Despite having read several insightful pieces from Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one has not quite featured her thoughts and reflections of her experience living in any one area. The author reflects on her time living in Lagos for Esquire’s Time and Adventure segment; a state where she has lived in Lagos off and on for over a decade.
In her cutthroat fashion, she describes Lagos as one would describe to great detail a crazy, overbearing and unforgiving aunt.
Read excerpt of her essay below:
“Lagos will not court you. It is a city that is what it is. I have lived part-time in Lagos for 10 years and I complain about it each time I return from my home in the US — its allergy to order, its stultifying traffic, its power cuts. I like, though, that nothing about Lagos was crafted for the tourist, nothing done to appeal to the visitor. Tourism has its uses, but it can mangle a city, especially a developing city, and flatten it into a permanent shape of service: the city’s default becomes a simpering bow, and its people turn the greyest parts of themselves into colourful props. In this sense, Lagos has a certain authenticity because it is indifferent to ingratiating itself; it will treat your love with an embrace, and your hate with a shrug. What you see in Lagos is what Lagos truly is.”
“And what do you see? A city in a state of shifting impermanence. A place still becoming. In newer Lagos, houses sprout up on land reclaimed from the sea, and in older Lagos, buildings are knocked down so that ambitious new ones might live. A street last seen six months ago is different today, sometimes imperceptibly so — a tiny store has appeared at a corner — and sometimes baldly so, with a structure gone, or shuttered, or expanded. Shops come and go. Today, a boutique’s slender mannequin in a tightly pinned dress; tomorrow, a home accessories shop with gilt-edged furniture on display.”
Continue reading on Esquire here.