Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Ten Commandments in Yoruba

Moses' Ten Commandments scribbled in Yoruba on the wall of the African Church Cathedral Bethel on Broad Street. Even Moses (pictured below receiving the laws on the cathedral's bronze door) wouldn't have guessed how far reaching his revelation in Hebrew would go. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taiwo Olowo's Monument

Here lies Chief Daniel Conrad Taiwo, a Lagos immigrant who was famed to have entered the city in 1848 of humble origins but who became a successful businessman that the appellation Olowo (rich one) got added to his name. I met several area boys at the tomb as I only stumbled upon it during one of my recent treks around the Lagos Island on Marina Street (it's amazing what one can experience while not riding in a car). I became friends with the boys and they allowed me to photograph even sharing stories of the island with me. The chief died in 1901 and is buried in the monument above.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Saw these beautiful geese at the Freedom Park last weekend where I had gone to do a pre-wedding photo shoot for my friends. They walked slowly and majestically, not fearing the humans around, to the fountain and sipped through the water for food. Cool stuff.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Keziah Jones

Had a recent interview with Blufunk singer Keziah Jones (born Olufemi Sanyaolu) at the Southern Sun Hotel in Ikoyi. We had earlier met at a performance by Duro Ikujenyo and agreed to an interview on his short trip to Lagos. The singer's been soaking up some West African influence for his next album and he took me down the memory lane; the birth of his music, the influence of identity and his hopes for new Nigerian music to break through to the European and American mainstream.

A few weeks ago he was harassed by French police after alighting from a tarin in Paris. I broke that news online after getting it from his Facebook page. I hope his music makes bigger waves at home like it has in the West.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bud House - One year later

Last year I was selected to represent Nigeria in the groundbreaking online reality show Bud House sponsored by Budweiser during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We were 32 people who had never met but one thing that we had in common was that we were all football fanatics. So we stayed in this place called Shelley Point, three hours outside of Cape Town, throughout the show as the world watched us online. We had opportunities to go to the stadium in Cape Town to see matches live while the eventual final teams had their representatives at the final game in Johannesburg. Spain's Amanda had the honour of presenting the player of the tournament award to Andres Iniesta.

One year onwards, we still feel like a family. It feels like I have family all over the world. It was a beautiful exchange of cultures and we learnt so much from each other. On our last day in the house a reporter from The Sowetan asked about my impression of the show. I told him that for me it was more about cultural exchange than just a celebration of football. What the producers did unwittingly was to bring together 32 people from all over the world to experience each other’s differences in an atmosphere of love and realize that we’re not so different after all.

That is the lesson that even the United Nations has not been able to achieve in 66 years. That an equal distribution of resources in a fair atmosphere where everyone is allowed to be himself or herself is what the world needs to live in harmony. They have it written in their human right declaration. But in practice, it's not working. The reality was what we did in South Africa last year. It's what today makes me know that I have an amazing family in all the five continents. It's what changed my life and the way I view the world now. It happened at last year's football World Cup. I raise a glass of Budweiser to everyone.

The spirit of the show is encapsulated in the following video where I taught my fellow housemates Dov from South Korea and Ezra from South Africa to sing a Yoruba song from Nigeria. It was recorded by Brazilian housemate Adriano. Somos ciudadanos del mundo...we are citizens of the world.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rains, more rains and...

Rain floods have taken over many parts of the metropolis and many people went to work this morning having to wade across once tiny streams. Here at Akute-Lambe on the Lagos-Ogun border, I shot images of residents going to work and school on the Lagos side knee deep in flood waters.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Agofure Motors

During my recent trip from Port Harcourt I rode on G. Agofure Motors, the big transport company out of Warri. Their service was impressive and I'm glad to say that for a Nigerian company. The mini bus from PH had a little fault on the way to Effurun and the driver radioed ahead to have the bus replaced. Pronto it was done as soon as we got to their HQ in Effurun where the new driver held us spellbound with his Waffi jokes all the way to Lagos. With a fleet of over five hundred vehicles, founder Godwin Agofure employs thousands of people in his transport, hotel and filling station chains in the Niger Delta region. This is a kudos to a man of vision.

Having flown the first leg to PH, it was great traveling back by road all through the heart of the Niger Delta where I saw out of the window my old primary school in Benin City. Ivbiotor Primary School has been abandoned because of the incessant flooding that occurs around the Dumez Junction on Sapele Road. Perhaps one day when I go to Benin I should be able to stop by and see it better.