Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Author Speaks with Gbolahan Badmus

This is the second in a series of interviews featuring the seven OAU alumni who put together Sandstorms in June. You can download the anthology here.

Gbolahan Badmus’ short stories and poems have appeared in Kalahari Review, African Writers, Brittle Paper and the Guardian Newspaper. He studied law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile- Ife. He has been selected to participate in a 2015 Writivism workshop. 

Gbolahan Badmus

AA: ‘Fist of Unity’ is about the events that took place on OAU campus on July 10, 1999. Where were you at that time? 
G.B: On July 10, 1999, I was still in primary school. On that particular night, I must have been asleep in my room, trying to put a tight rein on my bladder. 

AA: When did you learn about the attack?

G.B: One of my uncles told me that he almost ran into the cultists that night. He was on campus to read and shortly after he passed through a particular route, the cultists went through the same route.  Later, as an undergraduate in OAU, I heard different accounts of the events and got to know the full implications of what happened that day. Every year, the student union shows a film about the events to mark the anniversary, so it is almost impossible to graduate from OAU without taking your own version of the incident with you.

AA: Did you ever live in Fajuyi Hall? Was there any consciousness on days other than July 10 about students who were killed there?
G.B: Yes I did. In fact, my first four years in OAU were spent in Faj, until I had to move to town, I’m proudly Fajuyan. The awareness was everywhere, not just in Faj. Sometimes it was subtle, at other times it was not. July 10 found its way into the discussions at new buka and arguments in the halls of residence. The memory of that day was even invoked during the continuous alutas that lengthened our years in school.

A.A: Prisoner's wreath made me laugh. It is really an OAU love poem. From Geology GPs to ODLT and Awo Boys. How long did it take you to write it? Did Ms Abacus (imagined or real) study in OAU?

G.B: Haha. Well, well. After writing my final exams, I wanted to write a collection of poems using the notable buildings of OAU as metaphors for several emotions and experiences. When I had the opportunity to contribute to Sandstorms in June, I decided to use that idea, but I had to make some adjustments and squeeze the concepts into a single poem. I incorporated the love theme and some humour to ease the reading.  I cannot really specify the length of time it took to put it down. It was something I kept on editing and editing, till I finally submitted it for Sandstorms in June. If I am to guess, it probably took a month or so. And as for Ms Abacus, she was a crush at the time I wrote the poem. The thing is, she doesn't even know she is the one!

A.A:  Are you still working on the poetry collection you mentioned?
G.B: For now, it's on hold. I'm trying to deal with several things including my bar finals. But who knows, Lady Inspiration may decide to pay a visit soon.

A.A: What is OAU to you?
G.B: O.A.U, to me, is as it is called, an Institution of Learning. Not just academics but so much more. 
Gbolahan Badmus tweets via @badmusace and blogs here.

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