The 'Eko' lifestyle
Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, may be overpopulated and expensive but there is no doubt of the attraction of the megacity. Intensely busy in daytime but pretty as a picture in the evenings. 'Eko', as we call the city in 'Yoruba' language, is well known for its beach resorts, the choicest boutiques and buzzing nightlife.
The characteristic tropical seasons of torrential rain and cool dry harmattan tend to determine the terrains of Nigerian towns based on their location. As Lagos is located in the South, directly bordering the Atlantic ocean, the city is blessed with numerous beach resorts that are popular with tourists. In contrast, the suburbs of Lagos are less populated and busy, the beach resorts are adorned with a lot more trees and the landscape is similar to a typical tropical rain forest.
Some streets in mainland Lagos
The bustling city is extremely exciting with its crowded streets - full of elegantly dressed citizens, colourful stalls and desperate hawkers pushing their merchandise at passer-bys. Lagos is a place that stays with you, no matter the part of the world you relocate to later in life. Growing up there with my siblings and raised by a single mum, the city definitely defined who I am today. Lagos is an exciting and colourful city where it is possible to be happy despite the poor economic status of the people. And this is partly because of the abundant tropical colours, natural elements, etc available all year round.
One of my very fond childhood memories was living in the staff quarters of a grammar school in mainland Lagos. The grounds were stony and dusty, and lined with lots of trees and shrubs. I remembered my sisters and I used to feast on some legume seeds on our way back home from school. I also remembered us being very scared of the masquerades ('Eyo' and 'Igunnu') and the annual festivals in the city, on our way back. Although the events were fun to watch, with lots of singing and dancing, they were also scary because of the shouting from the large number of followers. They also had large sticks which they would happily lashed on any unfortunate passer-by who crossed their way.
My mum was a teacher at the primary school we attended. I can still picture the playgrounds of the school and the uniform which was yellow and some other colour. I liked the child I was then. I was happy with my mum and two siblings, but also a happy loner. I used to enjoy sitting in a corner all by myself, singing my favourite song in a funny high voice. The song was about God's blessings to Christians and their dependence on Him. I still can't remember to this day where I heard the song from, but I'm glad the song stuck with me.
My childhood memories of growing up in Lagos are happy ones. I am glad that these memories have stayed with me. Lagos is still a great city today, where new memories are being made.
By the way, my parents later added two more children to the family - after all, the sixties and seventies were the baby boom years!
mum and dad
me and mum
mum and us
As an amateur photographer, this article provides an opportunity for me to appreciate, preserve and share memories of Lagos. Some of the pictures were taken from a friend's profile on Facebook (G. Adebajo)