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JJ Bola.

Congolese novelist JJ Bola, author of No Place to Call Home, has a message for men. In a video posted on Facebook on International Men’s Day, November 20, he talked about the need for men to look after each other so as to stop the damage they inflict both on themselves and on women.

His post in full:

International Men’s Day is a good day to reflect on the patriarchal, gender-biased society we live in. It’s a good day for us me n to recognise that we do have male privilege, that being said, there are also a lot of things we struggle with. If you check the statistics for male suicide, homelessness, murder, it is shocking; we are destroying ourselves, destroying women, and destroying each other. It’s an urgent issue we need to change, and the only way we can change that is by being aware and transforming our consciousness/humanity as men. I encourage every man to read up on feminist literature (check my Insta stories). I’m not saying you have to be a feminist, but I do think it’s important for men to realise that feminism is the only ideology that cares about you; capitalism doesn’t care about you, neo-liberalism doesn’t care about you, not even patriarchy cares about you. The only ideology that wants you to live a fuller life is feminism. Embrace the tender side of your being, reach out and connect with one another. Find a way how you can bring peace to your heart and transform and bring that peace out.

Or watch the video on his Facebook page.

In January, JJ Bola was part of a Facebook Live conversation with Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett as part of a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) initiative to draw attention to the plight of refugees worldwide.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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