Dr. Osonye Tess Onwueme
Playwright   Novelist   Scholar   Cultural Activist   International Speaker   Performer


"Tess is a rare jewel in this country..." - Dr. K. Kendall, Smith College, MA.


Exalted New Post / Fonlon Nichols Prize / My Work Is Larger Than Any Female Ideology 

Guardian news (The State Of My Art)


Latest NEWS 


Flying casket for the mother of a Nigerian-abroad?

NEWS behind the news... with Akeem Lasisi

Let someone join us to say it loud: Mother is supreme. For the impact of a mother can be so great in the life of a child that when eventually joins her ancestors, the offspring gets a consolation in giving the mother a befitting funeral treat when the last bell eventually sounds. This is particularly true of Africans, and it is the context of this reality that one can better appreciate the essence of the expansive burial rites that business mogul, Dr Mike Adenuga (Jnr), recently accorded his late mother, Mama Oyindamola Adenuga.
Come to think of it, as far as many Nigerians are concerned, such a sustained and symbolic funeral feast is an

old habit that hardly dies. Not even a long separation from the roots does erase from the hearts of the people. Someone may have left the Nigerian shores many years ago; he or she still w to come home to celebrate the memory of his depart mum. A case in study is that of accomplished playwright/ Professor Tess Onwueme, who has been living in the Unite States for more than a decade now. Her mother, Maria Ndidi Akaeke alias Mama Lagos (she lived in Lagos for many years) having passed on, Tess is in the country to do the burial the way Nigerians really do it. And the novelty she is bringing into the ceremony that peaks today at Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, is our main concern in this story.
In the first instance, the parting lines you usually read on the obituaries you see on the newspapers are often taken from the Bible or Koran. But, on such an obituary published in the media to announce Mama Lagos' death and burial, we could see the imprint of Tess the writer, as the line was taken from one of the poems of legendary Christopher Okigbo: For the far removed, there is wailing. Also, Nbtn learnt that Tess has decided to ship cultural dancers and performers from Lagos to Ogwashi-Uku, to join the local Ones who, along with Delta writers, will join in a funeral bash today (Friday). But; most importantly, Nbtn gathers that, in terms of the casket being prepared for the deceased, Tess' taste is dramatic: The casket is made in form of an airplane.

The Punch, pg. 51, September 16, 2005

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