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Archive for July, 2011

Lagos duality

These two videos about Lagos-the largest city in Africa behind Cairo-tell two very different stories. They are both completely true and paint Nigeria as having polar opposites. One night at a restaurant in Lagos I sat down and introduced myself to a table of three white women. I was so curious to see who they were and what their business was in the mega city. We were on Victoria Island at the time. When I mentioned how I had gone to visit a friend in Yaba the other day and was staying in Surulere, the women couldn’t believe it. “We aren’t allowed to leave the island,” one of them said, adding how her driver said the mainland was unsafe. If I can ride an okada in Ojota, I’m pretty sure this woman’s driver can take her across the Third Mainland Bridge.


These videos show two distinct yet inseparable ways of life in Lagos. It’s hard to see such extreme poverty next to lavishness. As Lagos keeps growing by the millions, where will people go? I think the city of Lagos itself needs its own “population commission” to answer these questions and plan sustainable solutions. I hope to be part of the planning to see Lagos grow in a smart way.

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YouTube has been an important player in the success of my blog. If it weren’t for this monumental web site I would not be able to prove you all that I spoke Yoruba! You gotta hear it to believe it. Also, video does a lot more for the senses than a photograph. Getting the feel for Ibadan takes more than glancing at a picture.

Posting videos to YouTube has also been a fun way to communicate with people out there who have something to say or something to share with me. It’s not everyday I sit down and read YouTube comments, but I did today and here are some that really made me smile.

Thanks Titi,u make my day each time i view u on youtube.am proud to say am from the yoruba race.

470427 2 months ago

I’m in love with her and i dont even know her, great job on the yoruba, really amazing

younglevity 1 month ago

Titi, are you sure you dont have a black skin underneath there… somewhere??? extremely impressive!!!!

maaaaa09 1 week ago

Titi, awesome job. You just woke up a debate that Yoruba speaking people need to stare up a positive movement towards keeping their language. The really sad part of this whole thing is the end when the little girl said “never”

gbspecial 3 months ago

Titi You are awesome!! Thank you for sharin your talent. I wish I could understand und speak like you. I try since some days ago to learn pidgin but it´s hard “I no sabi wetin dey tok ” :)) I am in Love with naija many years ago.am ashame,I never put my head into the language. to bad I need it I play naija music everyday 🙂 and I got to teach my children.You show me that´s possible.Thank you very very much I really appricate your great work! Sorry my english is bad 😦 God bless you.

RegJahmel 2 months ago

If u have need a yoruba husband….i’m game.

lol

architunde 4 months ago 7

I have another video coming up tomorrow!

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Nigerian physicians from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic gathered in Chicago this weekend for the 17th annual Association of Nigerians Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) convention. Thanks to one of North of Lagos’s followers, I received a special invitation to write a story on this high-profile, yet greatly unknown event.

So excited to be surrounded by Nigerians again, I hastily put together a casual, Nigerian fabric influenced outfit and headed to the Swissotel in Chicago on Friday to talk to physicians and hear the speakers. I descended the escalator to see about 100 people dressed in business attire mingling around the coffee. The one or two men dressed in agbadas indicated that this indeed was the ANPA conference. Chris Eze, the physician who invited me, was there to welcome and introduce me to some of the most important players in the Association. Nigerians from every ethnic group are members of the association, so for me the convention was a good test of how well I can discern ethnic groups. It also made me realize I really should learn Igbo.

In the next week I will post stories about the interviews I had and issues that came up. Today, I want to post pictures of the party that ended the weekend–the ANPA gala. I was delighted to attend the party on Saturday night and see how Nigerians in the Americas are still so fashionable in the finest lace. Just because they live in America does not mean they have lost that Naija swagger, especially on the dance floor.

Chris Eze, one of my blog followers and a member of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, invited me to their 17th annual convention in Chicago.

Walking around to take pictures of the event, these ladies stopped me because they heard I spoke Yoruba.

My table mates and their friend. She must be important because her gele is the tallest and shiniest I've ever seen.

The packed dance floor at ANPA's 17th annual convention at the Swissotel in Chicago.

Me with the younger crowd, a couple of medical students in the Distinguished Nigerian Physicians of Tomorrow.

These Yoruba ladies were so nice. They beckoned me over to their table and before it we were all dancing together on the dance floor.

Lace iro and bubas with stiff, shiny head wrappers. Gorgeous!

Oji and I, the president of the Distinguished Nigerian Physicians of Tomorrow.

Aso ebi. Everyone was dressed in their fanciest lace that night.

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Nigerian artist, Nnamdi Okonkwo and I in front of his award winning sculpture at the Chicago Botanic Gardens art show.

It was a Sunday morning. The alarming chime of the telephone rudely woke me up. It was my step-dad telling me to get out of bed and come to the Botanic Gardens near my house. “I am with a Nigerian guy and he has seen your videos! He wants to meet you,” he told me excitedly. Of course I scurried out of the house, hopped on my bike to see the anonymous Nigerian who had befriended my parents. I made my way through the crowds of suburbanites enjoying a beautiful Sunday until I spotted them. With his staggering height and black skin he stood out pretty well in the homogenous crowd. He introduced himself as Nnamdi Okonkwo (like the famous character in Things Fall Apart) and told me he was so excited to meet me after reading an article about us in The Punch and reading my blog. He is Igbo and came to the U.S. in 1989. The Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe is the last place I would think to run into a Nigerian artist. This encounter just proves that there are no limits to the places a Nigerian might go. Such a genuine and talented artist, my parents loved his sculptures of plump women so much they bought one.

Nnamdi Okonkwo's booth at the art show.

Okonkwo's fat women statues. They look so peaceful.

Okonkwo chatting with some fair-goers interested in his art.

This sculpture, three women on a bench, won the award for the best piece at the entire art show.

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