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Koko Kalango’s One Love… Set for virtual presentation

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Koko Kalango’s new book, One Love: Over A Century of Jamaicans Contribution to Nigeria’s Development, is set for virtual presentation. Though some important details are still being firmed up, the presentation is scheduled for December 12, 2020.

The book, which covers a period of over 170 years, is divided into three parts: Pre-Nigeria to the amalgamation (1850s- 1914), amalgamation to independence (1914-1960) and independence to date (1960-2020). It documents efforts in various fields and covers stories from different parts of Nigeria.

However, for the purpose of Kalango’s narratives, the definition of a Jamaican has been narrowed down to the first-generation rather than those, like herself, who acquired citizenship by descent.

The book is a memento to mark the golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Jamaica (April 29, 2020).
Fifty profiles, a symbolic number representing the years both countries have had formal ties, are used for the reader to enjoy.

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Koko, author of several books including two coffee table books — Nigerian Literature; A Coat of Many Colours, (which profiles 50 Nigerian Authors in 50 years of independence) with foreword by President Goodluck Jonathan, and African Literature; A Coat of Many Colours, (which profiles 50 African authors in 50 years of the African Union) with foreword by Chief Emeka Anyaoku (former Commonwealth Secretary- General). She is also the author of the Colours of Life devotional.

Speaking to The Guardian on the book project, she said, it is more of interrogating the relationship between Jamaica and Nigeria. Her words, “we can trace the first contact of Jamaican nationals with the land that is now Nigeria to the mid-1800s. A study of their activities in Nigeria shows considerable contribution to development in the fields of education, health, enterprise, media, religion and so much more. This legacy continues through the work of children of Jamaican descent. I believe the efforts of these men and women deserve documentation. Such a record would enrich the history of both countries and strengthen the ties between them.”

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This book has been inspired by her mother’s life, her interaction with other Jamaicans as well as her relating with Jamaican High Commissioners to Nigeria: Dudley Thomson, Robert Miller, Anne Scott and now Esmond Reid.

She said, “as the daughter of a Jamaican woman (and indeed a Jamaican national), a lover of history and a publisher, I am excited to embark on this project to document the part played by Jamaicans in the making of the Nigerian story. This coffee table book will be an invaluable addition to the library of those who have been part of this story, those who understand its importance, as well as the archives of both countries.”

Koko said, “my 85-year-old mum passed away a few days ago. I had hoped she would be here when we launched the book. That not withstanding, I am eager to go ahead and launch as planned, in her honour.”

Koko is a freelance writer and founder of the Rainbow Book Club, whose work in promoting reading amongst young people in Nigeria for over nine years, culminated in Port Harcourt being UNESCO World Book Capital 2014. This project was successfully delivered under her oversight as Project Director. For this honour brought to Nigeria, Mrs. Kalango received a national award.

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