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Britain Appoints New Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria1 minute read

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Ben Llewellyn Jones
Photo: Premium Times Nigeria

Britain has appointed Benedict Llewellyn-Jones, as the new British Deputy High Commissioner (DHC) in Lagos, Nigeria. He replaces Harriet Thompson, who has concluded four years as DHC in Abuja and Lagos.

The Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, in a statement announced the change.

Llewellyn-Jones is an experienced diplomat, with experiences in different parts of the world, including Nigeria.

Read also UK Court Grants Nigeria Relief to Appeal $10bn Fine

Llewellyn-Jones had previously worked at the British High Commission in Abuja as a Political Counsellor between July 2014 to July 2017. He was most recently Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa from August 2017 to August 2020, where he worked to support trade and investment.

He has been British High Commissioner to Rwanda and non-resident Ambassador to Burundi since January 2011.

Benedict joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2007. He has previously served in the UK’s Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and as Head of the Zimbabwe team at the FCO in London.

Benedict, a graduate of the University of Oxford, has a considerable career experience in policing, drugs, crime policy, climate change policy and African affairs.

His career path is in line with Number 10 Downing Streets’ plan to increase trade and investment from outside the European Union.

 His Exploits For Queen and Country earned him the award, Order of the British Empire (OBE) by HM the Queen in 2009. He enjoys sport, particularly rugby and boxing. He is married to Laura Llewellyn-Jones and they have two young children.

Travel News

Seychelles Honours Eight Pioneers Of Tourism

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The government of Seychelles have honoured eight Seychellois for their contributions to the development of tourism in the Indian Ocean island nation.

The eight were honoured on Monday at the Seychelles Tourism Pioneer Park.

The park was opened in 2015 by former President James Michel to honour Seychellois who have dedicated their lives to the country’s tourism industry.

Engraved on ceramic tiles displayed on concrete pillars at the park, the names of the fifth batch of pioneers were revealed during a short ceremony that brought together key figures in tourism, representatives and relatives of the pioneers.

The unveiling of the plaque was the first activity lined up for the third edition of the Tourism Festival in Seychelles.

Daniel Payet, Frank and Elodia Payet, Jessie and Carl Collie, Norman Medhurst Esslemont, David Joubert, Guy Sinon, William Woodcock and Julien Parcou were honoured for either setting up a tourism establishment or related services

“The tourism week that we celebrate every year is a time when we take a glance in the rear mirror so as to understand the history of how tourism — which has become today our biggest and most important economic activity — started,” said the tourism minister, Didier Dogley.

“There is no other way of understanding it than understanding the history and story of those who were there at the beginning, the pioneers who started setting up and developing the tourism industry,” he continued.

Some of the pioneers honoured have paved the path for their sons, daughters, and grandchildren who have continued working in the industry.

“My father started tourism on Praslin, La Digue and surrounding islands. At that time, there weren’t many roads and he started with a motorbike. Also, back then, there wasn’t an airport on Praslin, hence he started with the first cruise ship that went to Praslin,” said Daniella Payet-Alis, daughter of Daniel Payet.

Payet-Allis’ father opened the Britannia restaurant in 1963 which was extended to include four rooms in the early 1970s. In 1972 he opened Dan Payet Tours where he worked closely with his daughter, Daniella who would conduct tours for and with him. Daniella is the founder of the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) which strives to make Seychelles an international best practice example for sustainable tourism, and the secretary of the Seychelles Hospitality and Tourism Association (SHTA).

Two other local hoteliers — Frank and Elodia Payet — started their guesthouse Rose Cottage at Pointe aux Sel in 1969 and later moved to Praslin to establish Le Duc de Praslin at Côte D’Or.

Their son, Robert Payet, who is today the owner of the establishment on Praslin, told SNA that he is “happy that they have been honoured for the hard work they did and for the foundation they built for me.”

He asked the youth of Seychelles to persevere in the industry as it takes time to reach a high-level position in tourism.

“There are very few Seychellois who are general managers in hotels in Seychelles. Most of them are foreigners and this is quite a shame. There is prospect and hope, however we need to take the time to get to where we want. It is a sector that requires time to get the necessary experience to attain certain positions,” said Robert Payet.

Tourism is the top economic contributor for Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

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Why Humans walk upright; The Author

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Africa is packed with great talented authors, authors with a difference. These authors are gifts to Africa. Meet one of the African gifts.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was born 5th January, 1938. He is a Kenyan writer and academic who writes primarily in Gikuyu. His work includes novels, plays, short stories, and essays, ranging from literary and social criticism to children’s literature. He is the founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal Mũtĩiri. His short story The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright, is translated into 94 languages from around the world.

