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Nobel winner Mahfouz lives on in Cairo’s alleyways

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Nobel winner Mahfouz lives on in Cairo's alleyways
A mural depicting Egyptian novelist and nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz is pictured behind the al-Azhar mosque in downtown Cairo on November 26, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

The legacy of Islamic Cairo’s most famous son Naguib Mahfouz lives on in its winding lanes more than three decades after he became the only Arab to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

A mosaic of the bespectacled author overlooks a market teeming with children on bikes, waiters balancing trays of hot drinks and shoppers haggling with hawkers over the price of meat.

It could be a scene straight out of a typical Mahfouz novel focusing on the minutes of life in the Egyptian capital, with its satirically political overtones and timeless characters.

Nobel winner Mahfouz lives on in Cairo's alleyways
Portrait of Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006) 1992 ©Gattoni/Leemage

After years in the making, a museum in the writer’s honour opened in July this year.

A new translation of previously unpublished Mahfouz work is also in print, underscoring 13 years after his death the mark he made both on world literature and on Egyptians themselves.

In November, young writer Ahmed Mourad sparked controversy in Egypt when he suggested that the quality of Mahfouz’s work needed to be adapted to make it more contemporary.

The backlash at this tarnishing of the great man’s reputation forced Mourad to go on the popular television talk show circuit to clarify his comments.

Mahfouz is considered to be the father of the modern Arabic novel: he broadened its literary range by pushing through sacred red lines including religious taboos.

Nobel winner Mahfouz lives on in Cairo's alleyways
A mural depicting Egyptian novelist and nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz is pictured behind the al-Azhar mosque in downtown Cairo on November 26, 2019. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

And he was nearly killed for doing so. In 1994, a knifeman stabbed him in the neck in an assassination attempt. 

The attacker had been acting on a fatwa or religious edict issued by radical Egyptian-American imam Omar Abdel-Rahman, denouncing what he deemed to be the prodigious author’s blasphemous prose.

About Cairo with love –

Mahfouz’s daughter Om Kalthoum said he was so deeply enmeshed in the chaotic energy of Cairo that the city itself was a major character in his work.

The writer’s routine included walks along the corniche by the Nile to his favourite cafes near Tahrir Square, epicentre of the 2011 revolution, and to cultural salons.

“He wrote about Cairo with true love. He described it in granular detail. Even if he criticised it, it was still full of love,” she told the media.

She and her sister accepted their father’s 1988 Nobel Prize on his behalf because of his inability to travel due to his deteriorating eyesight.

Om Kalthoum said: “I remember sometimes we used to go to Al-Hussein (the area around the Al-Hussein mosque in the heart of Islamic Cairo) and we’d sit in the cafe bearing his name,” the Naguib Mahfouz Cafe.

“He showed us Midaq Alley — it was pretty much the size of a small room — and he would tell us great stories about his days as a schoolchild,” she recalled.

‘Midaq Alley’ was one of his most widely read books globally and was adapted into a 1995 film starring Salma Hayek.

The site of the museum dedicated to him is in a beautifully restored Ottoman guesthouse in Islamic Cairo dating to 1774 and was chosen because he spent his early years there.

Nobel winner Mahfouz lives on in Cairo's alleyways
A picture taken on November 7, 2019 shows the nobel prize certificate of Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz displayed at his museum at al-Azhar district in the heart of the capital Cairo. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

In the Al-Gamaleya neighbourhood the budding writer was surrounded by 10th century walls and a myriad of hiding spots for curious kids.

Om Kalthoum noted that being raised there left an indelible mark on her father’s imagination.

Mahfouz’s precious belongings including his mahogany desk, honours such as his Nobel certificate and even his last pack of cigarettes are among the items displayed in an exhibition that covers three floors. 

A universal writer –

Roger Allen, emeritus professor at Penn University in the United States and a prolific translator of Arab writers but especially Mahfouz, told reporters the author was monumental “in the development of Egyptian fiction”.

His writings delved into “ancient Egypt, Sufism, and politics”, Allen said.

“You get glimpses of his many interests. He was working on multiple tracks throughout his career.”

Allen translated a collection of his writings into English this year in a work entitled ‘The Quarter’.

The collection “reflects what a Cairene quarter looks like” — much like where the museum dedicated to him is located now.

It is also “a heavily symbolic entity associated with humanity”, Allen added.

