Festschrift in honor of Denja Abdullahi
When beggars die, you don’t see comets; the heavens themselves are set ablaze for the death of princes. The world is a stage and the people in it are just players. If a child washes his hands, he can eat with kings and elders.
These three aphorisms popularized by William Shakespeare and Chinua Achebe recently came to fruition with the publication of a festschrift in honor of Denja Abdullahi, an Abuja-based cultural technocrat, playwright,
literary critic and poet. The festschrift, published by Kraft Books, a publishing house based in Ibadan, Nigeria, is a collection of scholarly articles written by cultural experts and scholarly scholars and packaged for
to mark the 50th anniversary of the cultural and literary icon, Denja Abdullahi, which took place in 2019.
Entitled in iconographic mode, Of foot-soldiers and Hybrid Visions: A Festschrift in Honor of Denja Yahaya Abdullahi, and in 721 pages, it radiographs in the broadest sense of the critical questions concerning Nigerian cultural heritage
and its limitations in attempting to address national issues of business existence and unity. It also sheds light on Denja’s literary reputation and artistic works before focusing on the aesthetic and socio-political considerations that underpin his cultural and artistic productions.
The festschrift is made up of nine sections, each representing a related mode of cultural, literary and artistic discourse.
The first section, captioned “Art, Culture and the Defense of Women’s Rights” includes five essays developed by leaders of Naija culture, such as Ahmed Yerima, former director of the Lagos National Troupe and Sunday Enessi Adodo, renowned theater scholar. The section examines the contours of Nigerian literature and culture and their potentials in the development and prosperity of the country, and the insufficient efforts so far to harness or harness this potential for optimal performance and use in order to to promote the national interests of the nation. What echoes here is the deep excavation of the enormous possibilities of Nigerian arts and cultural heritage as well as a scathing and veiled accusation from Nigerian governments for not doing enough to galvanize its arts agencies and platforms. and cultural activities towards optimal achievement of results in the country’s art and culture sub-sectors.
The second section captioned “Popular Culture and Social Media” consists of three essays written by cultural experts from academic acme reflects the importance of cultural awareness and adjustment to mitigate cultural shock among Nigerians, the negative cultural attitudes that trigger conflict and violence and how to stem the tide, and also the booming stand-up comedy that I have called elsewhere Nigerian theater laff-laff from its original
stingy cradle of a lucrative industry. Many comedians have been distinguished for praise or praise for their creativity and ingenuity. Some of the essays focus on how culture and the arts can
contribute massively to the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
The success story of social figures is a good clue that the environment fostering cultural awareness can be a source of capacity building and wealth, even in a highly competitive and diverse economy.
The third section includes fifteen essays written mostly by academics and captioned “Critical Appraisal of the Works of Denja Abdullahi,” in particular his dramatic and poetic writings, Abuja Nunyi, The King’s Death and Gray Hair, A Thousand Years of Thirst and Mairogo. Essays assess works as literary texts imbued with the appropriate literary traditions. All critics come to a verdict that in Denja’s works the tendency has been to comment on cultural and social issues in terms that skillfully manipulate his sensitive material to balance the demands of social engagement and artistic objectivity. In addition, his plays and poems derive from myths, his characters are realistic and his themes based on the dispossession or abandonment of man are expressed in a broad theatrical and figurative language.
The fifth section consists of five essays on contemporary Nigerian literature covering historiography, feminist responses to the Nigerian Civil War, 1966-1970, Elechi Amadi’s contribution to Nigerian literary heritage, Ojaide’s poetic evocations on the Colonial and Post-Colonial Experiences in Nigeria, and Zainab Alkali and Timothy -Asobele’s forays into the use of literature as a means of peacebuilding and bridging the gaps resulting from ethnic plurality in northern Nigeria.
The discourse here is sufficiently dialectical and didactic to enable the reader to grasp the relationship between culture, history and literature, the state of Nigerian literature, and the importance of literature in facilitating unity in a heterogeneous society. .
The sixth section includes five essays based on the literary works of Denja Abdullahi and written by different critics. The proofreaders, themselves literary teachers and critics focus on thematic trusts as well as on stylistic, literary and linguistic resources appropriate in his creative writing.
The seventh section is made up of personal interviews during which Denja unveils the philosophy underlying her artistic and literary theory and practice. Section Eight consists of sincere creative tributes or apprehensions and expressions of gratitude and praise to Denja Abdullahi by colleagues, contemporaries and mentees.
Finally, section nine includes poems, conceived in the form of lyrical odes, and giving a zesty expression to its outlook, air, sharpness and amiable personality.
Bigots, like Marxist scholars or other sectarian and self-proclaimed literary juggernauts, who now ogle in fox-obsessed libraries or study centers, might, out of envy, ask impulsively: Does Denja Abdullahi deserve it? distinction of having
such a robust festschrift packaged in his honor, that it now settles in the foyers of the Nigerian literary high table, alongside Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, Ola Rotimi and other literary giants who so honor
has been granted in the past? The answer to this question is not difficult to offer. As Chinua Achebe pontified in his classic novel Things Fall Apart (1957), a child who washes his hands well can eat with elders. Denja Abdullahi has indeed washed his hands sufficiently in the field of literature, culture and the arts, and he therefore eats with kings and elders.
Born 51 years ago in Idah, Kogi State, Nigeria, Denja Abdullahi is an aspiring poet, playwright, performer, essayist and technocratic culture ”(see Festschrift 683). His journey to fame and iconography in culture and art began shortly after graduating from the University of Jos in 1993. He taught the English language at a Federal Polytechnic for five years before that. to transfer his service to the National Council for Arts and Culture in 1998, where he
achieved his current status and honored position as a director, as a result of his successful engagement in the field of culture, literature and art.
In addition to writing, acting and contributing to state policy on culture and art, he had also been active in cultural policy, which paid off when he was elected president. of the Nigerian Authors’ Association (ANA) in 2015.
In addition to positioning the ANA as a visible organization in Nigeria and even beyond, Denja is known for promoting countless literary events and workshops that have led to the discovery and education of promising young writers, to the immortalization and canonization of past and living Nigerian writers, such as Chinua Achebe, JP Clark and Ikeogu Oke, establishing a platform for the publication of works written by established and established authors.
the new members of the ANA and the construction of a writers’ village worthy of Mpape, Abuja.
Infantrymen and Hybrid Visions: A Festival in Honor of Denja Yahaya Abdullahi is therefore a well-deserved honor for a man whose name is widely considered to symbolize character, charisma and
vision required for results-oriented articulation, production and promotion of Nigerian heritage art and culture in the immediate present or in the future.
Anyone who walks through this festschrift anytime or anywhere is connected with the spiritual and enigmatic superficial aura of Denja disguised in its large pages. His works tacitly imbue him with an image reminiscent of the mythical inseparable Leandro whose romantic dares to cross Helensport in search of his true love, Hero was truncated by the jealous breeze that extinguished the candle lighting his way from Hero’s Tower.
the window through the waters and drowned. Unlike Leandro, Denja himself remains free and unfazed in his pursuit of cultural and literary programs; and he continued to float on Nigerian cultural and artistic waterways, his passion stoking the bonfires of literary and cultural arts in unquenchable flames, flickering unperturbed in a quivering heat on the canvas.
As Of Infantrymen and Hybrid Visions: A Festschrift in Honor of Denja Yahaya Abdullahi is reviewed globally by readers, it does not lack its essence as a historical document that presents Denja Abdullahi as a protean literary mind, making full use of a unique cultural, literary and linguistic arsenal.
Sunday Agollo is a consultant art researcher, literary editor
Phone. : 07069343633
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