/etymology. nigerian. pidgin/
- (verb) To leave; to depart; to go away (often from a place).
- (verb) To run away from (often from danger) (in unpleasant circumstances).
To Japa is to leave a place because you are no longer happy with it. Sometimes one can develop a conflicted relationship with a place because of what one sees around it.
One can also want to leave a place to satiate wanderlust. One can leave a place for economic reasons. One can leave a place because of war or, as Warsan Shire puts it in her poem, because ‘home is no longer home.’ One can leave a place to find freedom.
One can leave a place on a journey of self-discovery. There are so many reasons why
one might want leave a place.
In recent times in Nigeria, young people, professionals, families, are ‘japa-ing’ in
droves to find greener pastures overseas. In Nigeria, ‘Japa’ has become a byword for
the recent spike in the emigration of youths to overseas countries. Many are departing because their country has turned into a dysfunctional society where young people cannot find opportunities, where education is in shambles, where healthcare is a shambolic performance, where civil servants are paid poorly, where the only people who have a lot of money to throw around are grey-haired politicians. People are leaving their countries because when they look into the distant horizon, all they see is a grey mass of ashes, dying embers, and a generous amount of hopelessness.
To japa is to be free, to seek greener pastures, to find your voice, to encounter the sunrays of hope, to regain your future, to actualise dreams, to have the world as a
canvas, to become, to breathe again—or the opposite of all these.
Japa encapsulates themes of home, exile and return; it could be a conflicted
relationship with home on an emotional or physical level; it could also point to
primordial human instincts such as survival; it could be on immigration ordeal,
diaspora experience, etc. The theme could be political, personal or panoramic. The
husk matters less than the essence.
Follow our Submission Guidelines to send us works on the above theme for the
first issue of NgigaReview. We accept fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. We also accept art/photography submissions.
All other relevant information about how to submit are in the submission guidelines.
Submission Deadline: November 1, 2022