Intriguing Encounters
I have met a number of people in my life. Among them are people
who stir praise, joy, inspiration, controversy and even hatred. Below
are some of these people. Regardless of the emotions they provoke in
you, the fact remains that they are significant on some social, political,
professional or artistic level. These are among the most intriguing
people I have met. I hope to meet more.
Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe and Ghanian writer Ama Ata Aidoo

I first met Achebe in 1992 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA and again in 2008
in Washington DC where this photo was taken at a gathering
celebrating the 50th Year Anniversary of his novel,
Things Fall Apart. I
also met Aidoo at this gathering. But my first meeting with her was in
the early 1980s at a literary conference at the University of Calabar,
Nigeria.
South African Poet and anti-apartheid activist,, Dennis Brutus

This photo was taken at a literary conference at the University of
Calabar, Nigeria, in the early 1980s. Brutus is third from left. I am fifth
from left.
Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President and Military Head-of-State

Obasanjo is perhaps one of Nigeria's most controversial political figures and the
only man to rule the country three times, first as military dictator and twice as
elected president. This picture was taken in 2001. In my few meetings with
Obasanjo, he has been quite gracious.
Somali writer Nuruddin Farah and Batswana writer Bessie Head

I met both writers in the early 1980s at a literary conference at the
University of Calabar, Nigeria. Though Head is often described as a
Batswana writer, she was born in South Africa.
Nigerian writers Gabriel Okara and James Ene Henshaw

I met both writers in the early 1980s at a literary conference at the
University of Calabar, Nigeria.
Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana

I met him in 2008 in Gabarone, Botswana. He was
the third president of the country.
Nigerian writer and Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

This photo was taken around 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria at
an even celebrating the author. Soyinka, in grey hair,
is seated. I am first from left. Moremi, Soyinka's
daughter, is second from left.
Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This not-very-clear photo was taken in 2013 in
Nairobi, Kenya. Adichie is in the middle while
my wife, Chinwe, is first from left.
Nigerian writers Flora Nwapa and Cyprian Ekwensi

Nwapa is second from left while Ekwensi is third from left. Nwapa's novel, Efuru (1966) was
the first novel by a sub-Saharan African woman to be published in the English language. First
from left is Charles Nnolim, Professor of English. This photo was taken in the early 1980s at a
literary conference at the University of Calabar, Nigeria.