In 1977, Ngũgĩ embarked upon a novel form of theatre in his native Kenya that sought to liberate the theatrical process from what he held to be “the general bourgeois education system”, by encouraging spontaneity and audience participation in the performances. His project sought to “demystify” the theatrical process, and to avoid the “process of alienation [that] produces a gallery of active stars and an undifferentiated mass of grateful admirers” which, according to Ngũgĩ, encourages passivity in “ordinary people”. Although his landmark play, Ngaahika Ndeenda, co-written with Ngugi wa Mirii, was a commercial success, it was shut down by the authoritarian Kenyan regime six weeks after its opening.


Ngũgĩ was subsequently imprisoned for over a year. Adopted as an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, the artist was released from prison, and fled Kenya. In the United States, he taught at Yale University for some years, and has since also taught at New York University, with a dual professorship in Comparative literature and Performance Studies, and at the University of California, Irvine. Ngũgĩ has frequently been regarded as a likely candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among his children is the author Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ.

Ngũgĩ was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru in Kiambu district, Kenya, of Kikuyu descent, and baptised James Ngugi. His family was caught up in the Mau Mau Uprising; his half-brother Mwangi was actively involved in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, and his mother was tortured at Kamiriithu home guard post.


He went to the Alliance High School, and went on to study at Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda. As a student he attended the African Writers Conference held at Makerere in June 1962, and his play The Black Hermit premiered as part of the event at The National Theatre. At the conference Ngũgĩ asked Chinua Achebe to read the manuscripts of his novels The River Between and Weep Not, Child, which would subsequently be published in Heinemann’s African Writers Series, launched in London that year, with Achebe as its first advisory editor. Ngũgĩ received his B.A. in English from Makerere University College in 1963.


His debut novel, Weep Not, Child, was published in May 1964, becoming the first novel in English to be published by a writer from East Africa. Later that year, having won a scholarship to the University of Leeds to study for an MA, Ngũgĩ travelled to England, where he was when his second novel, The River Between, came out in 1965.

The River Between, which has as its background the Mau Mau Uprising, and described an unhappy romance between Christians and non-Christians, was previously on Kenya’s national secondary school syllabus. He left Leeds without completing his thesis on Caribbean literature, for which his studies had focused on George Lamming, about whom Ngũgĩ said in his 1972 collection of essays Homecoming: “He evoked for me, an unforgettable picture of a peasant revolt in a white-dominated world. And suddenly I knew that a novel could be made to speak to me, could, with a compelling urgency, touch cords [sic] deep down in me. His world was not as strange to me as that of Fielding, Defoe, Smollett, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Dickens, D. H. Lawrence.”


Ngũgĩ’s 1967 novel A Grain of Wheat marked his embrace of Fanonist Marxism. He subsequently renounced Christianity, writing in English, and the name James Ngugi as colonialist; he changed his name to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and began to write in his native Gikuy. In 1967, Thiong’o also began teaching at the University of Nairobi as a professor of English literature. He continued to teach at the university for ten years while serving as a Fellow in Creative Writing at Makerere.


In 1976 he helped set up The Kamiriithu Community Education and Cultural Centre which, among other things, organised African Theatre in the area. The uncensored political message of his 1977 play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), co-written with Ngũgĩ wa Mirii, provoked the then Kenyan Vice-President Daniel arap Moi to order his arrest. While detained in the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Ngũgĩ wrote the first modern novel in Gikuyu, Devil on the Cross (Caitaani mũtharaba-Inĩ), on prison-issued toilet paper.


After his release in December 1978, he was not reinstated to his job as professor at Nairobi University, and his family was harassed. Due to his writing about the injustices of the dictatorial government at the time, Ngugi and his family were forced to live in exile. Only after Arap Moi retired after serving his second and last term in 2002, 22 years later, was it safe for them to return. Even in exile, Ngugi was making waves, he is a fighter.


His most recent books are Globalectics: Theory and the Politics of Knowing (2012), and Something Torn and New: An African Renaissance, a collection of essays published in 2009 making the argument for the crucial role of African languages in “the resurrection of African memory”, about which said: “Ngugi’s language is fresh; the questions he raises are profound, the argument he makes is clear: ‘To starve or kill a language is to starve and kill a people’s memory bank.'” This was followed by two well received autobiographical works: Dreams in a Time of War: a Childhood Memoir (2010) and In the House of the Interpreter: A Memoir (2012), which was described as “brilliant and essential” by the Los Angeles Times, among other positive reviews.


Some his awards include; Lotus Prize for Literature in (1973), Nonino International Prize for Literature (2001), He was Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize in 2009. He also has the National Book Critics Circle Award (finalist Autobiography) for In the House of the Interpreter (2012), the 2014 Nicolás Guillén Lifetime Achievement Award for Philosophical Literature, the 2016 Park Kyong-ni Prize, Grand Prix des mécènes of the GPLA 2018, for his entire body of work and amidst others, the 2019, Premi Internacional de Catalunya Award for his Courageous work and Advocacy for African languages.
He deserves a Nobel prize.

