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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

"Welcome To Lagos"

Finally started watching the BBC Docu-miniseries Welcome to Lagos that BIMBO had told me about a coupla months back. Was a little apprehensive going in, wondering how the Western Eye was going to interpret the images and the lives of the people in the slums.  I was pleasantly surprised though.  They really highlighted the ingenuity, resourcefulness, entrepreneurial spirit, camaraderie and optimism of the Nigerians who are moving from the rural areas at a rate of 600,000 a year, to one of the world's megacities, Lagos.  Felt that the documentary kept riding the comparisons to the Western world a little - we get it, there is more that meets the eye, these people are diamonds in the rough once you get over the superficial.

I was happy to see that even though the focus was on the slums, images of the developed areas of the city were interspersed throughout the episode so as not to make Lagos seem like one big ghetto, as was done with Lusaka in the RED documentary. I also like how everything wasn't romanticised - we witnessed the daily city-wide power cuts and the lawlessness that happens in the dumps.  I also liked how the man with the family found a way to give his wife and children what they needed either by fixing things or finding a way to refurbish what the rich threw away.  It also shed light on how wasteful people get once they are not living from day to day and how many things that still have use get thrown away.  It showed how recycling is already a way of life in Lagos.  "Living Green" sometimes starts out of necessity.

I was really impressed with the cattle market. It showed how people apply their knowledge and are able to use every part of the cow, bar the hair, for something - horns for plastic, the contents of the cows digestive tract for fertiliser, blood for chicken feed and who knew you could eat the skin?! That and the fact that even in the slums there already is an transnational network with cattle herders travelling from Mali, Cameroun and Chad to come an trade.  The awareness of the world around them shows how the people realise we are all interconnected, like the man said as the dollar goes up and down, life in the slum is affected. When cattle were not able to come in from Chad prices skyrocketed.

Here are links to the first episode:

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