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Eye of the beholder

Nigerian photographer J.D Okhai Ojeikere passed away last weekend, but at the age of 83 he left behind a truly incredible body of work celebrating Nigerian culture. These photos from his Hairstyles series are part of an archive of nearly 1000 pictures showing the intricate hair-dos of African women taken at work, social engagements and in the streets of Lagos. The beautifully composed black and white images draw attention to the sculptural quality of the hair, almost elevating it to an art form in itself. It goes without saying that his work is a unique treasure of historical and anthropological importance.
Via
posted by infini on Feb 13, 2014 - 6 comments

 

I beg-ee, oh, make you hear me well!

Forty eight, uh-huh, count 'em, FORTY EIGHT Fela records are now available for streaming. Make you hear this one!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 9, 2014 - 28 comments

Bollywood Inspired Film Music from Hausa Nigeria

The Hausa people of the north of Nigeria like Bollywood films so much that around 20 years ago they started making their own local productions. The films of Kannywood (for Kano, the capital city) feature song and dance - and the incredible music that defines Northern Nigeria: autotuned robotic vocals combined with frenetic drum machine rhythms and intricate, interwoven synths in a hybrid of local styles and Indian influence. Hear a generous sampling of it here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 1, 2014 - 16 comments

"It's black, like me.": Black dolls and politics

Every so often, ethnic dolls make the news, like this recent piece on Nigeria's Taofick Okoya who started his own line of Nigerian dolls after giving up his search in frustration. Okoya sells between 6,000 and 9,000 of his "Queens of Africa" and "Naija Princesses" a month, and reckons he has 10-15 percent of a small but fast-growing market. But the history of dolls outside of 'mainstream culture' exemplified by blonde blue eyed Barbie has been rife with prejudice and stereotypes. As the African middle classes emerge, is this an opportunity that gives rise to domestic toy industries?
posted by infini on Jan 29, 2014 - 19 comments

This is the hand, the hand that saves

"The divers had already pulled up four bodies. So when a hand appeared on the TV screen Walker was monitoring in the rescue boat, showing what the diver in the Jascon saw, everybody assumed it was another corpse." Harrison Odjegba Okene survived three days of darkness and isolation when he was trapped in a sunken tugboat, breathing from an air bubble and listening to the sounds of his shipmates being eaten by fish. His amazing rescue hit the news this spring. (Previously.) The actual video of his rescue has now been widely distributed. Short version. Long version, with an appropriate but inappropriate piece of jaunty music at the end.
posted by maudlin on Dec 4, 2013 - 40 comments

WE ARE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT REVIEW PANEL

A brief history of the Spanish prisoner scam.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 28, 2013 - 24 comments

“Western culture is Islamically forbidden”

When the car exploded, the same two words occurred to him, and to the ticket taker, and to every other person who saw or heard the blast, which could be heard on the other side of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city: Boko Haram. That neither they, nor practically anyone else in Nigeria, knew what Boko Haram was exactly or why it would want to bomb a bus station was beside the point. Officially, according to the Nigerian government, Boko Haram is a terrorist group. It began life as a separatist movement led by a northern Nigerian Muslim preacher, Mohammed Yusuf, who decried the country’s misrule. “Boko Haram” is a combination of the Hausa language and Arabic, understood to mean that Western, or un-Islamic, learning is forbidden. In 2009, after Yusuf was killed [BBC, The Guardian]—executed, it’s all but certain, by Nigerian police—his followers vowed revenge.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 27, 2013 - 34 comments

Who is William Onyeabor?

William Onyeabor is, or was, a funk musician from Nigeria. He self-released 8 albums between 1978 and 1985 and then became a born-again Christian, refusing ever to speak about himself or his heavily rhythmic and synthesized music. Despite giving up music for a life in the church, Onyeabor can count Fourtet, Caribou and Damon Albarn as fans. The Luaka Bop record label is releasing World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? next month
posted by misterbee on Oct 9, 2013 - 19 comments

Something split and new

Njideka Akunyili's acrylic painting over photocopies combines figurative, domestic scenes with the cacophony of globalism and traditional decorative motifs.
posted by klangklangston on Aug 12, 2013 - 5 comments

The Injured Coast

Teju Cole (previously) live-tweeted on Friday his trip across the Slave Coast from Lagos, Nigeria to Ouidah, Benin.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 20, 2013 - 3 comments