“His works take on universal themes that show how to organise society and how it can be disrupted by forces,” he said.

The new collection is based on a pile of papers that his daughter found years after his death. It was organised and originally published in Arabic by Mohammed Shoair, an editor with the culture journal Akhbar Al-Adab.

Shoair said that “in the years before winning the Nobel, he lost his eyesight so his relationship with reality was almost severed. Writing for him became an obsession.”

Shoair has been archiving Mahfouz’s papers with Om Kalthoum’s help for a multi-volume biography.

He talked about Mahfouz’s pioneering role in revolutionising the Arab novel to the extent that many Arab authors now follow in his footsteps.

Alaa al-Aswany from Egypt, Ahmed Saadawi from Iraq and Algeria’s Ahlam Mosteghanemi have all found a global readership with books that have won international awards.

“The main idea behind his work since the 80s was returning to his childhood… his beginnings and the alley,” Shoair said of Mahfouz.

“He was talking about his personal life in a way, but through the memories of the past”.

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The Youth Excellence Awards

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The Youth Excellence Awards (YEA), Ghana, is an awards scheme which celebrates exceptional and outstanding youth in Ghana. Those who strive to be better, and at the same time they have a positive impact on their society in their various field of work.

The scheme believes that by celebrating, acknowledging and rewarding these extraordinary youth, it helps build a good platform by having a voice and gives opportunities to the new generational leaders’ while building a great attitude in the youth to strive for excellence.

By this awards scheme individual efforts to contribute positively to the economy on the continent by striving hard with dedication and perseverance by overcoming challenges and the unfavourable economy will be admonished.

The awards board consists of Kwame Owusu Danso and John Demelo.

The awarding board is seeking outstanding youth in Leadership, Entrepreneurship, professionals in the Public and Private sectors, Health, Governance, Non-profit sectors and will recognize their achievement in business inventions and innovations and community building.

CATEGORIES 

YEA categories cover a wide range of sectors including; Leadership, Health, Education, Visual Arts, Journalism, Agriculture, Law, Sports, and Technology.

WHY YEA

To recognize and celebrate youth leaders who professionally or personally have impacted on youth through outstanding leadership.

To identify projects and achievements spearhead by youth which has produced clear value and chalked success and has benefited society (particularly, the youth)?

It’s a platform that brings all hardworking youth together to network and build business relationships.

To encourage our upcoming youth that excellence and success can be achieved at tender age.

REQUIREMENT 

For any individual to be eligible for any category of the awards scheme, the following must be met:

The candidate must be an upcoming (this should be clearly defined) living and doing business in Ghana

Nominees with mutual submissions: nominees who have no advantage over those with one submission. In essence, the selection process will not depend on the number of nominations an individual receives.

Nominations can be anonymous and letters of recommendations are not required.
Nominees must still be a youth by event date (be between the ages of 18 and 40).
Must be a youth leader, Entrepreneur/CEO, Co-founder, or COO of a firm.
Ready to travel to any of the African countries

ORGANIZERS 

The brain behind the organization of Youth Excellence Awards is the Clique Empire, which has an enviable record of organizing spectacular and successful events, including, “Take it off pool Rave,” “YES – Today,” and the Youth Excellence Awards.

BENEFITS
YEA Ghana will promote and celebrate Africa’s young change-makers, entrepreneurs, and youth leaders from all walks of life. YEA Ghana is a platform for global recognition of individuals as outstanding young achievers and youth leaders. Publication of winners in newspapers and blog sites across Ghana after the event.

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I did not cheat on 9ice – Ex-wife, Toni Payne Reveals

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9ice’s ex wife, Toni Payne, has revealed that she did not cheat on 9ice, she has however, warned fans to stop coming to her social media page accusing her of cheating on her ex-husband, 9ice.

Toni Payne said this on her Instagram page after a video of 9ice cheating on his wife, Sunkanmi with another woman went viral

There were allegations sometime ago that the marriage between Payne and 9ice crashed because she was cheating on 9ice with Ruggedman.

However, the ex-wife took to her Instagram page on Saturday insisting that she never cheated while she was married to 9ice and cursed those hurling insults at her.

She warned fans to leave her out of the recent drama surrounding 9ice and let her leave her life, adding that she has moved on.

