Last night, at 9:00 PM EST, the episode of Anthony Bourdain in Lagos aired on CNN, and I think the entire Diaspora was watching because I suppose we were all curious about what he was going to say and show. How would he portray us? Would he only show the bad parts as western media has been known to do? Would he show our rich culture and emphasize our hope and hustler behavior? Would he tell people that we are like Ijebu garri, that when you try to bury us, we rise regardless? Also, would he eat our food? We have so many! Well, he did all that. And I quite liked what I saw.
Let me start by disclosing that I have never lived in Lagos. Therefore, I cannot tell you the accuracy (or lack of it) of what we saw about Lagos itself. I can say, however, that the depiction of Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole was pretty accurate. We’re hard workers. We’re hopeful. We’re hella smart and hella innovative. We smile through our pain. We look forward to tomorrow even when there does not seem to be a reason to do so. We are survivors. I was happy with Anthony Bourdain in Lagos.
Nigeria, in spite of being a democratic country on paper, is far from it. We are organized and orderly on paper, but in reality, we are lawless and disorderly. The laws we do have, no one cares too much if they are being obeyed. It’s everyone for himself, and Anthony Bourdain mentioned this. Nigerians are generally responsible for their own electricity, water, food, shelter, education, and just general survival because the government could not care less.
I liked that Anthony Bourdain talked about the “ghetto” part of Lagos like Makoko. He showed what life is like when you live there, the daily struggles of the average resident (which even I did not know), and their frustration.I came away feeling like the people of Makoko and Nigeria, in general, are frustrated but not helpless. He also showed the other Lagos. Like Victoria Island and social attractions like Club Quilox. He also showed the wonder that is Computer Village, which, by the way, I am yet to go to. And yes, he ate our foods – lot of it.
He showed and talked about a lot more, but I cannot mention everything here. For example, he met with Banky Wellington, Femi Kuti, and Seun Kuti, among many others. I also learned a few things about our music. At the bottom of this post, however, I will post some links to this episode of Anthony Bourdain in Lagos that may help you.
In conclusion, I loved it. If I were a non-Nigerian or a person who has never been to Nigeria and/or don’t know much about it, this would educate me. It does not teach everything, but it does a lot more than the usual documentary that likes to show us as poor, pathetic people who need the help of the west to survive.
Now, some links for last night’s episode of Anthony Bourdain in Lagos.
2. Edoato Agbeniyi: a talented musician and resident of Makoko. I loved his views, his mentality, his music, and his eloquence.
I searched all over to find the link to this episode online. I am not aware that you can watch the full episode online, but maybe CNN OnDemand has it.
“Lagos, Nigeria’s megacity: one of the most dynamic, unrestrained, and energetic expressions of free-market capitalism and do-it-yourself entrepreneurship on the market.”
What were your thoughts on Anthony Bourdain in Lagos?
P.S. Although Anthony Bourdain did a good job, I still would love to see a Nigerian telling the Nigerian story.