Running with the jackalopes

Abubakar Suleiman, a 15 year-old Boston student whose hobbies apparently include taking condescending local reporters for a ride. When one of the more august organs of the American press, the Boston Globe (founded 1872), came calling this week at his school in Boston’s suburbs in order to tell his story, he was only too happy to provide them with some quite remarkable copy.via
posted by infini on Jul 4, 2013 - 221 comments

Alive, alone, in the abyss

"I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound. It was horror." -- Harrison Okene [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Jun 12, 2013 - 31 comments

Reports of genital theft have spread like an epidemic

"Elaborate greetings are the norm, I’ve found, when one enters a Central African village. So it was a surprise when I noticed that many people weren’t shaking hands the morning I arrived in Tiringoulou, a town of about 2,000 people in one of the remotest corners of the Central African Republic, in March 2010. I soon found out the reason: the day before, a traveler passing through town on a Sudanese merchant truck had, with a simple handshake, removed two men’s penises." [more inside]
posted by not_the_water on Mar 25, 2013 - 52 comments

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe has died at age 82.

"Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, acclaimed in part for his groundbreaking 1958 novel "Things Fall Apart," has died, his British publisher, Penguin Books, said Friday." Set in precolonial Nigeria, Things Fall Apart portrays the story of a farmer, Okonkwo, who struggles to preserve his customs despite pressure from British colonizers. The story resonated in post-independent Africa, and the character became a household name in the continent. [more inside]
posted by jquinby on Mar 22, 2013 - 45 comments

Nollywood Worldwide: streaming Nigerian films

The Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood started humbly about 20 years ago. Nollywood movies were shot as cheaply and as quickly as possible, then released straight to VHS. The majority of Nollywood films are still sold offline, in outdoor markets from wheelbarrows or by the roadside from street vendors. In the early 2000s, Nollywood distribution shifted from VHS to discs — and now, the movies are also beginning to stream online. iROKO, one of the first companies to take Nigerian films online, is carefully tracking the viewing patterns of its growing audience. While Nigerian internet access is often subpar, streaming services are catering to the international diaspora. iROKOtv is a hub for streaming movies, with plenty of free movies alongside movies available as part of monthly membership. Their website grew out of their YouTube channel, which had over 400 movies online in 2011, though recently they are mainly posting trailers. If you're not sure which movies to see, Nollywood Forever has plenty of reviews, and Nollywood.com has a ton of African movie trailers.
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 16, 2013 - 19 comments

Polio Eradication

How the CIA Is Hurting the Fight Against Polio.
posted by homunculus on Feb 11, 2013 - 63 comments

“This is also the limits of photography in that sense; it only goes so far in understanding what’s in front of you,”

New York Times' Lens blog: Looking at the Tangled Roots of Violence in Northern Nigeria highlights the work of Benedicte Kurzen. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 10, 2012 - 2 comments

So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut went to Biafra shortly before its fall in 1970 (Biafra previously). This is what he had to say about it.
posted by ChuraChura on Nov 1, 2012 - 27 comments

Ochlocracy

'Perplexed ... Perplexed': On Mob Justice in Nigeria
posted by ianK on Oct 30, 2012 - 20 comments

"Crossroads possess a certain dangerous potency."

How Things Fell Apart, By Chinua Achebe - 'In an excerpt from his long-awaited memoir, the inventor of the post-colonial African novel in English discusses his origins as a writer and the seeds of revolt against the British Empire.'
I can say that my whole artistic career was probably sparked by this tension between the Christian religion of my parents, which we followed in our home, and the retreating, older religion of my ancestors, which fortunately for me was still active outside my home. I still had access to a number of relatives who had not converted to Christianity and were called heathens by the new converts. When my parents were not watching I would often sneak off in the evenings to visit some of these relatives.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 25, 2012 - 10 comments

How To Make Foreign Friends

How To Make Foreign Friends You can still mix with Americans. Imagination is a powerful thing. You can have a taste of Canada and all those creamy countries whose Visa’s you have coveted. All here in Nigeria. Granted, the foreigners who come here may not always be the cream of the lot, but beggars cannot be choosers. You will manage the ones here in Abuja. You will enjoy their company so thoroughly that your Visa rejections will cease to hurt. After all, is it not people that make a place? My job is to help you learn how to mix with and enjoy the company of foreigners from creamy countries, right here in Nigeria.
posted by modernnomad on Sep 6, 2012 - 60 comments

You must always keep an open mind, in this business.

"How, I wonder, can a young woman who has grown up in this harsh environment, waking up early to fetch water, cook, clean, farm till late in the day, be suffering from depression? ... People don't get depressed in Nigeria."
posted by ChuraChura on Sep 5, 2012 - 71 comments

All dolled up, Nigerian style

Barbie and Ken's Traditional Nigerian Wedding
posted by infini on Aug 8, 2012 - 21 comments

Why do scammers say they are from Nigeria?

