It is such an amazing moment whenever I find myself at Akwaba events (African Travel Market). You get to meet different people from various part of the world with captivating things to see and the interaction is superb; I find it interesting learning about people and their culture, it’s just great.
Walking down from the entrance of the event hall, my eyes landed on the South African stand from afar, the display was so mind-blowing that I couldn’t resist but to make sure I visit their stand. I immediately fell in love with the attire a young lady and a guy wearing; the printed fabric and beads looked so nice on them.
Quickly I asked for a selfie shot which they didn’t hesitate to join me smiling as I took the shots. I couldn’t resist but just had to ask which region or part of South Africa the attire represent. The young lady smiled and replied “Xhosa”, which was new to me because I never heard of such tribe, all I know is the Zulu or Swahili people. So that’s how I asked her briefly about the tribe out of curiosity which; interestingly led to these findings.
The Xhosa people are known to be from Bantu ethic group of South Africa. Although they are divided into several tribe with related distinct heritage. The xhosa people refers themselves as the Amoxhosa and their language is known as Isixhosa.
Yankari game reserve came to existence because of Mallam Mohammed Ngurima wali of Borno who visited Sudan and sited a lot of species at the River Nile valley. He became amazed and decides to look for a place that have such species in Nigeria, he set up a committee in search of the place. Yankari was part of the place that the committee was send to go for observation which at the end Yankari was chosen as the first premier game reserve in west Africa.
The game reserve was established in 1956 and became a commercial center for tourist in 1962 and up till date. The game reserve lie on the guinea and Sudan savanna, that’s why Yankari have two different types of vegetation. yankari game reserve covers area of 2244.10 square kilometers with different kinds species of wild animals such as 26 different species of Fish, 17 different species of reptiles, 7 amphibians, 52 spices of mammals, 350 species of birds. 130 of the birds are familiar with environment and 50 species of birds are migrants.
Since the development of Yankari it was maintained by some NGOs who contributed towards the development of the game reserve under the regime of the federal government. The Voluntary service organization (VSO) came to Yankari and help in the awareness of illegal purchasers as a comprehensive design along the communities, the
I was going through my mobile phone as I have always done when I wake up in the morning as usual going through my social media plat forms. An unsolicited advert popped in with the inscription “EXPLORE BAUCHI” which I had to ignore at that moment for some information’s that i considered more pressing. One week later, the same ads resurfaces for the second time thereby arousing my curiosity to find out what it’s all about. I was astonished by my findings; it was about travelling and tourism which really aligned with my interest. I haven’t concealed my passion for travelling just as I don’t want to miss any chance of exploring the beauty of other people’s cultures, historical monuments in short everything about tourism. When I called one of the contact numbers that I saw on the ads flyer for more inquiries, I wasted no time in deciding to be part of the trip. My first impression of the Yankari trip was a mixed-grill, the first day of the journey was to me awkward at the beginning; coming in contact with people of diverse ethnic groups from different parts of the country. However, my initial move was trying to identify who is who following my earlier conversation with some guys on a WhatsApp group that was created few days to the trip. Chatting was really fun and exciting as we all tried to familiarise before meeting each other; I can’t forget in a hurry people like BOM, my group husband Eric, who almost got married to me via the whatsApp (laugh).
The choppy boat ride only lasted about 20 minutes to Makoko, but in that time, I considered whether I would need to paddle to shore. We were approaching a new locale. Houses ahead…on water.
A shout of “Yevo” was quickly taken up and chorused repeatedly at high volume like a rallying cry. Eyes everywhere were upon us. Children shouting, dancing, posing, pointing. People staring, some friendly, most curious, some suspicious, still others disdainful. Welcome to Makoko, the stilt village of Lagos.
A place almost of folklore, Makoko has existed as a fishing village for over a century. In fact, most of the fish sold in markets all over Lagos is caught by the Makoko fishing community. Sometimes ironically referred to as the “Venice of Africa”, it was once a target for demolition by the Lagos State government in 2012 to transform the slum village into luxury property.
After much public outcry and opposition, the demolition was halted as a regeneration plan was submitted to the State government, though it is unclear what steps have since been taken in implementing the proposed regeneration. With a population said to be over 100,000 mainly composed of Egun migrants from Badagry, but also of the Ijo from Ondo and some Beninoise, the diversity of the residents is heard in conversations as strains of French and Yoruba and other tongues are spoken.
