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Author Archives: Aisha S. Michika

About Aisha S. Michika

Simple, friendly and adventurous

Makoko venice of Lagos

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

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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The King’s visit to Babban Daki

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 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.

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Posted by on June 13, 2016 in Art and Culture

 

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Negligence of Tourism In Nigeria

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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 »

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in News

 

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Lalle Design

 

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Lalle design known as Kunshi plays a vital role in the northern part of the country in beautifying the body. This tradition practice is known for decade in most part of the northern region, even though history has it that it came from North African during the slave trade. Yet this practice is popularly known among the Hausa Fulani and the Kanuri culture in beautifying their skins. The Lalle which is a form of traditional tattoo that they design their arms, hands and legs is not like the white people tattoo that is permanent, this type of tattoo just last for some weeks or a month. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Art and Culture

 

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ELMINA CASTLE

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Elmina Castle was erected by Portugal in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine) Castle, also known simply as Mina or Feitoria da Mina) in present-day Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. The Dutch seized the fort from the Portuguese in 1637, and took over all the Portuguese Gold Coast in 1642. The slave trade continued under the Dutch until 1814; in 1872 the Dutch Gold Coast, including the fort, became a possession of the British Empire.

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Britain granted the Gold Coast its independence in 1957, and control of the castle was transferred to the nation formed out of the colony, present-day Ghana. Today it is a popular historical site, and was a major filming location for Werner Herzog‘s Cobra Verde. The castle is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Travel

 

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The Three Sisters

   The Three Sisters is the name given to a natural body of mountains in Song LGA of Adamawa state. Although it is not clearly known how the mountains came about the title, people around the place really behave in appreciation of the natural wonder. They believe the threesome mountains form a

part of them and as such, take them as family. The place is not too far from Jimeta in Yola, because it is just about an hour’s drive from the Adamawa state capital. The beauty of it and the strange story about the mountains makes it a tourism site for people all around the world who come and share the wonderful ambience of these mountains. Interestingly, approaching the mountains, one would only see the three slanting inwards to the right. The most prominent one is the mountain to the left and it is the only one that could be climbed by interested persons. The people around the area say it is not possible to climb the one in the middle. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Travel

 

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Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

 

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, also know as the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park(KNMP) is the last resting place of the first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. It is dedicated to him for his outstanding campaign to liberate Ghana(by then Gold Coast) from colonial rule in 6th March,1957.

The entrance to the site is from the 28th February High Street just along the coast from Independence Square. It is located directly opposite the old Paliarment House now known asthe Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).  Building to the east is the Cultural and Art Centres, and to the west is the offices of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly(AMA). It has a total surface area of approximately 5.3 acres. The mausoleum provides a front for the statue of Nkrumah whereas the museum is subterranean and does not compete with the mausoleum for attention. Rhythm, contrast and harmony were the main principles of design used in this building. Dr. Nkrumah was overthrown by military government in 1966, after ruling for 9 years. He then went to exile in the Republic of Guinea. He fell ill and died in Bucharest, Romania 1972 when seeking medical treatment. Nkrumah’s body was buried in Guinea since he was the Co-president there. With Nkrumah dead, the Arican Students Union in London feared that, the total emancipation of Africa has come to a dead end.

The students sent a memo to Guinea asking that the body of the late president should be brought to Ghana only if the then military government would denounce coup d’etat and re-erect the statue of Kwame Nkrumah that was toppled down during the coup. This marked the beginning of the Nkrumah Mausoleum Monument.

After 20 years of his death, Dr. Nkrumah’s image was restored in 1st July, 1992 on the same grounds where he led Ghana to liberation from colonialism on 6th march 1957

The Museum houses the personal effects and publications of Ghana’s first president and pictures showing his life history. Some of these pictures of Dr. Nkrumah with some of the most famous people of his time is an eye opener. Wander through the photos, and you will be stunned at how many of the 20th century’s most iconic people pictured shaking hands with the founder of modern Ghana. He is pictured with famous people like Jawarharlal Nehru, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev, John F Kennedy of U.S.A, Sir Alec Hume, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Harold Macmillan, Pope Pius XII, President Nasser of Egypt, and countless leaders of countries like Malaya, Sri Lanka, Niger not forgetting Nigeria and many other more.
The body is buried under a catafalque raised in the centre of the park. Symbols which reflect Ghana’s culture and history were used to portray Dr. Nkrumah’s vision to promote the African personality. The full statue of Dr Nkrumah, wearing a cloth, in bronze is sited at the exact location where he proclaimed Ghana’s independence.

As you approach the main way leading to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, you’ll see springs on either sides of the walk way. Each spring has seven bare-chested, squatting statuettes of flute blowers, who seem to welcome the arrival of world leaders and other important personalities. The design of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, which represents swords turned upside down symbolizes peace. It can also be viewed as an uprooted tree to signify the unfinished work ofDr. Nkrumah to totally unite Africa.This is a place you wouldn’t want to miss during your stay in Ghana, since the transition of GoldCoast to Ghana happened on this same location.  Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, is what some scholars call the “genesis

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Travel

 

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