Archive | October 2015

Mordi debuts with true African story


There was a time when traditional storytelling was an essential part of family life. Then, the family storyteller would sit on a stool slightly elevated from the mat on which the story-hearers sit.

The Familiar Stranger and Other Stories

But with the advent of television and radio, computers, mobile devices, especially smartphones and tabs, in the mix, the traditional once-upon-a-time stories were relegated to villages, and thus the messages that follow is lost. Though many have tried in their little way to revive the culture, but one man that is bent on doing that in a special way is Frederick Mordi, a past winner of the Commonwealth Short Stories Competition, who recently came out with a new book entitled:The Familiar Stranger and Other Stories. Frederick Mordi, has joined the growing list of Nigerian authors that are championing African literature, with his recently released collection of short stories.

Mordi’s debut anthology, The Familiar Stranger and Other Stories, is a collection of eight short stories that reveal his versatility as a writer.

Mordi in the 135 page book published by New Africa Book Publisher tells the compelling stories of ordinary people trying to make ends meet and the not so ordinary people engaged in power play. In the beautifully designed cover book which features eight stories segmented into eight chapters, the author offers the reader an insight into what life is like in the two settings, weaving the stories around a tapestry of memorable characters and contemporary themes such as morality, integrity and romance in its pristine form. The locations of his stories oscillate largely between serene rustic dwellings and bustling cities.

In chapter one which is where the book got its title, Familiar stranger, the author narrates the story of how a stranger who happens to know the village paid them a visit with bad intention. The story did not just go like that, rather the author fused it with many other incidents that caught the attention of the readers before finally arriving at the visit.

Chapter two, titled The Farmer’s Daughter, tells an interesting account of some of the happenings in the olden days. How a farmer, Mazi Achara refused to send her daughter Obiageli to school, how efforts by the Chief Inspector of Education, Mr Erastus Udoka to make him change his mind failed and how Erastus finally took him to court and won the case.

In The Political Spider, the author recounts the activities of politicians, how they come with sweet words, promise heaven on earth just to win elections.

Money Palaver, a typical scenario that happens in most poor families. Here Pa Azuka has been trying with his little earning to cater for the family, but the wife will not allow him to rest as she keeps on demanding at all times. Things went out of hand when Azuka picked an envelope containing huge sums of money in dollars, an amount that will automatically take them out of poverty, but as a good man instead of keeping it to himself, he decided to give it back to the owner, an action that made the wife and son to unleash all sorts of talk. But , as a man of integrity he returned it and as fate would have it, he handsomely rewarded, an action that made the wife to apologize.

Other short stories in the collection includes, How Oma Got a Wife, The Village Letter Writer, The Doctor’s Wife and The Senator’s Car, one of the highly commended stories that won a prize in the 2004 Commonwealth Short Stories Competition, for the Africa region.

Though, the stories are presented in lucid language, it did not make it to lose their essence. Each plot is simple with logical lessons. Moreover, his use of proverbs and dialogue is also quite commendable.

The stories, locations and texts are good, thereby making them ready scripts for stage performances. There is no dull moment, the author made it so simple, in that it will hold the attention of readers to the end.

Culled from:


Messi: Need to protect prized players

By Frederick Mordi


In 1994, FIFA announced a ban on tackling from behind. The world’s football governing body took the decision, shortly before the World Cup held that year in the United States, to protect valuable players. This followed a series of persistent and deliberate hard tackles that prematurely ended the career of Marco van Basten, one of the best footballers in the world at the time.


It has been almost three weeks since the current soccer sensation, Lionel Messi, was sidelined by a knee injury he suffered during a match between his club, Barcelona, and Las Palmas. According to reports, Messi might not be able to lace his boots for his club until 22nd November when his team faces rivals, Real Madrid. The media have been understandably following every step he is taking to get back on his feet again. Messi, himself, has been using the social media to update fans on his progress so far.

Messi recovery

While Messi is on ‘forced leave,’ his fellow teammates Luis Suarez and Neymar, have tried to hold the fort. But without a Messi to strike fear into the hearts of defenders, opponents appear to be getting bolder as they try to tame a lame Barcelona. The limping Barcelona lost 2-1 to Sevilla, and 4-1 to lowly rated Celta Vigo, in recent games played during Messi’s absence.

Should Messi not recover on time to lead his club’s attack against a more formidable team like Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid, the outcome of the highly anticipated match, might be easily predictable. No doubt, Barca’s coach, Luis Enrique, must be feeling miserable by now as he anxiously awaits the doctors’ verdict on Messi.

A number of high profile footballers have had their promising career truncated by a series of injuries. Prominent among them include van Basten of Holland, who was earlier mentioned, Ronaldo da Lima of Brazil, and Nigeria’s Daniel ‘the bull’ Amokachi.

Marco van Basten


Marco van Basten retired from football at the age of 28 due to injuries that he sustained from nasty defenders over the years. He got little or no protection from the referees, until FIFA waded in. By then, it was a little too late.

Ronaldo da Lima

Ronaldo 2

Few strikers today can match Ronaldo’s power and speed on the field in his heydays. Nicknamed ‘the phenomenon,’ he was like a missile that ripped through the defence line of opponents with ease. Again, injury cut short his promising career.

Daniel Amokachi


Daniel ‘the bull’ Amokachi was equally unstoppable during his playing days. He did creditably well both at the club level and with the Nigerian national team, before he too, succumbed to injury.

Messi 2

Since Messi has become a prized asset to Barcelona his club; Argentina his native country; and football fans across the world, referees should do more to protect him from the fierce tackles of ruthless defenders. He is too young to quit the stage.

The ovation has just begun.



The Familiar Stranger

Familier Stranger full

Excerpts from The Familiar Stranger and Other Stories, a new novel by Frederick Mordi

As Tambolo chewed the big lump of bush meat dripping with oil, absent-mindedly, the thought flashed across his mind again. He had been struggling with his conscience since Avarice, an old friend, dropped the idea on his mind.

“Opportunity,” Avarice had argued passionately, “comes but once. Here is your chance to strike it rich—the chance you have been waiting for! You won’t have to take rubbish from anybody again. Strike while the iron is still hot. Delays are dangerous!”

“No! Don’t do it!” Conscience pleaded with Tambolo, “it is a criminal act. Adverse conditions do not last forever. You are passing through a stage in your life. Fight on to the last and your reward shall be great. Banish this evil thought from your heart once and for all. While there is life, there is hope.”

Both thoughts played ping pong in Tambolo’s mind…