students. The judges are already having a tough time deciding winners.”
Community members, too, are upbeat about the award. Members have been endowing funds and scholarships.
For example, Mrs. Claudia Owumi, in honor of her late husband Joseph Owumi, has endowed one of the scholarships—for health studies. The late Owumi was passionate about scholarship and public health studies.
“So she has endowed $1000 every year as a scholarship for any college students interested in studying medicine, nursing or any discipline in health care.’
The Owumi Scholarship will be launched in addition to the three others already available.
The organization said it is also working on an annual magazine, and efforts are going on to get out the maiden edition telling the stories of the community.
“We have done a lot of that online. But we want to do something in print which we can show others,” said Nnanna.
The event comes up October 5.
South Africa xenophobic advert against Nigerians and foreigners [VIDEO]
“You know what’s wrong with South Africa?” a voice intones. “All you foreigners.”
This is how an advert for a South African restaurant chain begins. “You must go back to where you came from,” the voice continues. And with that, migrants start to disappear in puffs of smoke.
At first, the ad from chicken restaurant Nando’s seems provocative – if not downright racist – but it’s actually the opposite of a xenophobic rant. At the end a chipper voice proclaims: “Real South Africans love diversity,” before plugging a couple of new dishes on the menu.
Nando’s is a worldwide brand, but it began in South Africa and this ad is suddenly popular again because of recent events in the country – even though it was shunned by TV stations when it was first released.
The video has been watched hundreds of thousands of times this week in the wake of violent anti-immigrant attacks in several South African cities. Several television stations including the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation refused to run it.
“Best advert in SA, considering what’s been happening lately,” said Mcebisi Ngcobo.
“Xhosa people stay right?” said Sipho Mlanjeni. “No sorry Sipho,” came the reply, “we all have to go.”
A few read a less edifying subtext to the pro-diversity message. “Wise up black South Africans. This emphasis of ‘Khoisan’ as the true owners of South Africa is just another ploy to justify white occupation of African lands,” one commenter said.
“Basically what they are telling you is that all those large tribes e.g Xhosa and Zulus do not have claim to that land because after all it was appropriated from the Khoisan.”
But most viewers seemed to think the ad’s message was sorely needed in a country where at least seven people have been killed and 5,000 have been left homeless in the latest bout of anti-immigrant violence. South Africans – and those outside the country – have been involved in a huge online discussion over the attacks, with hashtags such as #SayNoToXenophobia and #XenophobicSA being tweeted hundreds of thousands of times in recent weeks.
“[South African President Jacob] Zuma himself should grant this ad airtime on our national television, never have we needed an ad more!” commented one.
Nando’s specialises in spicy Afro-Portuguese peri-peri chicken. It has more than 1,000 outlets and is a familiar presence across Africa as well as in the UK, Australia and many other countries. The company has a history of controversial advertising in its home market.
The company’s also not shy about making tenuous links between chicken and the politics of its home country – for example on Monday it’s offering South African customers a meal for 19.94 rand to celebrate Freedom Day, which commemorates the country’s first post-apartheid elections in 1994.
Mike Cathie, the chain’s chief marketing officer for southern Africa, says the company has never been afraid of pointed comment.
“When this advert was made three years ago, there was a real sense that people wanted to speak out against xenophobic attacks,” he said. “The vast majority of South Africans are fully aware of the huge contribution that immigrants have made to the country, and most of us were immigrants at one stage or another. That’s a point of view that’s resonating again.”
He said the company’s not too concerned about negative comments or the perils of stepping into politics. “There’s always going to be people who disagree, but we love that. What we love just as much as people giving a voice, is stating a debate,” he said. “We hope this really starts people thinking and maybe understanding a bit more about the issue.”
Ooni of Ife meets President Buhari in Aso Rock [PHOTO]
To calm frayed nerves and bring down the embers of war being fanned by unguarded statements from some notable figures of ethnic nationalities across Nigeria, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja II, on Thursday clarified that the South-West was not ready to go to war with any part of the country.
The highly revered king disclosed this to State House Correspondents after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja.
The paramount ruler said he came to the State House on behalf of royal fathers in the South-West to make a case for improved security across the region.
Ooni noted that the escalating security challenges in the country had led to some persons and groups beating the drums of war.
He clarified that it was not the position of the Yoruba, adding that the region was only interested in improved security of lives and properties.
“Everybody is beating the drum of war; we don’t want war. Who can stand war? We want something better for our youths.
“We should better use them (youths) for something good other than shouting war and anarchy. We don’t want that”.
Ooni, however, told the President to flush out the bad eggs among the Fulani herdsmen, adding that the task was not impossible if Federal Government collaborated with all stakeholders including the traditional rulers in the country.
To this, he assured of the president’s commitment to secure all in the country.
“We told the President that, and he is on the same page with us. Politicians should be careful not to blow things out of proportion.
“We should make sure things are right and the President has given good directives to security chiefs including the Inspector-General of Police (Mohammed Adamu), to visit all traditional institutions in the South-West”, the respected monarch said.
Nigeria’s Vice President son graduates from University of Warwick
The graduation held yesterday Wednesday, July 17th.
Fiyin, the only son of the family attended Bosworth Independent College before moving on to Warwick, one of the Top 9 universities in the UK and 54th in the world, according to the latest ranking by Times and Sunday Times.