Our guide was the brother of the local chief, Shemade Noah who welcomed us with refreshments. Cruising through the canals of Makoko was a fascinating experience. As we saw the large numbers of boats gliding up and down the waterways, I noted that Lagos’ trademark traffic is not confined to motor vehicles on land. It was remarkable to see very young children expertly navigate the waterways by boat on their own.
Someone in the group asked Mr Noah to confirm or deny the oft peddled anecdote that the people of Makoko would throw newborn children into the water. He laughed off the urban myth but explained that most of the kids from the age of 4 learn to swim by teaching themselves. Sadly, whilst the children seemed perfectly adept with navigating the waters and running their floating shops, there appears to be a very low percentage of those children who attend school on a regular basis.
This is due to a number of reasons including the fact that there is only one school in the stilt village with 249 students. Clearly with a population of over 100,000 there simply won’t be enough places for all the children. There is also a lot of suspicion of the schools on the land and parents are reluctant to send their young ones to schools on land due to perceived dangers.
That negative perception of the “land” and the “Yevo” (which means “white man”) was evident as we cruised through the “Venice of Africa”. Although I had been keen for a while to see this other side of Lagos and better understand my city, it quickly became apparent that most people and even the children had an aversion to cameras.
I could understand their unease particularly in respect to pictures as I have never and will never advocate poverty tourism. But at the same time, I do think it is important for Makoko to be seen and experienced and for awareness to be raised to support the needs of the local people. To that end, I tried to respect their privacy by mainly focusing my pictures on the buildings of the stilt village itself but I think as we left, the residents were glad to see the back of us. For my part, I had seen so many paintings of this particular locale and I am so pleased to now have finally been to the mysterious and intriguing waterworld of Makoko.
Regular trips to Makoko are organised by the Nigerian Field Society. The monies from the trip fees go toward supporting the Makoko Floating School by paying two teachers’ salaries and the general upkeep of the village.
Written By Bidemi Adesanya
In every culture, tradition is key part of the identity of that ethnic group, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. The members of that cultural group try as much as possible to keep it alive and by showcasing periodically, and it can be obvious in their character as they interact with others in their day to day activity.
The historic Kano Kingdom is no exception when it comes to display of their heritage, which is still in practice till today especially in the matters of the Royal household. Paying homage to the Queen Mother is a strong tradition practised by the King whenever he returns from an official journey or visit outside the kingdom.
This visit to the Emir’s Mother’s home [called Zuwa Babban Daki – literally “Going to the Great Room”] is one of the most cherished traditions of the Emir of Kano, that is inherited, valued and practiced by generation of Emirs for centuries. It is celebrated with cultural pomp and pageantry, even though not with the full grandeur of the real Durbar displayed during the Eid/Sallah celebrations. It is still a sight to behold.
The Emir will be wearing colorful royal attire, riding a beautifully decorated horses as citizens come out to hail him on his way to Babban Daki. He is accompanied and escorted by an entourage of his Council Members – the Wambai, the Tafida and other numerous title holders with their horses and flags. Providing safety and security are the Royal Guards and Protocol Official. Algaita (Trumpet) sounds of Royal musicians fills the air, capturing every bystanders’ mind in an exciting and sensational way even from a far distance. The colorful parade is certainly hard to ignore, as it almost magically pull more crowd, towards the beats of special royal drums (Tambari). Cheers and joyful waves of citizens, adult and children adds to the flavor of happiness to the gentle and majestic procession to the home of the Emir’s Mother.
Nigeria is blessed with so many cultural heritage and natural resources that is yet to be explored to the outside world. In Nigeria Tourism is yet to be identified as a major income to the country because of the poor image of Nigeria and Nigerians internationally. Tourism has become global leisure over 1.1 billion international tourist travels worldwide to different kinds of Tourism Destinations which represent a large amount of income in payment for goods and services. Even though the government did some project towards tourism in the country, yet in the last couple of years this target has not being achieved because of the persistence of numerous brand grind down due to poverty, corruption, illiteracy, insecurity, floored Electoral process and lack of basic infrastructure. This is huge problem unless these challenges are frontally confronted; the Focus on the energy sector makes it more difficult for Nigerians not patronizing tourism unlike other countries that depends on that like Kenya. Read the rest of this entry »