Akut is a prolific poet and graduate of English Literature from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where he emerged top of his class. He is passionate about his about the plight of his Southern Kaduna ancestry as depicted in this interview. Excerpts;
1800 Seconds with Richard Dambo
Why are some of your poems like Kelle and The Man’s Eye influenced by your southern Kaduna ancestry?
Poetry to me is the expression of emotions. I have tried in many occasion to escape from such emotions but the fact remains that one cannot totally do away with his emotions. So I find Gurara to be a reoccurring decimal in my poetry.
In your poem Kelle, you brought an imagery of a “Sanga girl” are you in love with a Sanga lady?
(Laugh) The image of the “sanga girl” came as a result of the first Southern Kaduna lady I met in Kiyawa where I’m currently serving. She is equally a corp member. I was engulfed with a warm sensation the day I heard her introduced herself as a Sanga lady. She is such a pretty girl with the tribal name Kelle. I wrote the poem to immortalized that feeling I had after finding “my own” amidst so many Yoruba and Hausa folks. So it is not about love but about connecting once again with your own. Someone that can all understand you.
What are your recent strides in the competitive literal circles?
I don’t want to talk about competition for now because it is not a hallmark for good art. It is good to enroll in competition but it is wise for one to work first on himself and his art. There is time for everything.
What is the relevance of Literature with the Southern Kaduna people?
The relevance of literature to Southern Kaduna is the same with the relevance of literature to any human society. Literature over time has been the only redemptive grace of a people under siege. It was key in South Africa and even to the black Americans. Literature in Southern Kaduna is a tool that can immortalized the Southern Kaduna struggle for self governance and self actualizations, a people without literature is like a people without culture. Literature here should not be mistaken as a tool for rebellion but rather as medium in which a people see themselves in an act of living.
Talking about SK literatures, you’re in the editorial team of Chungai Magazine, what is your conviction about the project?
I have an ardent conviction on the Chungai Magazine project because journalistic writing is a means for total liberation. I’m more interested as an editor in the aspect of packaging the chungai people’s culture to the world to consume. I want to in a way furnish the chungai narratives with its true aesthetic which has been left dusty. So Chungai agazine should be what the world should expect.
What are the difficulty you’re facing as a writer from Southern Kaduna?
The difficulty I’m facing as a writer from Southern Kaduna especially as a fictional writer that I am is the fact that only little or no fictional literature has come from Southern Kaduna. Writing itself demands a lot of readings and research so also fictional writing. As a writer from SK it is difficult to connect to some of the pass experiences of the SK people because they were not written down and even the act of story telling and historical stories between parents and children have warned out for the visual world. Parents from SK prefer to sit with their children watch the documentary and stories of other people and places than educating the children about their roots. So this have made writing and research difficult for me as an aspiring writer from SK. But then I’m pushing on and utilizing the little materials at my disposal.
So what are your parting words?
My parting words is a call for all SK people to involve themselves in the art of writing their own story, except they do this, nobody will write their story for them, and even if anyone will help them write their stories, they should know that it will never be in their favour. Hence the saying “Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” Thank you!