Close up and personal with an ethereal writer, poet and design strategist – Uhomoabhi Mark Ogbebor
Close up and personal with an ethereal writer, poet and design strategist – Uhomoabhi Mark Ogbebor

TBR: Tell us about yourself

Well, I am Uhomoabhi Mark Ogbebor, poet, author, design strategist, veteran performance poet, historian, business analyst with 20 years’ cognate experience, certified scrum master, product owner, and former regional sales manager, FrieslandCampina, Nigeria and also a life coach. I am one of the trustees of the Lagos Poetrython and Arts Fest.

I love to read, perform and ideate mixed media installations. I enjoy writing novels, production design and everything related to arts. The library is most times my home.

TBR: Tell us about a book that really impacted you.

 That is an interesting question. Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe; especially where Ikemefuna was slaughtered by a man whom he has called father all his life. It was a very twist of fate. And Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, was a flutist and was described as lazy, but I have a second opinion about the take of Achebe on him. It is unequivocally one of the best books of the century. That work is a classic of all time. It influenced my writings and interest in literature. 

TBR: Are you working on anything now?

 Yes, I am working on my mixed media installations and revisiting my collection of poems, All things beautiful, it enjoins humans to focus on the bright side of life and to remind people that darkness is necessary for light to find relevance. The themes are expansive and covers lots of stories as regards the vicissitudes of life and human resilience against all odds. I have a lot to do in the literary space and also books to read and cultural mileages to cover.

TBR: Are there any programs you have been invited to in the UK?

Yes. I will be performing in an online poetry concert by Chronicles of a griot and then look forward to performing at the London Poetrython scheduled for September. And I have a lot of stories to share and manifest in that space. I am from Benin, a place pivotal to the emergence of literary works and also replete with historical monuments. Benin, Nigeria, is paramount to the narrative of civilization and development of my nation and would like to take people down the memory lane; deploying oratorical devices and chants.

        

TBR: How have you been enjoying the cultural life in the UK?

Well, it has been fun. I have attended events in London recreating the culture. I have performed in a couple of events too. It is always joy and love and fun, sharing spaces and stories with people of different background and inclinations. I think the government is really doing well to promote culture in this space.

TBR: Where do you see the cultural life in Africa in a while?

African cultural life has been there and will always be there; it is the custodians we should be worried about and the promoters. We should be keen about the honesty of our story tellers and those that steal our stories to readjust before telling it. We should remind them that Jesus went to Egypt and that the Nile is imperative to civilization and then tell them about the wealth of Mansa Musa and the deception of the colonial masters and imperialists. Africa is not the land of destitute; it is the spring of culture and the home of love.

TBR: Any last word? Africa is coming and will rise again. Africa is that flower that grows out of the rankest soil. It is the seed, though bruised, plundered and battered, but still rises again, impetuously.

TBR: Do you have a poem to leave us with?

Yes. A poem by Williams Henley. This poem is poignant. Anyone anywhere can find comfort in it.

Invictus 

BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.

TBR: Which books would you recommend as an expedient read for your followers and mentees?

Well; I will advise them to read books by Bernardine Evaristo, James Allen , Ola Rotimi, Chrisptopher Okigbo, Taiwo Michael Oloyede and all the works of Wole Soyinka.

TBR: What are we going to catch you doing any day and anytime?

Laughs* You will most definitely catch me reading or watching crime fictions and other documentaries if my twins will permit.

TBR: It is been an interesting session with you. Thank you.

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