Spoken Word, Lagos.
Femi Amogunla is an actor, spoken word and voice-over artist based in Lagos, Nigeria.
He studied English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, after which he proceeded to the Royal Arts Academy for a Diploma in Acting where he graduated as the best acting student.
He was the lead actor in Ken Saro-Wiwa's play The Bride's Return in 2005. He recently directed a Christian adaptation of Ola Rotimi's Man Talk, Woman Talk.
He had acted as the main character in the play for his project at the Royal Arts Academy. Performance is one word with many meanings for Femi, many of them, he loves.
The thematic focus of this poem is the beauty of Yoruba culture as captured in the significance of a name, of my name.
In fact, in the Yoruba belief system, what you are called and how you are called goes a long way to affect what you turn out to be.
The narrator of the poem insists that he should be called by his name, the way it should be; not as an abbreviation or as a nickname because, it is believed that 'whatever' you are called has a meaning.
The poet draws on personal examples of the challenges that he has faced when it comes to his name, and draws on how he has been able to keep bearing his name despite these.
The poem also goes ahead to show the challenges of holding on to this culture of naming in a fast changing world that seems to impose its change on one.
The narrator refuses any version of his name, and takes pride in what he's called, drawing from the Yoruba culture and history.
Rendered in English, this poem has a universal appeal, yet it is sprinkled with local Yoruba language, the poet calls the audience to a different language, to a different culture. It also makes use of accepted codes of culture like music.