An American Tourist’s Perspective
Of the 40 African countries that I have visited, Nigeria has some of the most exquisite people, culture, and food. While a few days is not enough to experience all that the country has to offer, I was delighted to experience a bit of it through purchasing handicrafts and a traditional dress at the Lekki Arts & Craft market, taking in the breathtaking scenery high above the treetops on the Lekki Conservation Centre’s suspension bridge, witnessing friendly smiles, and receiving a warm welcome from schoolchildren in Makoko Village.
As an artist and designer, I particularly enjoyed visiting the Nike Art Centre and perusing its multilevel galleria, admiring the diversity, skill, and talent of Nigerian artists. I admired the recycled sculptures outside and the art on the top level, which contains items such as drums, Yoruba king hats, and masks.
At the Nike Art Centre I had the good fortune to meet the celebrated Nike Okundaye herself, and she graciously dressed me in traditional clothing and took photos with me! I especially appreciated the gesture because that afternoon was the opening of Eko Culture, an event honoring her and the arts and traditions of Lagos.
Wearing my beautiful new red dress and gorgeous hoop earrings, I headed to EbonyLife Place for the Eko Culture celebration. I was excited to see women in traditional dresses and geles. The show was spectacular, filled with a display of colorful clothing and artwork, live music, and a fashion show.
However, my favorite part of the night was being interviewed by TVC News reporter Ola Awakan and meeting other luminaries of the Lagos social scene. I had a wonderful conversation with a king and I met a friendly chief, an acclaimed author who is writing a book about Nike, and several young, beautiful socialites.
As a tourist I found Lagos to be a wonderful place with great shopping and delicious food (my favorites were spicy chicken, samosas, and jollof rice). I also enjoyed visiting the New Afrika shrine and the lively excitement of the Mile 12 market.
I hope to return soon to see more of Lagos and experience the richness of Nigeria’s other regions, villages, tribes, and festivals!