Why Do Online Scammers Say They Are From Nigeria? A research paper from Microsoft argues it's a method of weeding out the savvy [via Slate]. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jun 20, 2012 - 39 comments

The handsome man who was the Alien

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Bolaji Badejo, aka the Alien.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 17, 2012 - 34 comments

Lagos: dystopia now

Well-stamped passport leave you feeling jaded? Think Lagos, NIGERIA: Flash Violence, 3rd largest city by 2025, Paul McCartney? Do you relish in telling tales of travel to hellish places? Maybe there's a place you havent been, so choked with people, pollution and poverty you will feel ashamed to discuss it. Paul McCartney couldn't hack it. It sent his band On The Run. Ok still not dissuaded? Know before you Go
posted by Colonel Panic on Jun 13, 2012 - 22 comments

You must've heard of a few

The Most Powerful Women You've Never Heard Of [more inside]
posted by vidur on Apr 22, 2012 - 41 comments

"In Calabar they have over two hundred inches of rain a year. This night they proved it. Everybody got soaked. It's a wonder no one got electrocuted."

Seven intense minutes of Fela Kuti and The Africa '70 performing in a night club in Calabar, a small Nigerian port city, in 1971, filmed by Ginger Baker. Seven years later, in one of their last performances before The Africa '70 disbanded, they performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival: V.I.P. (Vagabonds In Power), Power Show, Pansa Pansa (part 2), Cross Examination of the African Colonial Soldier.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 5, 2012 - 36 comments

"He who doesn’t know where he came from doesn’t know where he is going” –An African proverb.

THE OYO EMPIRE by Prof George Ayittey As you read this keep these pertinent modern questions in mind: Whether or not military dictatorship existed in the empire, rule of law was absent, there were no accountability or checks and balances, and whether the rulers can be removed.
posted by infini on Feb 19, 2012 - 4 comments

Twilight of the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys

You may have never heard of them, but they definitely have your email address. They are the Yahoo-Yahoo Boys; the young Nigerian men who cut wide swaths of cash by preying on the naiveté of moneyed Westerners vis a vis their dreaded 419 emails. ...But if you check your spam folder right now you might notice that it is slightly lighter these days. That's because it's been a tough week for Nigeria’s most infamous internet enthusiasts. Due to the week-long strike action that took place in response to the government’s decision to remove a national fuel subsidy, it has become increasingly difficult for the Yahoos to extract funds from their “clients”. [...] The Yahoos' disposition towards #OccupyNigeria is also worth paying attention to because 419 culture is essentially a street-level microcosm of the institutional corruption that has plagued Nigeria for the past forty years. And although the Yahoos are often blamed for distorting Nigeria’s image abroad, they've also become part of the cultural fabric.
posted by infini on Jan 22, 2012 - 26 comments

The Mimic Method

The only way to become fluent in a language is to actively mimic the speech sounds of native speakers. Idahosa (ee-DAO-ssah) Ness has developed a language learning system based on music and mimicry.
posted by unliteral on Jan 17, 2012 - 49 comments

Nigerian General Strike

Some context for today's general strike, the Occupy Nigeria movement, and growing frustration over government corruption in Nigeria.
posted by latkes on Jan 9, 2012 - 21 comments

George Osodi captures the beauty and ugliness of Nigeria

George Osodi is a London based and Nigerian born photographer. Recent exhibits have covered the region's beauty admist the local effects of the oil industry.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 15, 2011 - 0 comments

RIM should sponsor a blockbuster-style Nollywood spy movie

BlackBerry Babes: A Nigerian Movie About A Group of Girls Who Love BlackBerry [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Nov 27, 2011 - 20 comments

Compensation finally awarded for unethically administered meningitis drug

As reported by Agence France Presse, the Guardian and the New York Times, last week four families in Kano, Nigeria received $175,000 each as compensation for the deaths of their children, who participated in a drug trial conducted by Pfizer Inc. (Wikileaks links inside) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Aug 15, 2011 - 15 comments