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South African Nobel Prize Essayist; J.M. Coetzee

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John Maxwell Coetzee is a South African-born Australian novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature born 9th February, 1940. He has won the Booker Prize (twice), the CNA Prize (thrice), the Jerusalem Prize, the Prix Femina étranger, and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and holds a number of other awards and honorary doctorates.


Coetzee is one of the most critically acclaimed and decorated authors in the English language. He moved to Australia in 2002 and became an Australian citizen in 2006. He lives in Adelaide. Coetzee was born in Cape Town, Cape Province, Union of South Africa, on 9 February 1940 to Afrikaner parents. His father, Zacharias Coetzee (1912–1988), was an occasional attorney and government employee, and his mother, Vera Coetzee (née Wehmeyer; 1904–1986), a schoolteacher. The family mainly spoke English at home, but John spoke Afrikaans with other relatives. He is descended from 17th-century Dutch immigrants to South Africa on his father’s side, and from Dutch, German and Polish immigrants through his mother.

Coetzee spent most of his early life in Cape Town and in Worcester, a town in the Cape Province (modern-day Western Cape), as recounted in his fictionalised memoir, Boyhood (1997). His family moved to Worcester when he was eight, after his father lost his government job. He attended St. Joseph’s College, a Catholic school in the Cape Town suburb Rondebosch, later studying mathematics and English at the University of Cape Town and receiving his Bachelor of Arts with honours in English in 1960 and his Bachelor of Arts with honours in mathematics in 1961.

He moved to the United Kingdom in 1962 and worked as a computer programmer for IBM in London and ICT (International Computers and Tabulators) in Bracknell, staying until 1965. In 1963, the University of Cape Town awarded him a Master of Arts degree for his thesis “The Works of Ford Madox Ford with Particular Reference to the Novels” (1963). His experiences in England were later recounted in Youth (2002), his second volume of fictionalised memoirs.


In 1965 Coetzee went to the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States, on the Fulbright Program, receiving his doctorate in 1969. His PhD dissertation was a computer-aided stylistic analysis of Samuel Beckett’s English prose. In 1968, Coetzee began teaching English literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he stayed until 1971. At Buffalo he began his first novel, Dusklands. From as early as 1968 Coetzee sought permanent residence in the U.S., a process that was finally unsuccessful, in part due to his involvement in protests against the war in Vietnam. In March 1970, he was one of 45 faculty members who occupied the university’s Hayes Hall and were arrested for criminal trespass.

The charges against them were dropped in 1971. In 1972 Coetzee returned to South Africa and was appointed lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Cape Town. He was promoted to senior lecturer and associate professor before becoming Professor of General Literature in 1984. In 1994 Coetzee became Arderne Professor in English, and in 1999 he was appointed Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Humanities. Upon retirement in 2002, he was awarded emeritus status. He served on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago until 2003.

After relocating to Adelaide, Australia, Coetzee was made an honorary research fellow at the English Department of the University of Adelaide, where his partner, Dorothy Driver, is a fellow academic. As of May 2019, Coetzee is listed as Professor of Literature within English and Creative Writing at the school, and Driver as Visiting Research Fellow.
Coetzee’s first novel was Dusklands (1974) and he has continued to publish a novel about every three years. He has also written autobiographical novels, such as Boyhood, Youth and Summertime, short fiction, translations from Dutch and Afrikaans, and numerous essays and works of criticism.
Coetzee has received numerous awards throughout his career, although he has a reputation for avoiding award ceremonies. Coetzee was the first writer to be awarded the Booker Prize twice: for Life & Times of Michael K in 1983, and for Disgrace in 1999. As of 2020, four other authors have achieved this, J.G. Farrell, Peter Carey, Hilary Mantel, and Margaret Atwood.
Summertime, named on the 2009 longlist, was an early favourite to win Coetzee an unprecedented third Booker Prize. It made the shortlist, but lost to bookmakers’ favourite Wolf Hall, by Mantel. Coetzee was also longlisted in 2003 for Elizabeth Costello and in 2005 for Slow Man.


The Schooldays of Jesus, a follow up to his 2013 novel The Childhood of Jesus, was longlisted for the 2016 Booker Prize. On 2 October 2003, Horace Engdahl, head of the Swedish Academy, announced that Coetzee had been chosen as that year’s recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the fourth African writer to be so honoured and the second South African, after Nadine Gordimer. When awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy stated that Coetzee “in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider”.

The press release for the award also cited his “well-crafted composition, pregnant dialogue and analytical brilliance”, while focusing on the moral nature of his work. The prize ceremony was held in Stockholm on 10 December 2003. Coetzee is also a three-time winner of South Africa’s CNA Prize. His Waiting for the Barbarians received both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, Age of Iron was awarded the Sunday Express Book of the Year award, and The Master of Petersburg was awarded The Irish Times International Fiction Prize in 1995. He has also won the French Prix Femina étranger and two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes for the African region, for Master of St Petersburg in 1995 and for Disgrace in 2000 (the latter personally presented by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace), and the 1987 Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society.
He really is decorated.

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