Mon Oct 24 18:15:04 SAST 2016
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

Abuja, a city of contradictions

By Mpho Sibanyoni | Feb 28, 2016 | COMMENTS [ 12 ]

Hearing that after landing in Abuja we would be visiting a hill which shares a name with President Jacob Zuma really piqued my interest.

Located 37km west of the Nigerian capital city, on the Kaduna-Abuja highway, Zuma Rock, which is in Zuma Worls, is a sight to behold.

And there's the Zuma Restaurant at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, where we stayed. Clearly cashing in on the fame of the 725m tall monolith, the restaurant does brisk business as it attracts mostly international tourists and well-heeled locals.

"Zuma means 'horny'," the driver of a shuttle ferrying us around said in a Nigerian accent.

"It means horny?" I chuckled.

"Horny, from the bees," he clarified.

"Oh! Honey," I exclaimed.

The excursion was made possible by South African Airways, following a recent launch of direct flights from OR Tambo International Airport to Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The dry and dusty weather we encountered on arrival in central Nigeria did not appear to deter the vibe on the streets, including keen informal markets, as we drove out of the airport.

While international tourists preferred travelling in metered taxis or buses, locals were ready to hop onto hundreds of motorcycle taxis outside the airport.

Some motorcycles could be seen carrying four people without helmets.

In fact, during my four-day stay in Abuja I never saw anyone wearing a helmet on the motorcycles.

As we hit the road, it also became clear that Abuja does not have many traffic cops.

Some sections of the speed camera-free highway do not have road markings. Normally this would make driving nearly impossible, more so during peak hours. But in Abuja this is the life. The local drivers negotiate the packed road with ease as they give each other space when necessary.

There was no shouting and screaming that we are accustomed to in SA; they only hoot to display displeasure against bad road users.

The road from the airport is also lined with large structures resembling motels.

Our guide, Usuagwu Chikezie, pointed out they were actually houses of the rich, each with more than 10 bedrooms.

Usuagwu also pointed out other structures either half-done or stuck at foundation level. He said those were recent but owners have stopped building owing to the falling price of oil, and also to the newly elected government's active measures against corruption and cuts on spending.

Three hours after our arrival at the hotel, we were taken to Jevenik Restaurant in Wuse Zone 2 for our first lunch in the country.

It proved difficult to enter the premises as some clients had parked where they weren' t supposed to park. Inside the restaurant, most of the seats were occupied as patrons cosily mingled with each other amid the aroma of fish curry .

We were ushered into an upstairs dining room for a two-course meal of spicy Nigerian delicacies.

Usuagwu explained that palladium, pictured, which is similar to pap, should be rolled into a small ball, dipped in a sauce or soup, and then swallowed whole without being chewed.

Other delicacies on offer at the eatery included fried savoury rice, chicken, beef curry and farmed catfish.

Jevenik manager Kaycee Odu said the eatery catered to the upper middle class, which included top government officials and business people. Strangely, he said it was busy during weekdays and not on weekends.

As we drove back to the hotel, we passed a group of car window washers - like the ones we see in Joburg main roads. The difference is that in Abuja they appeared younger, about 13 to 16 of age.

The second day of the excursion kicked off with a 90-minute visit to Zuma Rock, which we learnt is the second largest monolith hill in the world.

After the brief visit, we proceeded to another 90-minute stopover at the homestead of Sarikin Ushafa, the chief of Ushafa village, well-known for pottery.

We were welcomed with a song and dance by a group of young men and women, while the skillful pottery artists showed us how they make their products.

On the third day, we went to the market at the Centre for Art and Craft, where we were shown how the colourful Nigerian shirts are produced. But at R800 an item, the good-looking shirts were out of my reach. I was not alone; no one from our group bought a single garment. Overall it was an enjoyable visit to the heart of Nigeria.

Sibanyoni's trip to Nigeria was sponsored by South African Airways


Login OR Join up TO COMMENT


think a better picture should've worked well for the narrator, but SL is just good fro unlike the SABC for now, we can air our views.

Feb 28, 2016 1:48 | 0 replies


A mountain named Zuma?? and Zuma Means Honey??? