The truth about growing up in Lagos

          I’ve been told, time without number, that I don’t behave like a Lagos girl. The title “Lagos girl” is quite ambivalent in meaning. On the one hand, it could mean that you’re assertive, sophisticated and well spoken, while on the other hand, it could mean that you’re brazen, materialistic and loud. The truth about Lagos is that it gives you no opportunity to become too introverted and satisfied with life. You’re constantly seeking the next big thing and so strive by all means to beat the competition. When I say competition, I mean, real competition. I may not be able to capture its magnitude here but everything is a struggle. A struggle to come first in class, a struggle to make a profit in a business even though there are over 50 other people selling the same thing you do in that same market, a struggle to get decent accommodation, a struggle to beat traffic(oh, the woe!), a struggle to even get on the bus. a friend of mine would add “the struggle to get and keep a boyfriend”, but that’s a post for another day. I think it might be the population(as Lagos has a population of a small country), that makes this so, but then again, I may be wrong.

          Now, when I speak of growing up in Lagos, I’m not referring to the “Island kids” who grew up eating cornflakes and knowing all the American actors and going for summer holidays ‘overseas’, throwing around words like “Harrods”, “Walmart”, and “McDonalds”, and being driven in chauffeured, air-conditioned cars. I’m talking about the vast majority of Lagos mainland kids who grew up eating agege bread, watching tales by moonlight on NTA, jumping rickety buses (danfos and molues, anyone?) and shopping in open markets like Tejuosho. (Oh, and by the way, Tejuosho market has been rebuilt into a mega shopping complex, all posh looking and gleaming. You might want to visit.)

          Did you think I wrote this to criticize Lagos and its quirks? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but that’s going to be for another day when I’ve been enraged enough by its ills to want to vent. I love Lagos. I love the hustling spirit of its inhabitants, I love the fact that anyone who plays his cards right can make it in Lagos. I love the cultural mix, I love the small bukas that sell great tasting food, I love the fact that you can get almost anything(I mean this literally) on the streets of Lagos. I love that expression, that expression of hope permanently etched on the faces of its inhabitants. That expression that says “I may not be where I want to be today, but I’ll get there someday soon!

          The truth about growing up in Lagos and generally living in this city is this: in the end, its all about choice. You do not choose to be born in the slums of Mushin, or in the posh buildings on Victoria Island, but you choose what to make of yourself. Impossibility is nothing.

18 thoughts on “The truth about growing up in Lagos

  1. i love gidi, i love d life, d struggle even d stress (sommie take note). u hate d stress cuz u r d Mc donalds type dt goes for summer hols..lol.. bugyo! wen am being asked whr i am from? dis is how i answer ….'i am from IMO (ala owerri live) and lagos….. v not bin able to ascertain d particular reason i love lagos wen am asked, i always v dis feeling though dt u cn make it easily in gidi dan any other place provided UR HEAD IS THERE…….. i love dis piece bugyo, i love d fact dt its brief nd always straight to d point.dnt worry i'l always stop by,,,am ur number patronizer nw #winkz like Nkassuland days lol

  2. Lasgidi city of hustlers tho it has pros n cons but u just have to love lagos for what it is… If u can survive In Lagos it is so certain u can live anywhere in d world no matter d condition…
    Nice piece keep it up…

  3. & love love your wonderful spirit, dear Chibugo – your fun post had me googling one Lagos recipe to another, reading about crazy dangerous busses, & huge shopping – wishing you joy & success here 🙂

    1. da-AL.! You visited! Haha thanks so much! I had dropped by your blog some time back and I loved it. I’m scared to death of animals but your love for them makes me want to touch one.

      Have a lovely rest of the week, wishing you joy and success too.

      1. Hi Chibugo 🙂

        do many people have pet dogs & cats in Lagos?

        any time you’d like to guest post for my blog, I’d love it – it’s win-win for you, me, & our readers who’re exposed to each of our sites – about whatever you’d like – even this same post would be great & all the better with a picture or more added 🙂

        if it helps, type ‘call for writers’ in search bar at right of my site

        1. Hi there.

          So sorry I’m responding almost 4 months after. It’s been one heck of a time. Yes people in Lagos keep pets, but it’s mostly for protection (huge dogs) than company. If I ever have a post you might like, I’ll let you know asap. Thanks!

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