Bisi Fayemi, Loud and Clear!


The favourite saying of my late mother was, ‘Ai le soro, ni bere ori buruku’ which translates into, ‘a closed mouth precedes closed destiny’. That much can be glimpsed from the philosophical underpinning of the writings of Mrs Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi which, according to her, derives from a conversation she once had with a grieving friend. And on Tuesday night in Abuja, she dazzled her audience comprising top government officials, members of the diplomatic community, activists, seasoned writers and politicians with the manner she explained what informs her interventions in the public space.

As the lead discussant at the reading of her latest collection of essays, I can attest to the fact that ‘Loud Whispers’, which represents the thoughts of a wife, a mother, a professional, a rights activist and certainly a leading feminist is a compelling read. The 65 essays gleaned from her blog posts over a period of 20 months are both refreshing and engaging. The fact that she does not tiptoe around issues makes the work appealing and with her frank temperament, she adds humour to enhance her argument without being offensive.

Divided into eight sections, every essay in ‘Loud Whispers’ speaks to the society which the author is keenly interested in while the language is friendly and the bold print makes it a delight for avid readers. Apparently bothered by the misunderstanding that enshrouds the concept of feminism, the author takes her time to educate anyone with bias against feminism. In her words, “Women do not want to replace patriarchy with matriarchy. We want to live in a world in which there is mutual respect, rights for all, and opportunities that are not mediated by the sex we are born with.”

From gender-based violence to sexual exploitation to politics and religion, it is fascinating how the author was able to weave sundry issues together to make an interesting whole. And just when you think the book will be ideal only for women, Mrs Fayemi comes with suggestions on how to be a good husband.

With the Libya story on slavery still trending, her piece titled, ‘Cold Alone and Forgotten’ captures the struggles of African migrants the world over. While she hinges her narrative on her experience in England, it is sadly the case in other places around the world. This trend will continue as long as our ever increasing youth population does not have any hope of survival and the political class continues to pretend all is well.

The author also writes on the pitfalls of unbridled use of the social media and the negative impact it is having on societal values. Consenting adults, according to Mrs Fayemi, “can do whatever they like in private…you like recording yourself while you have sex? Enjoy. You like posing in your birthday suit? Good for you…Why do you need an audience for any of these adventures?”

On Tuesday, we had an engaging conversation, especially as the audience pushed Mrs Fayemi to define the boundaries of feminism. ‘How do we explain a situation in which the kitchen knife has suddenly become a weapon of man destruction with some aggrieved wives literally and metaphorically now taking the law into their own hands?’, I sought to provoke but she was in her comfort zone. At the end, there were ‘testimonies’ by big men who said they had been converted into becoming feminists based on the author’s persuasive arguments.

Mrs Fayemi’s husband, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, who came with some of his colleagues in the federal executive council, gave a vote of thanks that spoke to an abiding faith that the power imbalances can be bridged with mutual respect between and across genders.

No doubt, the collection of essays comes highly recommended not only because of the way and manner Mrs Fayemi tackles different issues, but also because her robust wit and clear expression makes the work ideal for both the young and old. It is a fascinating book that is full of wisdom but more importantly nobody needs to strain their ears to hear Mrs Fayemi. Her call in the book is indeed louder than whispers.

This article was first published in This Day Newspaper

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2 Responses to Bisi Fayemi, Loud and Clear!

  1. Samuel February 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I have read the book and it is indeed Loud Whispers. She drives her point with humor and finesse. I enjoyed every bit of it with its lessons.

