Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever - Heaven gave it to me

Olawale and Oluwole are dreadlocked Yoruba lawyers, minority human rights activists fighting for a better Nigeria. Bisexual and closeted, Olawale has spent his adult life protecting and defending his charismatic, more evidently homosexual twin; but when the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act becomes law, they, their family, and the women who love them are caught in a savage spotlight that threatens to wreck all their lives. In the midst of this Wole and Wale must deal with an estranged convict father whose unexpected reappearance brings dark and troubling family secrets to light.

Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever celebrates the enduring power of love, desire, faith, patriotism and human rights struggle in the face of political oppression and religious prejudice in Nigeria today. It extends the literary conversation begun by Jude Dibia and continued by Chinelo Okparanta.

 

"I am so excited by this novel. Meant for an African audience, it is a fun read. The descriptions of the gay scene in Nigeria are accurate and interesting."

Binyavanga Wainaina

Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever is a brave work that seeks to counter the narrative of victim homosexuals in Nigeria’s state-sanctioned homophobia. Twins, young, lawyers, would-be Afropolitans, Wale and Wole Damian are LGBT defenders and litigators determined to challenge Nigeria’s anti-homosexuality law and change social mores around multiple sexualities and gender identities. In Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever the twins and Nigeria’s LGBTI community are determined to live their lives to the fullest, in the closet and out, get married, go underground, and have lovers. It’s a survival that engages and is presented with richness and complexities. Wale explains his need for women as central to his life, but he is also aware of the difference between love and desire. In this case one may love women, but it is men that are desired.

The tensions and fear aroused by the passing of the anti-homosexuality bill, and the multiple challenges that survival and life require, are woven throughout the text. We are never quite sure if the twins will survive the risk it takes to live an LGBTIQ reality in Nigeria.

I congratulate the author and look forward to hearing more from him about this work, and what it means for them personally, and their community in Nigeria.” 

Sokari Ekine, Queer Africa Reader

 

“Nnanna Ikpo is that rare thing, a Nigerian in Nigeria writing about LGBT life there. For that, he is to be treasured.” 

Rev. Jide Macaulay, founder, House of Rainbow

 

“Honestly well written. A great ability to capture a scene in a few telling words and a character through dialogue. Nnanna succeeds in vernacularising and humanising LGBT, mixing personal and political deftly.” 

Frans Viljoen, Director: Centre for Human Rights, Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Pretoria

 

“Nnanna has created a loving, exasperated, optimistic, and troubling depiction of contemporary Nigeria, rich with insights that enrich our understanding of the struggles for human rights and sexual health throughout the continent. Beautiful and idealistic, thoughtful and horny, his young characters navigate the shoals of sexuality, family, social media, and careers in the context of shifting traditional values, Nigeria’s fraught political scene, and today’s easy global connections.”

Marc Epprecht, Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa; Hungochani

 

“The creativity in Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever is mind blowing. In a legalistic world Nnanna [has] found an exciting means to communicate the need for respect and tolerance among humans of all races, colour and orientation. Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever is indeed a timely call to let every man be and follow his chosen path.” 

Dr. Azubike Onuora Oguno, International human rights lawyer and advocate, lecturer, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

 

“A fascinating first novel. Nnanna’s story of twin Nigerian lawyer brothers grappling with sexual identity, against the backdrop of legal, cultural and religious opposition to anything other than the heteronorm, is exciting, troubling, passionate and earnest. Nnanna makes a compelling case for Africans to celebrate sexual and gender diversity, without necessarily rejecting the traditions and ways which root citizens in their homelands.” 

Pierre Brouard, Deputy Director, Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender, University of Pretoria

 

“Outside Africa – and even within – the situation of sexual minorities is usually seen in black-and-white terms: as a heroic struggle against unrelenting hate or as a perverse, ‘unAfrican’ conspiracy. Fimí sílẹ̀ Forever is a fascinating corrective to these simplistic myths. A sprawling, complex saga of courage and compromise, hope and betrayal, harmony and hate that unfolds against the colourful background of Africa’s most dynamic society, Nnanna Ikpo’s debut novel challenges us to see African modernity in all its rich and contradictory exuberance.”

Prof. John McAllister, Dept. of English (rtd), University of Botswana

 

Fimi sile Forever