Uwem Umana

By Elizabeth Osayande

For a Nigerian-UK-based author, Uwem Umana, staying abroad for over two decades never diminished his love for the rich folklore of his native land. It is no wonder that this young Nigerian who has traversed the world as an educator, essayist, and sports lover, and more, uses his pen and craft to share his experience, such that his recent collection of short stories, titled, ”Son of the Soil” serves as a testament.

In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Umana, an English teacher, coach, and mentor, who has taught in three continents; Africa, Europe, and Asia, stated that he has published the following: A collection of short stories titled Dead and Other Stories (2021); an anthology of poems titled Awakening the Troubadours (A New Anthology, (2003) edited by Taye Anavhe, and a collection of poems titled Drums and Blues (1999). He is also one of the contributors to the book ‘Improving Professional Learning through In-house Inquiry.”

The storyteller and founder of an online platform for creative discourse, https://enrichyourmind.co.uk/ sheds light of his recent work, ”Son of the Soil and Other Stories”. According to Umana: “It is the second collection out of the 25 volume collection that will be released gradually to the public to enrich people’s minds. It is the continuation of my compilation of stories as a teacher, traveler, and nature enthusiast. It teaches life skills via stories and enriches the minds on how to deal with the different contemporary issues in life like parenting, being a role model, dealing with mediocrity, forgiveness, discipline, focus, etc in a dramatic way.

“The title is taken from one of the stories which is about a Nigerian returnee from the States and how he captures events several years after he has been gone.

“This collection also includes ‘The Pearl’ by Pearl Umana, my daughter. The story was read to a group of year five students at British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi and it was warmly received and enjoyed by the students. Currently, the book is doing very well on Amazon and there was a time the book was 7th place on African stories on the Amazon Kindle version. It has received wide reviews and the reviews are still growing.”

The Leadership and Management Masters holder, from Warwick University, UK explains that the title of the novel is the main story that stood out during this compilation in terms of being the meeting and melting point between the West, Middle Eastern, and African conflicts.

He adds that his audience is curious-minded people who are keen to learn about other cultures. “While my main age demographics are 14 to 45 years old folks, scholars of African literature, and young people in secondary and tertiary institutions can also eenjoy the stories.

Umana, a creative enthusiast who has been in the publishing industry for 20 years described the Nigeria creative sector as : “a very vast industry that is filled with lots of materials and creative talents. It is like a deep-sea filled with many fishes and oceanic creatures and depending on the type of fish you are looking for, you can get it. This is what makes the creative industry in Nigeria exciting. It’s free for all. What you make out of it, is dependent on your input.

Why noting that his works through his writings and video broadcasts aim to raise people that will defy 𝒎𝒆𝒅𝒊𝒐𝒄𝒓𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒊𝒕. His words: “I want to raise a people who will be tech-savvy and not complacent. I hope to raise confident young men and women who will rise to the challenge of any occasion; people who will not be afraid to try. These people will take the future with storm. That is the people that my writings at EnrichYourMind hope to raise.”

It is not an easy task. It takes grit, it takes commitment, it takes dedication, it takes hardwork, it takes resources. But this is my burden, my cross, my purpose. My stories create a platform for sharing of inspiration, motivation and knowledge so that the individual can be empowered to realise his/her true potential.” Umana stated.

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