Ogwiji Ehi is my name. If ever you feel the urge to ask why it seems like I am constantly hiding behind my father’s name, read the first name last and vice versa. And perhaps you will see that names are like multiplication- a binary operation- the product is the same regardless of which comes first. Okay. Scratch that! I am not a Mathematician but I used to be a member of the Mathematics Club back in High School.
It’s funny how I took over all (of) Maths’ problems and solved them back to back. I feel like it was because I was just a teenager who had no real-life problems to solve at that time. But today, the story is different and I know better now! I guess you do too and so you do understand why a writer who began her opening paragraph with a “striking mathematical allegory” nearly failed AGE110 (Mathematics in Agriculture) in the first year of her undergraduate course.
I guess you expected to read my bio in third person. Something like:
“Ehi is a daughter, sister to six, friend to many, an award-winning poet, a creative writer, an aspiring author and a graduate of Nigeria’s premier, University of Ibadan, where she majored in Agriculture and blah blah blah.”
But no, I am not going that way. Not because I often caught in a web of fantasy and wishes of being a son and a brother but because a sun of African culture is dimming and many of us do not bother.
So here is how I want you to see me:
The curator of EBOquills– an E-comeback of our African village square which has become a portion of brown, dust-caked history books lying on the shelves of old libraries.
I remember with humble pride when I walked up the podium, in 2017 to receive the Albert Jungers Prize for poetry but that’s nothing compared to what I feel as I see this fire which I have started in EBOquills, because around it, our minds will be kept warm as we listen to simulations of those moonlight tales from which Achebe collected feathers and made himself wings to fly across the globe.
When the name, Ogwiji Ehi, touches your ears, think of the brewer of fine wine, the hand which cooks (literary) soup and never forgets to add locust beans, the grinder of good snuff and breaker of kola nuts, the ones who holds the keys to your grandpa’s obi which is becoming a faint childhood memory where Igbo proverbs are portraits hanging on the walls, the one who will not let you forget the taste of Abacha (African salad), Ewedu (cochrous), Ukwa (breadfruit), as you gnaw away on your hamburger in the Diaspora.
After a hectic day, you can come rest under the canopy of my muse, eat her fruits and share with your friends at no cost.