Saturday, 12 March 2016

Nnenna Ihebom; Author, Social Critic, Cultural Revivalist And Producer Of Igbo Dictionary




Nnenna Ihebom the prolific writer, social critic and cultural revivalist has just embarked on a project which is the production of Igbo dictionary. She is launching same on the 31st of March Owerri. I say congratulations to her!

Below is her interview


1.     FULL NAMES AND ANY NICKNAMES
        Nnenna Ihebom


2.     ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS
FSLC, WAEC, RSH dip, WAHEB dip, Bsc. Health Education


3.     WHAT DO YOU DO PRESENTLY?
I work with the government and write in my spare time



4.     YOU HAVE WRITTEN A LOT OF BOOKS, WHAT ARE THEIR NAMES?
The Rejected Stones
The Web (winner, Chevron prize for environmental writing 2008)
Odogwu be anyi, (winner, Ken Nnamani prize for Igbo writing 2007)
The Lunar Princess (runner up ANA prize for children literature 2011)
Patriots and Sinners (Nigerian Writers Series)
Folly is a Dance (a play)
Rampaging silence (a play)
Open Secret (a play)
Pendulum (poetry collection)
Mkpanaka Igbo maka umuakwukwo
Akamkpo Chinedu, Omaricha (abu umuaka)
Igirigi ututu (mbem na abu Igbo
Egwu a gwara ogwa (mbem na abu Igbo
The Magic Mirror (winner, ANA/ Ngozi Chuma Ude prize for children literature, 2015
Crown Unseen
The Candy Tree


5.     YOU ARE A SOCIAL CRITIC. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY
        ABOUT THAT?
Well, it is all about passion. I desire a sane society and i know that we are not on the right road to that beautiful and safe society that we all desire. That is what pushes me to air my views on societal issues.



6.     YOU ARE A CULTURAL REVIVALIST. WHY DO YOU THINK WE NEED TO GO BACK TO OUR CULTURE?
Yes, our culture is much better than what we practice today (imported culture that came with colonialism). When i sit down to compare what we had and what we now have, i realize that we have been shortchanged. In spite of all the noise about religion, immorality soars to high heavens. I am convinced that we were hoodwinked and sold a dummy (at a very high prize. That is why i preach cultural revival and African renaissance. Let me use this medium to re-iterate to the African people that we have no stake in the world if we keep running after other people's ideas and achievements. We need to go back to what is ours by inheritance, polish them and wow the world with our unique and very special ingenuity and creativity. That is the way to go, my people



8.     YOU HAVE THIS LATEST PROJECT THE IGBO DICTIONARY. HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT?
The Igbo dictionary project is something i never thought about going into, say five years ago. Somehow, i will say it came by divine inspiration. I felt the strong urge to do something in that direction when i started writing in Igbo language. I realized that it was very difficult to get help with Igbo words. There were Igbo dictionaries, but they were bi lingual. That is head words were in English while explanations were in Igbo and vice versa. Even then, the ones i saw were shallow and did not capture core Igbo terms, maybe for religious reasons. I was surprised to see a bilingual Igbo dictionary that had no OFO, OGU, AMADIOHA and other core Igbo terms. I got to know later that the author was a Reverend gentleman who probably could not imagine himself talking about such terms. Well, to cut it short, i felt the need to contribute to the growth of the Igbo language by enhancing understanding of Igbo words and expressions. The project started in October 2012 and the compilation stopped in January 2015



9.     HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK AN IGBO DICTIONARY IS?
An Igbo dictionary is essential to the growth of the Igbo language. It is as important as protein is to a growing child.



10.   AS A SOCIAL CRITIC WHAT DO YOU THINK NIGERIANS NEED TO DO AT THIS STAGE OF OUR DEVELOPMENT?
Nigeria needs to get angry about her pitiable condition and move out of the pity zone



11.   WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING ON MARCH 31ST WHEN YOU LAUNCH THIS DICTIONARY?
I expect Igbo men and women to come out in mass to support this dictionary project. I expect patriotic Igbo sons and daughters to subsidize the work so that it can be mass produced and made affordable so that every Igbo family will have a copy.


12.   FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR? I COMMEND YOU ON YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS PARTICULARLY THIS PROJECT. I WISH YOU SUCCESS IN ALL YOUR ENDEAVOURS.
I want to be remembered as one who contributed her quota towards the solution of problems as a true Igbo person. Maka na Igbo bu ndi na-egbo mkpa. Daalu, nwaanyi oma.


No comments: