Saturday, 10 October 2020

Join Us to Commemorate International Day of the Girl

Shades of Us is supporting Girls Virtual Summit 2020, an event hosted by SWAG Initiative to commemorate International Day of the Girl. Here is what you need to know about the event. 

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Demographic Dividends Through Communication

Ramatu Ada Ochekliye presented this paper at the 7th Nigerian Annual Population Lecture Series that happened in Abuja in 2019. The theme of the series was ‘Nigeria’s Population Issues: Harnessing 21st Century Innovations to Achieve Demographic Dividends’.


Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Bad Roads and their Connection to Poverty: A CASE OF LELEYI GWARI COMMUNITY IN ABUJA

Bad roads
Cars struggling on very bad road.
Image Credit: Guardian Nigeria Newspaper

By Ojonugwa Yahaya from HipCity Innovation Centre

In every given geographical area occupied by a population of people, either large or small, the first thing that indicates the presence of said people is an access road. Road is very important to human development and the importance of it cannot be over-emphasized.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Addressing Workplace Harassment

Photo of Lady at her desk
Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels

For some reason, the thought of a colleague I used to have came into my head. And it was followed by such immense disgust that I had to take long, deep breaths to calm myself.

Monday, 17 August 2020

When No One Is Looking

Picture of a woman holding a moon
Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas from Pexels

As long as I can remember, I have always cared about the issues that affect Africa, Africans and people of African dissent, with special focus on how these issues affect women and children. Even as a child in primary school, I can remember expressing anger at people who treated women and children poorly and standing up for the girls in my class. It would not be far-fetched to assume I was born this way, having what can be described as a gnawing need to lend my voice to women and children’s issues.

Monday, 10 August 2020

The God Complex of the Old

Old Man surrounded by young people
Photo by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma'aji from Pexels

In many African countries, young people are raised to have respect for their elders. However, the kind of respect that is expected borders on complete deference, creating a situation where, by default, older people are almost always assumed to be right on all issues, while younger people are expected to acquiesce their views, choices and decision in favor of the more ‘mature’ ones of the old.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Bleeding Trees

Tree lined road
Photo by Craig Adderley from Pexels

There is this lane that leads to my office in Abuja. It is serene, with a canopy of trees from the sidewalks and road divider joining together to cover the road. It is beautiful but beyond that, it gives me so much pleasure – and dare I say, calmness – whenever I pass the road. To see those trees shading the roads and pavements and knowing that they provide succor to people, animals, birds and other living organisms just fills my lung with goodness…or just clean oxygen.

Monday, 6 July 2020


Plastic littering a beach
Photo by Olia Nayda on Unsplash

For some reason, Nehemiah’s Wall – a biblical story where cup bearer to King Artaxerxes embarked on the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls – has been hovering in the recesses of my mind. The story may not readily come to mind, so for those who do not read the Bible, it would be great to read the book of Nehemiah.  

Monday, 22 June 2020

Wife-to-be Auditions

Black women cooking


It is 2020 and many families across Africa are still auditioning women for the 'opportunity' to become a slave wife in their family.


What does this mean?

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

A Rookie's Mistake

From the moment I finished my film directing course at the Royal Arts Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, I have been introducing myself as a filmmaker…along with the other titles I like to describe myself as. Yet, four years since I earned that certificate, I do not have any film — short or feature — to my name.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Flip The Switch

Image Credit: Men's Health
Edikan felt Ama turn in her sleep as she gained consciousness. He had listened to her troubled sleep – marked by her slight snoring – for the past hour; even though his back remained turned to her. Their fight last night had been the worst in the six months they had been dating. And for the first time since he moved into her apartment, they had slept on each end of the bed.

Monday, 27 April 2020


Picture of man and woman not speaking to each other.
Image Credit: The Independent
When discussing communication with people, there is almost a general consensus by discussants that the best way to solve a problem is by talking about it. It is believed to be the mark of emotional maturity to verbally resolve issues as amicably as possible. When someone is unable to talk about issues of discontent in the approved manner – calmly, without anger or rancor, or immediately – they are classified as either emotionally immature, abusive, controlling or a combination of all.

Monday, 20 April 2020


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
If you have been using social media for any length of time, it is quite possible that you have heard (or used) the term, Cancel Culture’. Like ‘misogyny’, ‘patriarchy’, ‘feminism’, ‘human rights’, this phrase is one of the buzz words of this generation that gets thrown around when heated socio-cultural issues are being debated – or fought over – on social media. It has become so predominant that many dictionaries now carry a definition for the phrase.

So, what is cancel culture? has one of the more encompassing definitions.

Monday, 30 March 2020


Photo by ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

I remember walking into a radio station in Abuja for an interview. When I got to the green – or waiting – room, I was pleasantly surprised by the surrounding wall that had pictures of many icons on it; Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Fela and a host of others. As I basked in memories of the work each person had contributed to humanity, I began to notice something that gradually dropped the smile from my face; there was hardly any woman on that wall.

Monday, 11 November 2019


Arunsi Othniel Fortune, better known as Othy, has put out a collage of poems called Cherry Blossom.

Monday, 28 October 2019


Image: The Guardian Nigeria

I am constantly seeing people rant on social media about the debtors in their lives. It is so common place that I don’t think one week goes by without one person or the other getting called out for owing money.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019


Gima Okhiulu delivering her speech at the Half the Sky Speech Contest in Akure, Ondo State.

We attended Half the Sky, a speech contest commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child in Akure, Ondo State, and it was at this event that we met Gima Okhiulu, a student from the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Group of Schools in the State. Gima was amazing with her storytelling, linking each of her points to the next in a way that just made you stay glued to what she was saying. And because of how well she delivered her speech, we gave her a cash price and promised her a spot on the blog for any article of her choice. Here is Gima’s piece on her struggles with low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem is like a silent destiny killer in the lives of growing kids, especially girls. A lot of unfulfilled destinies can be attributed to this ‘plague’.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019


Participants at the Speech Contest
I have been volunteering with Sow Purpose Initiative since 2017. At that time, it was called SOW Foundation and the general mandate was to empower young (and vulnerable) women and girls by reaffirming their worth, addressing societal bias that keep these women and girls struggling to catch up with men and boys in this century, and promoting a culture of excellence for them.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019


Image: New Stage
We have all heard the stories of prisons in Nigeria; dinghy, overcrowded, desperately inhumane and busting at the seams with more people awaiting trial than convicted felons.

Monday, 9 September 2019


Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

I was at a literary event recently when the conversation swung to depression. It started when a man presented a poem about this state of mental health and suggested that ‘a smile, a hug, and some love’ could get people out of their depressed state. For the most part, the poem resonated with people because it was relatively well written and delivered, and being a sensitive topic, people could relate; or so I assumed.

Monday, 12 August 2019

The 2019 Writivism Festival

The 2019 Writivism Festival is here and we are pumped!

Here is all you need to know about the festival…and why you should definitely attend.

Monday, 24 June 2019


Man staring intently.
Image: Pexels
Most of us have probably heard that a woman's identity is tied to a couple of things; her beauty, skin tone, demeanor, chastity or purity, and ultimately, her ability to use these qualities to square herself a husband and bear 'his' children. This can be further expanded into the duties she is supposed to play in these roles of wife and mother; roles defined as the epitome of her womanhood. And we all know that those duties are many, unreasonable and often times, downright wicked. But these roles are so firmly woven into the fabric of society that choosing a different path almost always results in backlash, shaming and in some cases, physical and sexual abuse. Very few people expect a woman’s identity to be tied to her intellect, career, goals and aspirations, or achievements. It why women are constantly asked about their husbands or children; regardless of what other achievements they have outside of that.

Monday, 3 June 2019


Woman breastfeeding her newborn
Image: Feature Shoot
My first experience with childbirth was when my youngest sister – Sadiya – was born. I was seven years old then. I remember my mum trying to put on a brave face as she was aided to the car. In all honesty, I didn't understand what was going on, but my aunts and uncles seemed to be in a panic. I can't remember what my father's demeanor was, but I know we didn't see our mother until the next day when we were introduced to our newborn sister. There was happiness, excitement and an air of love all around. If my mother was frazzled after the birth, she didn’t show it or…I didn't notice.

Monday, 20 May 2019


Sad Dog
Image: Petfinder
Have you seen where dog meat is prepared? It is the epitome of cruelty and wickedness.

Monday, 13 May 2019


Image: Baastrop
If you follow me on Twitter, you will (probably) notice that every week – and sometimes, almost every day – I talk about people who litter the environment with either their urine, feces or other waste products generated from their daily activities. From my tone, you can always tell that I am constantly angry at the unsightly result of our improper waste disposal and management.

Monday, 6 May 2019


Old woman looking out; expectantly.
I was sitting in the bus when a thought came into my head.

‘What happened to Kainene?’

Monday, 15 April 2019


Men watching from a gate.
Image: The Daily Maverick
I live in one of the poorer communities in Nigeria's capital city, Abuja. Like most of the communities surrounding it, Jikwoyi is a densely populated area. Because most things – accommodation, food, clothing and transportation – is much cheaper than other areas in the Federal Capital Territory, it is not unexpected that there are more people who live around these areas and places like this.