Monday, August 14, 2006


I haven't had time to write about my overnight trip to Kano last week. Although I spent only a few hours in the city, I was impressed. There is a completely different vibe to this Northern city - much closer in feel to Morocco than the South. Old men ride gracefully on bicycles (there's a large bicycle factory nearby); long lines of gracefully trudging cattle block main roads; there are long neem lined boulevards and interesting mud walls. One sees an historical design culture everywhere (whereas it is almost entirely absent in Abuja and is non-existent in Lagos) - hausa motifs on walls, such as this. On this evidence, it seems the North, although largely impoverished, is more in touch with its cultural history than the South.


the flying monkeys 7:33 pm  

Holy Christ on a bike! In a country where one may get shot, and that’s the gun's fault, I just heard of the death of another politician in Ekiti State. The other day it was Williams in Lagos state.

Turning to your post.

Although I am in no position to speak for the yorubas or easterners, I find your observation quite interesting.

Considering the above photo, the design motif may have once more its conceptual origin in Yoruba culture.

If only one traversed backcountry, beyond the metropolitan centres of Yoruba culture, you will see that the majority of Yoruba live in large cities of pre-colonial origin, not transients and trash. You need to visit the real south i.e. the yoruba region or the proper east.

Trust me, you will find that your observation isn't particularly true. In yorubaland, you will also find a strong sense of Yoruba identity regardless of our history of distrust and rivalry dividing the various groups.

Believe me! I read on Matisse in the following link where African fashion only evolved from the mixture of African and western cultures. It has influenced and been influenced by other cultures.

Matisse had been inspired by raffia designs and hung a large part of his collection on the wall of his studio.

Post-Renaissance Europe greatly admired Raffia, which originates from Central Africa but found its way into European treasuries along with other creations of African art!!

Against this background I have always viewed Lagos as the anus of Nigeria, so I would leave it out of the equation. Equally Abuja cannot be considered, being the seat of government, and I view that region as Nigeria's melting pot.

Thanks for posting. It’s excellent, as usual.

Chxta 7:53 pm  

I agree in general terms that the North is more in touch with its history than the South, and I have been o almost every state in Nigeria. But then again, I've been roasted on more than a few occasions when I start talking...

St Antonym 9:14 pm  

Jeremy expresses well why I long to visit the North.

And Chxta: almost every state? Wow. Now that's impressive.

Akin 12:41 am  

I did visit Kano a few times when we lived in Jos and then Kaduna considering my mother is somewhat a WaZoBia woman who speaks the three major languages.

Being Yoruba, growing up in Zaria and Kano, then learning to speak Igbo in Lagos.

What I liked about Kano was the visit to the walled city, the names of the gates and the legends about the well in the centre of the city.

After that hustle and bustle of the city experience we returned to the tranquility of the Bagauda Lake Reserve.

Bicycles; well that is our way of life in Amsterdam - if only we can see more about its use in Nigeria than it being a poor man's vehicle.

Anonymous,  3:52 pm  

"Lagos is the anus of Nigeria" Hilarious and so true!!

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