Toni Payne said: “One of the most annoying things I have to deal with is some random idiot coming on my page to accuse me of cheating on my ex, something that never happened. I don’t know how many times I have to say this.

”One of the most annoying things I have to deal woth is some random idiot coming to my page to accuse me of cheating on my ex… something that never happened. I dunno how many times I have to say that song wasn’t about me. I helped mix and master the darn song. I’m a smart woman, why would I help out on a song that would make me look bad?

Anyways, I cursed someone who came to my page with that nonsense and honestly, I do not feel bad. False accusations ae hurtful… I have moved on and they should too. Stop coming on my page about imaginary nonsense from 10 years ago. Let me enjoy my peaceful and wonderful lie without morbid reminders. Anyone who spreads lies about me or comes to harass me about something I did not do will NEVER know peace and favor. I say this from the deepest place of my heart. Free me, abeg.
It’s been 10 years, move on and stop accusing me of cheating on my ex-husband, 9ice. I don’t know why people keep coming to my page with this, I’ve moved on please leave me alone. The fact I have to deal with this 10 years later is annoying but please leave me out of this bullshit because I don’t want any part of this.”

This is coming after 9ice publicly apologised to his wife for cheating on her.

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Charly Boy’s Reactions To His Daughter, Dewy Oputa’s Allegations Of Him Being A Clout Chaser.

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Charley Boy’s daughter, Dewy Oputa called her father out after he went online to reveal how he feels about her being gay. The Nigerian singer took to his twitter to express his feelings on how he felt when his daughter came out to him. He said he felt so many emotions but added that he loves her so much and he is “grateful for the experience of having a gay or lesbian child”.

Dewy, who had once slammed her father in 2018 when he took to Instagram to praise her for being bold after she came out publicly, left a comment on her father’s recent Instagram post, calling him a clout chaser and accused him of using her story for “follows”. Dewy accused her father of gaslighting and using her for clout after he went online to say he’s proud to have a lesbian daughter. She claimed he says one thing online just to be “father of the year” but offline he doesn’t care if she’s alive or not.
She wrote: “But just a few days ago… you know what never mind, we already did this in 2018. Imma let you post your lil content for your follows.”

Charley Boy responded, begging her and telling her how proud he is of her and how much he loves her, and wrote a long piece reacting to his daughter’s accusation.

In an Instagram post, he pointed out that being a parent is hard.He wrote: “Any Fool can have a child and call themselves a Parent. A real Parent is someone who puts that child above their own selfish needs.”

In another post, he addressed his daughter’s criticisms and said it has opened his eyes and exposed him to the huge growing community of LGBTQ people in Nigeria. He went on to advise parents who have LGBTQ children to be more understanding.
He wrote: ”Urgent Info for Parents.Hummm, ogaooo.I swear Parenting is not an easy somethingoooo. Na me and my Baby, Dewy dey trend these days. Shey una see as my Princess dey tackle me. My post a few days ago, about my daughters right to her sexuality, opened my eyes and exposed me to the Huge growing community of LGTBQ’s in Nigeria. Ol boy, e shock me. I can’t lie. My People, as I wake yesterday I setup a hotline for young people who have challenges communicating with their parent/parents, who needed a listening ear. I was on the phone, from 9am till 11.45pm, recorded over a thousand calls before I lost count. I had to shut down, my ears don full. I heard stories dat made me teary eyed, the emotional trauma the LGTBQs community is going through amongst the numerous wahala we face in dis country.

Parents must understand that sometimes their child will probably not live the life they dreamed for them and this has nothing to do with being good parents or bad parents. Our influence and nurture for our kids it’s not more than 25%, 75% of their lives is under attack by external influences, social media, peer pressure, what they pickup in school, etc etc.
We should sometimes allow our children to unfold but not without guidance and laying good values, morals, believe in self and always encouraging them to be their authentic self, as they grow.

Our children have their own hang ups you must know., weather you feel they are childish, immature or fall short of your picture of them. They’ve struggles too and suffer from internal turmoil—don’t make them feel any worse. Imagine their internal struggle when these confusing feelings arise.
Our society is filled with hypocrisy, lesbianism/homosexuality started way before social media, predominantly in the north. Now, it in our churches, Nollywood, House of assembly, even in Aso Rock, it’s everywhere my People, and we must educate ourselves to have a better understanding of this phenomenon.

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