Gbemi soke, gbemi dide,
Fami lowo soke, kin ga ju a’iye lo,
Ogo a’iye me, jeko yo jade,
Fami lowo soke, ma ma je ko pe¹

Anu sang around the house as she mopped. This song has been her mantra for the past few days. Today was no different, until all of a sudden she went quiet then asked Kunle to rewind what he was watching on TV. I looked up from my book to see the call to auditions for “Nigeria’s got Talent”. I immediately made a resolution not to be roped into the madness I knew was about to ensue. However, much to my surprise, Anu successfully enlisted Kunle’s help. Over the next few days, they shot a video of her singing “Yes You Can” by Donnie McClurkin with daddy’s camcorder and emailed it to the given address.

Weeks later, we got a reply with her invitation for the Lagos auditions, which were to hold on December 21st. Her enthusiasm was contagious and mum bought her an outfit to wear, and agreed to have the driver take her all the way to Ojodu-Berger where they were to hold. Kunle and I agreed to accompany her. Yes, I know I said I would not take part in all this, but are you kidding me, why would I pass up an opportunity to get up close and personal with Dami Cole, one of the judges; as hot as he was talented.

The day finally rolled around and awed would be an understatement to describe my reaction to the vast number of people present when we got there. Human traffic stretched for blocks around the venue. For the first time ever, I saw a new side to Anu; fear took hold and she paced up and down rehearsing quietly. I left her backstage with Kunle, and went into the auditorium to watch the performances. Contestant after contestant came up; ranging from the bizarre to the bland to the exceptional to the delusional.

Finally her turn came around and after a brief discussion with the judges, Anu launched into her song “Fire on the Mountain” by Asa, she started off beautifully and the audience went so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

I suppose what happened next can only be attributed to stage fright; she stopped a few seconds into her song and started dancing along. It was awkward and painful to watch, not because she couldn’t dance, but because it was a run, stand, run sequence and she was mumbling her words. Next thing we heard was

There is fire on the mountain, run, run, run,
A big, big fire, run, run, run²

I suppose it goes without saying that she failed to get through to the next stage and came out in tears. We gathered round to hug her and reassured her there would be more opportunities in future.

¹ Lift me higher, lift me up, take my hands and lift me, that I may be higher than the world, the glory of my life, let it come out, take my hands and lift me, don’t tarry

² Words of a Nigerian children’s game


If you haven’t read Anu’s earlier tales, you can find them all here