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My Naija friend showed me this video. It is quite absurd, talking all about how Ghanaians are so happy they are not Nigerians. The song is by two guys who call themselves the FOKN Boys. They can’t even get their grammar correct.
The story behind the song goes back to soccer. A match between Ghana and Nigeria was scheduled to hold in London this week. The FOKN Boys released this song to spark the rivalry. The match was cancelled because of the riots plaguing London right now. I am trying to come up with a reaction song, “Thanks God I’m not a Ghanaians.” Any ideas? There will be a diplomatic brohaha about this matta.

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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 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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I experienced this sky on entering Ibadan on the way back from Lagos. I love clouds and this made me think of the heavens opening up. I love it.

What the Student Union Building on the University Campus looks like when there is no electricity. All of these are little generators that power the many copy machines and computers running at different stalls. Copying books and hiring people to type essays for you is a big business on campus.

UI students who do not live in dorms, or hostels live in places called Boys Quarters. This is a block of Boys Quarters where some of my friends live. I hang out here often.

A danfo, what we call mini buses that act as taxis, that is ridiculously full of some strange objects that I cannot identify. With the way danfos are packed to the brim with bags of rice, beans, pieces of cow until the back of the car is almost touching the ground, it's a wonder they can actually move.

Welcome to the butcher. Men carry wooden boards on their head and hawk huge slabs of meat around the market. The meat sits out in the sun and is not covered from flies or any other thing. If you want to buy, he takes it off his head and cuts you a piece, as seen in this picture.

birds on track

Birds stick to their lane on the University of Ibadan track. Apparently these birds come everyday to the track around twilight.

Shopping for ready made adire dresses in Surulere, Lagos. I just paused to observe the chicken next to me in this picture.

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Ibadan Snapshots

A freshly tarred road leading down from the hill that takes you to Bowers Tower, the highest point in Ibadan.

Bodija, next to the train tracks in Ibadan. Women stand on the side of the road, near the quarry, maybe waiting for public transportation.

Red dusty earth defines the landscape here, even from thousands of feet above you can see the red earth clearly. This is an area for selling roadside market deep in the interior of Ibadan

You can braid hair anywhere. A woman does her hair on the roadside live chicken market.

Carrying loads outside Bodija market.

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We eat butter

There are two types of people in Nigeria , those that eat butter and those that eat cassava. In modern day Yoruba, we call the former grope the ajebota and the latter, less fortunate group the ajepaki. The literal translation of these two word is “we eat butter,” and “we eat cassava.”

An ajebota (pronounced ah-jay-butta) is someone who lives a privileged, pampered life. In Nigeria, a spoiled life means having a driver to endure the hours of traffic and bad roads while you sit on the phone chatting on your BB. It means hardly minding the electricity outages because of the trusty generator that kicks in whenever NEPA happens. The term ajebota carries a negative meaning sometimes, that the person is not just spoiled, but insensitive and out of touch to realities of the world. I think the title ajebota for this type of lifestyle arose out of the fact that butter is rare in Nigeria. Most families eat one of the many unhealthy varieties of margarine. So those who eat butter and have the means to refrigerate it continuously are among the elite.

An ajepaki (pronounced ah-jay-pah-kee) is someone who lives a life with hardships and struggle. It means walking with your bucket to fetch water to take your bath every morning, spending long hours in the dark whenever the light goes. Calling someone an ajepaki is saying that person must work hard for the little he has. Paki means cassava in Yoruba. To those foreign to the plant, cassava is a tuber (in the potato family) that grows abundantly in Nigeria. Nigerians grind it up, add cold water and drink it as a snack called garri or add hot water, turn it and eat it as a meal called eba. It has a sour taste that took me a long time to get used to. Cassava is extremely cheap to buy so those who don’t have much must get by with garri and eba.

These terms are not official. They don’t have a deep meaning in the Yoruba culture and I have never heard anyone call himself an ajebota or ajepaki. They are modern day slangs that friends to make fun, tease or describe one another.

That being said, my mom from America arrived in Lagos last week. She is here for three weeks to visit me and walk in my shoes. We are having an incredible time together, and I apologize for not posting more but I have been a bit distracted. We were in Lagos for a few days and had quite an ajebota experience. From VIP tickets to Fela on Broadway, Chapmans at the News Cafe in Lekki, to air conditioned cars, my mom and I had a great time in Lagos. She is most amazed by the way cars share the roads with hawkers, wheelbarrows, and bikes weaving in and out. Even as we are back in Ibadan now her senses are on overload, taking Nigeria in. I could not be more excited that my real mom is visiting me in my new home.

My mom and I at Eko Hotel in Lagos to see Fela the Broadway musical, which was amazing!

My mom and I with our host in Lagos, Charis Onabowale, better known as Mama Cass. Here we are at a wedding.

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