(This set of posts comprise an addendum for Time and Place 2015-16, accounting for previous travels and events.)
Qudus Onikeku was my host and guide around Lagos and with a look into the contemporary dance scene. Qudus is a choreographer, performer, thinker, activist, writer and continental arts provocateur. A most interesting guy in other words.
Qudus asked me before recommending a hotel if I wanted to stay in the more Eurocentric part of the city or in the regular African part. I opted for the latter since if I wanted to be in Europe I would have traveled there instead of to West Africa. Thanks to Qudus the visit was both eye-opening and inspiring. I’ve regretted ending Global DanceFest before presenting Nigerian artists in Albuquerque but I’m most happy to have at least visited. Especially now since my very nearly favorite writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is Nigerian. She is the author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, and other stories and commentary. Her writing manages to be lyrical, matter-of-fact, searching and funny while counting as personal and historical at the same time. Wow, I used all of those adjectives and believe every one.
We visited Qudus’ family, friends, the dance community, arts center and an interesting museum. We ate greens (which truthfully I did not like any better than the kale at my kid’s house) and other traditional food (which I liked much better). Nigeria is a country to which I would want to return for a longer time…to explore, study, understand. I feel that way about South Africa and the Congo as well. I probably won’t make it back other than to South Africa and other countries on the continent where I have friends to see before I give up hanging out around the world…so many places…yes and unfortunately such limited travel time remaining in my life.