Make It News

Fifty years after British colonialism, ten years after military rule, Nigerians are free. Not economically free, not yet, and we see the effect of that lack of economic freedom in the kinds of crimes that are committed. But they are free in important ways. You can live where you want, associate with whom you want. You can sue people in court, gather to practice your religion, under the leadership of whichever holy man or charlatan you prefer, and you can marry and divorce as you please. This is a major thing. This is modernity, and to tell these stories, to give the protagonists of these losses even that little bit of attention, is to honor the fact that they are there, that their life goes on.
On his twitter feed, novelist Teju Cole has been taking the French literary tradition of faits divers and adapting it to "bring news of a Nigerian modernity."
posted by villanelles at dawn on Aug 12, 2011 - 11 comments

Traffic Drives Nigerians Nuts, but a Trip to a Shrink May Go Too Far

People often think that other drivers are nuts. The Nigerian authorities have taken things a step further, now requiring drivers accused of going the wrong way down a one way street to get psychiatric exams.
posted by reenum on Jul 27, 2011 - 22 comments

The end of the end of polio?

With the help of Bill Gates, the World's efforts to eradicate polio (PDF) have over the last few years gained a great deal of new hope (TED) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on May 27, 2011 - 66 comments

Vanguard of American Journalism

Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2011 - 24 comments

Nollywood

Nigeria's film industry produces 50 films a week. "Nigerian films are as popular abroad as they are at home. Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos. Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television. When the president of Sierra Leone asked Genevieve Nnaji, a Lagosian screen goddess, to join him on the campaign trail he attracted record crowds at rallies. Millions of Africans watch Nigerian films every day, many more than see American fare. And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood."
posted by artof.mulata on Dec 29, 2010 - 10 comments

Nomadic Milk

Nomadic Milk. Dutch artist Esther Polak uses GPS, white sand, and a robot to explore traditional versus industrial milk economies in Nigeria.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 12, 2010 - 5 comments

The Hidden World of Girls

Hidden World of Girls: Girls and the Women they Become is NPR's collaborative year-long, ongoing series between The Kitchen Sisters, NPR and listener submissions. The series explores "stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secet identities—of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 2, 2010 - 16 comments

the drum talks

My name is Bisi Adeleke, I am from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, where this talking drum is originated.
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 14, 2010 - 13 comments

An exclusive interview with Mr. Robert Dutu

"i accept the fact that i am GUILTY… and will not hesitate to be prosecuted when the law catch up with me… and i know my God will forgive because i pray to him to replenish the pockets of my clients with double of whatever they loss" Mike Nash has a surprisingly frank chat with a 419 scammer.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis on May 11, 2010 - 23 comments

The Queen of Kumbwada

No man dares sit on this Nigerian throne: In Kumbwada, a curse has assured that only women will reign, locals say. And so far, the current queen pronounces, it has worked out better this way. Welcome to "the genteel court of Queen Hajiya Haidzatu Ahmed," where "an ancient curse keeps males off the throne." (via) [more inside]
posted by sallybrown on Apr 8, 2010 - 24 comments

This youth, it bulges?

More than 15 years again Robert Kaplan wrote in his occasionally prescient essay, "Though Islam is spreading in West Africa, it is being hobbled by syncretization with animism: this makes new converts less apt to become anti-Western extremists...." Glossing over the omission that Islam has been in West Africa for centuries, the recent exploding underpants incident has cemented the idea that a form of violent religious extremism has found root in West Africa, leaving many to wonder why and how. Some argue it's the inevitable result of dangerous demographics.
posted by Panjandrum on Jan 20, 2010 - 17 comments

The $10,000 Spam That Wasn't

Is it still spam if they actually give you the money? (SLYT)
posted by mikepop on Dec 23, 2009 - 37 comments

The Ultimate Dr. Sir Warrior

Forty years ago, just after the Biafran War, Nigeria was home to a cultural boom that paralleled its skyrocketing oil revenues. These heady days not only produced afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, but also, in the genre of music called highlife, created a star known as the Ultimate Dr. Sir Warrior (born Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna) a member of the nebulous Oriental Brothers International Band. Listen to the music of Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International Band. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 10, 2009 - 15 comments

Joyous juju from the king

Me Le Se and Dance Medley - live clips of King Sunny Ade and his African Beats in Seattle last month just before being inducted into the AfroPop Hall of Fame. More clips from the show ... [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 9, 2009 - 11 comments

All aboard for the Africa Express

A preview version of a 20-minute film following Damon Albarn as he and other western musicians (including Franz Ferdinand and Fatboy Slim) travel to Mali, Nigeria and Congo as part of the Africa Express, a sprawling musical collective collaboration between Africans (including Toumani Diabate, Baaba Maal and Tony Allen) Americans and Europeans. The film includes a visit and concert at The Shrine for last year's Felabration. [more inside]
posted by criticalbill on Jun 19, 2009 - 4 comments

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