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Showing posts from November, 2017

the suspended lake of Ado Hill, one of its kind in Africa

My eyes set on a diamond incrusted gold purse embossed with a dollar sign which was dangling around Otun's neck at the end of a gold chain. Were these real gold and real diamonds? I did not dare asking. Otun wore a very bright suit, a kaleidoscope of violet, green and orange. He also had a traditional dark pink and violet yoruba aso-oke hat, a necklace and a bracelet of deep red beads to mark his chieftaincy in Ado Awaye. Otun was the youngest of the three Chiefs who had gathered to greet us at the residence of the Alado (local king) of Ado Awaye, somewhere between Abeokuta and Iseyin in Ogun state.
Aro, the second Chief, was dressed in a light blue traditional suit embroided with beige flowers and turquoise leaves, a yellow Yoruba hat and beige leather mocassins. Next to them sat the an older man with an impaired eye. Balogunwas wearing an ample green suit assorted to a green aso-oke hat and black sandals. He, like the other Chiefs, wore a red beaded necklace and a bracelet to m…

IITA - a green haven is getting swallowed by the expansion of Ibadan

Fifty years ago, in 1967, one thousand hectares of land were earmarked for research on tropical agriculture several kilometers away from Ibadan. The land was leased to IITA (an American NGO called International Institute for Tropical Agriculture) for a duration of 99 years and a symbolic yearly fee of crop to be paid to the local Oba.
The goal of IITA is to study how to improve crops of cassava, yam, maize and plantain by selecting the varieties that are pest-resistant but also generating higher yields.
Peter Kulakow, who heads the cassava department at IITA, took us for a tour of his activities. He has a PhD in genetics from the University of California.
Cassava in West Africa is often victim of the mosaic virus which affects the leaves of the plant and therefore the ability of its tubers to grow. Peter’s team is working on selecting varieties of plants which are able to resist to this disease but also to droughts while providing higher yields in starch (currently yields are fairly lo…

the Lighthouse beach: a cool and natural spot

Waves are crashing remorselessly on the sand of the ocean-shore beach, westward of the entrance of Lagos harbor. This stretch of sand is protected by the stone wall which extends into the sea up to a lighthouse to signal the entrance into the Lagos lagoon. As a result, the water current is deviated from the coast such that sand declivity into the water is minimal. It is a good place to safely go into the water.
A group of women, aligned on the sand, stands on one leg. They are looking at their yoga instructors who are currently standing on their heads. The women, who wear the same dark blue sweater, after having exercised for ten or fifteen minutes soon retire under their light shed to have some food and some drinks. The two instructors, meanwhile, carry on executing more advanced positions.
The sun has actually disappeared behind a thick layer of clouds forming to the outer rim of a storm positioned on the mainland somewhere between Badagry and Epe. The sky is very dark over mainlan…

Felabrations 2017 - VIP section at Federal Palace

Every year in October, Felabrations commemorate the memory of Fela Anikulapo Kuti for a whole week. This edition has been widely celebrated in several places in town. Obviously the biggest part of it was taking place at the New Afrika Shrine in Alausa. Freedom Park, in Lagos Island, has also had its fair share of Afrobeat celebration every night of the week. And for the VIPs, a function was organised at the Federal Palace hotel under a properly air-conditioned tent used for up-market weddings. Large VIP areas had been demarcated for the occasion, furnished with minimalist white sofas and a few fancy looking chairs and high tables towards the front of the stage. The line-up was great: Bez, Nnekka, Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti. One could have thought that it was worth going to only this event because of the great line-up artists and the fact that it was much more confortable going there than all the way down to the New Africa Shrine which offers a somewhat rough environment and only white p…

ART X Lagos 2017

November 3rd was the first day of ART X. Still under the leadership of Tokini Peterside, it opened with an afternoon reserved to collectors and an evening to VIPs. Same location as the ART X Lagos first edition, with equal parking inferno, but somehow the same old trick worked to park right by the building.
A great show this year, largely dominated by Nigerian artists and galleries. However South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Francophone Africa were also represented.
Most importantly for VIPs, Perrier-Jouet was a sponsor and their champagne was served chilled from their beautiful bottles adorned with art-deco flowers.

On the ground floor, seven Ben Enwonwu's wooden statues, carved in the 60s for the Daily Mirror, were presented for the first time to the public, courtesy of Access Bank. They represented newspaper readers. Interestingly from afar they had an air of angels.
On the first floor, the sponsor's lounge had cosy rectangular seats and a stage, where some events would take…

Lagos Fashion Week 2017: at the last show

Saturday night, these are the last hours of the Lagos Fashion Week 2017. It takes place under a large air-conditioned marquee set-up in the middle of Eko Atlantic. The ambitious smart city is still work in progress. Just a few of the planned towers have been erected, but it is an adequate place for a large and chic gathering with an ounce of adventure in the middle of an empty space reclaimed on the sea. The city may not exist yet but a large paved boulevard is leading to the heart of the future city. It is perfect to go to a function where high-heels are de rigueur. And there is plenty of space to park.
The theme of this year's Lagos Fashion Week modestly reads "Africa: Shaping Fashion's Future".
As I come there at eight thirty in the evening, not much is happening outside the marquee, but judging by the amount of cars parked far away from the entrance, the hall must be packed. There is a relaxed atmosphere as a result of the tiredness that is visible on the staff …