I've finally finally managed to finish a short introduction to myself for Nii and after all that work and just in case you ever wonderered who I was and didn't know how to check my complete blogger profile [at that point you’re required to imagine a big fat slightly embarrassed grin] I just got to post that here … you know, showing off that I'm still able to to complete any kind of writing, however small it might be ...

Hailing from one of Berlin’s most beautiful suburbs I literally stumbled into African Studies: I was looking for an interims option to bridge a year while I was waiting for admission to study my subject of choice. Choosing between different options of regional studies at Humboldt University (Berlin, Germany) I light-heartedly opted for the one subject school and leisure readings had taught me the least about: Africa. If I had to bridge a year why not use it to reduce one of those gaps in my knowledge? However, as I discovered exciting authors such as Syl Cheney-Coker, Wole Soyinka, Abourahman Waberi, Yvonne Vera and Tayeb Saleh (to name just a few) a year became two, I passed my intermediate examinations, participated in a student group organising readings of African literature in German translation, attended a DAAD Hausa language course in Azare (Bauchi State, Nigeria) and went on an Erasmus exchange year at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London, UK).

For the first time SOAS offered me the opportunity to combine my newly acquired passion for the products of African cultures with my childhood passion for visual arts. I returned to Berlin intend to write my Magister dissertation about African arts. Inspired by John Picton’s (then still teaching at SOAS) enthusiasm for Nigerian arts and my previous experience in Azare I was hoping to conduct fieldwork in Nigeria and consider in my dissertation one Nigerian art world. However, for a variety of reasons my fieldwork trip was cancelled on short notice and in its stead I opted to return to SOAS for my MA. During the course of the year the idea for the PhD I’m currently undertaking emerged. I started reading broadly about the history and culture of the geographical region north of Abuja and effectively turned my MA dissertation into a literature review on Hausa arts and material culture. After another year of reading and convincing myself that a PhD was indeed desirable I returned to SOAS as a PhD candidate in September 2006.

Thanks to the financial assistance of the UK’s AHRC I was able to undertake a year’s fieldwork in Maiduguri, Kano and Zaria from which I returned in October 2008 with notebooks full of information I’m still struggling to organise and condense into a thesis.

And, just in case you wondered: yes, I’m actually still struggling. In fact, for the last few weeks, been struggling not to loose faith in my ability to ever pull that off … And I’m missing Naija, hating the fact that I won’t make it back as planned. Not even now … But for now, it’s all about getting started into another academic year … Oh, and did I mention I was grateful for any feedback on how to improve on that, the intro to myself I mean, I mean, stuff for which I don't need to change my past or lie about it ...


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