Skip to main content

the Spirit of crowdfunding

egungun collecting money in the leather bag
egungun collecting money in the leather bag
Whispering palms is the name of a resort located on the lagoon between Lagos and Badagry. A sort of local fun place with rooms and sport facilities, music animations on week-ends. Locals congregate there on week-ends as the place of happening. As a matter of fact the nearest place is a village fairly simple, crossed by what is now a bumpy dirt track - it may have been a proper road in a distant past.

As we crossed the village, on our way back, a masquerade was taking place. A crowd of men, armed with sticks or branches were surrounding an Egungun (Yoruba spirit) who, at the sound of the drums, was visiting each and every house to collect money offerings. It was said that those who did not want to give would be flogged as an encouragement to disburse something. That was a proper crowdfunding affair on a mandatory basis.
the masquerade with sticks and drums
the masquerade with sticks and drums
The Egungun was covered by colorful clothes and a mask at the back of his head with snakes made of papier-mâché. One of the dignitaries of the village is acting as the body of the spirit under the clothes and no one dares seeing who it is.

Masquerades in villages are used to serve different purposes depending on the Spirit that is invoked. At the beginning of the year it is often to collect money for a common goal.
a surprise at Whispering Palms resort
a surprise at Whispering Palms resort


Popular posts from this blog

The Ogiamien family in Benin City: about wood and history

Roland Ogiamien is a renown wood carver. He is now retired in his home town of Benin City and is now in his 80s. We met him in his simple workshop, a barn opened on the surrounding greenery. A part of the studio is used to store wood pieces and make sure they are well dried. He is using a collection of german ustensils to carve and polish the wood. He spent most of his career working out of Lagos before relocating to Benin.
Roland was explaining that the wood he uses today is different from his early days. Ebony has become rare and wood carvers have had to switch to other types of wood. Traditional heritage is a large part of his inspiration which he translates on wood with his own particular style, exploring various techniques for the finish of his pieces.
Ogiamien is the name of an important royal family in Benin Kingdom. Towards the end of the Ogiso dynasty (12th century), Ogiso Owodo did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Evian therefore took over after Owodo&#…

the fish market of Epe

Epe (pronounced Ekpe in yoruba) is a small city located on the narrow stretch of water that separates the lagoon of Lagos from the one, further in the east, known as Lekki lagoon. It is built on the small hills that border the water. It is connected by a bridge to the Lekki peninsula.
The town is famous for its fish market located on the water side. It is the place to buy fresh water fish, some of them still alive. They are kept in plastic buckets but also directly in the lagoon water in woven baskets.
Many more is for sale such as crayfish, crocodile, turtle, monitor lizard, big snails.  Game meat is also available coming from the nearby forest of the Omo reserve. We saw two wild cats with white spotted black fur and a strong scent; As we left we saw antilope legs arriving to the stall.
Some fishes are particular, one is sending electricity shocks when you touch it, another one was looking like a prehistoric fish with a sort of dinosaur like shell; there was also one with giant scal…

The mysterious stones images of Esie

Chief J. Agbo Ooye had been waiting in the shade of a large tree, in front of the National Museum of Esie, dressed in ceremonial costume with a velvet hat incrusted with crystal beads sown in the shape of his title and his name. He was sitting next to his wife on a bench, expecting our arrival. His wife, he would tell us later, was his best friend and she was actually demonstrating it by guiding his frail body from one place to another and guiding his hand when it came to sign autographs of his books. Chief Agbo Ooye is the author of two booklets on the Esie Stones. The first one, called A Personal Account of the Esie Stones is giving an overview of the differences between the scientific and the traditional interpretation of the Esie Stones. The second one is called the History of Esie and gives a brief account of Esie's history from the early settlement of Yorubas in various groups (Esie, Oro, Eku Apa, Igbonla, Edidi, Igbesi, etc...) to the present day. Those groups, who lived o…