  2. Prof. Rossi Ino February 18, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Honorable Doctor Fayemi:
    Springer has invited me to prepare a second edition of “Frontiers of Globalization Research” which I edited for them in 2007 and I am trying to close the list of contributors with a few African scholars, especially women. Hon. Abena Busia has mentioned your name which I have soon realized to be and excellent choice.
    Let me first explain the nature of my undertaking. The purpose of the 2007 book was to make explicit the theoretical and methodological components of various approaches to the study of globalization. Continuing with that goal in mind, the new volume will also rethink the globalization process in the light of the 2008 financial crisis and Brexit and attempt to formulate policy recommendations for a sustainable globalization .
    The new book will feature the (surviving) senior scholars of the first edition, with the majority of them offering new essays: Martin Albrow (‘Keeping up with the Times: Narrative Shifts in the Global Age- -& now working on a globalization paradigm), Christopher Chase-Dunn et al. (Global Indigenism and the Web of Transnational Social Movements), Robert Schaefer (Globalization and exclusionary movements), Rudolph Stichweh (A Theory of World Society), Saskia Sassen (Micro instances of the global), James Leslie Sklair( Globalization and the challenge of the Anthropocene) , Karin Knorr Cetina ( Synthetic institutions: Institutionalism for a Global World). Jeffrey Alexander, Giovanni Arrighi/Silvers, Jonathan Friedman) will provide updated version of the essays they wrote in the first edition.
    We shall have more NEW CONTRIBUTORS: Roland Robertson ( on globalization, glocalization, Trumpism, Brexitism as well as global populism) , Jonathan Turner (Theorizing Inter-societal Dynamics: Some General Principles),Christopher Chase-Dunn joining Marilyn Grell with a paper on Mind the Gap! Clustered Obstacles to mobility in the core/Periphery Hierarchy), Manfred Steger (Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii on Transdisciplinarity in Global Studies Research), Paul James (Manifesto for Sustainable Globalization: ecological, economic, political and cultural), Anne Sophie Krossa (Mainz Catholic University of Applied Sciences, on Glocalization via Conflict: World Order and the Issue of Collectivity versus Individuality”), Barrie Axford (Oxford Brookes University, on Brexit, Trumpism, post-truth politics, and the future of liberal order-), Geoffrey Pleyers (Louvain University, Belgium , on the Global Age and environmentalist movements), Salvatore Babones (University of Sidney, on The American World-System: Globalization and the Structure of the Post-Modern Economy), Vishwas Satgar(Department of International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, on Alternatives to Neoliberal Globalization), Jörg Dürrschmid (University of Kassel, Germany on an existential view of globalization (tentative), Sabine Selchow (Research Associate of London School of Economics on the politics of the adjective ‘global’), Michael Dreiling (Sociology, University of Oregon on International Trade versus Protectionism), Jurgen Schraten (Sociology Institute, Giessen University, Germany with a paper on “ Re-embracing the masses economically: global financialization”).
    Another novelty of this planned publication is a focus on globalization as seen from the Global South: ALVIN Y. SO ( Chair of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) with a paper on the resurgence of China and the transformation of world economy and world order ); Didem Buhari Gulmez ( International Relations, Istanbul Kemerburgaz University) with a paper on political globalization focusing on Europe in a global context); Joy Y. Zhang, ( School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, UK), with a paper on ‘national policy formation and the practice of cosmopolitan citizenship in China; the scholar Wang Ning has just joined with a paper on “ The impact of globalization on the cultural traditions and glocalized practices in modern China”; Richard Heydarian (Department of international affairs and political science, De La Salle University, Manila with a paper on Populism and the anti-globalization backlash in Asia: Dutertismo in 21 st century) ; Tom Conley ( School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, on sustainable globalization from an Australian perspective); Habibul Khondker (Sociology and Anthropology, Zayed University, Dubai) with a paper on Globalization in Asia or Asian globalization? ; Riccardo Pelizzo (School of Public Policy, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan ) and Zim Nwokora (Department of Politics and Policy Studies, Deakin University, Australia) with a paper on Development in Africa: achievements, challenges and prospects) ; Abel Kinyondo ( Director of Strategic Research at REPOA, a research think-tank in Tanzania) with a paper on -Sticky Challenges Crowding A Decade of Impressive Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa; Jeb Sprague-Silgado ( Sociology, University of California Santa Barbara) with a paper on the socio-economic structure of the Caribbean, and how, through globalization, many nationally and internationally oriented processes in the region are becoming transnationalized); Ronald Munck (Head of Civic and Global Engagement at Dublin City University) with a paper on “Latin America between the promises of globalization and the chimera of nationalism” ; Vladimir Pacheco Cueva (Department of Global Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark) with a paper on the impact of Pink Tide economic policies on post GFC Latin America) and Paul Almeida (Chair of Sociology, University of California at Merced, on globalization and Central America). I have added papers on the cultural impact of globalization in the Global South: June Nash for Latin America, Ming-Chang Tsai x East Asia, Sen Rukmini for India and I intend to do the same with Sub Sahran African cultureS. The finak step is to secure your contribution and other luminaries from Mainland China and Japan.
    As you may gleem from above, the book will consist of four sections: section one on theoretical issues; section two on the cultural, economic, and political facets of globalization,including a discussion of underdevelopment, global inequality, global poverty (Robert Holton on inequality and poverty) , antiglobalization movements; section three on the cultural and economic impact of globalization in the Global South; a final section on a more viable – or alternatives to- globalization to which I seek to add a closing su-section on globalization and civilizational convergencies (tentative). As already mentioned , we aim also at formulating policy recommendations in all the papers which should not be longer than 5500-6000 words, including notes and references with some flexibility.The essays of the early contributors are due on June 1, 2018; those of recent joiners late in the summer.
    Hon. Faemi. As you can see, I have secured strong papers from Asia, Latin America, Europe and USA authors, but I still need some solid scholarly representation of Africa in this volume. So far I seem to have a co-authored paper (with two African authors) on African development and possibly a paper on globalization’s impact on African political culture (law, democracy, etcs) . I need published African authors for a paper on globalization and poverty and inequality in Africa and on the impact of globalization on African traditional cultures and ways of life.Social movement and struggle for human rights may also be an area still to be covered and I am open to other suggestions from you. Female African scholars and activists would be at a premium, beginning from yourself.
    I am trying to reach you via this web site because I do not have your own email address. I hope to hear from you soon.


    Ino Rossi (516.4827679), Emeritus, St John’s University, New York City, USA.

    Editor of “Frontiers of Globalization Research”: Springer 2007/8
    Frontiers of Globalization Research: – Theoretical and …

    = Recent author of “ Global Interaction and Identity in Structuralist and Dialectic Perspectives: toward a Typology of Psycho-cultural Identities,” for the volume “Globalizing Cultures: Theories, Paradigms, Actions”, edited by Vincenzo Mele and Marina Vujnovic, Brill. 2016.
    (At )
    Globalizing Cultures | Brill
    Through a comparative analysis of representations of globalization the book Globalizing Cultures: Theories, Paradigms, Actions examines the way cultures and …

    = Previous books:

    = Presently working also on the second draft of a contracted manuscript on globalization …by many dimensions (historical, cultural, political economic), unexpected turns and even surprising findings!!


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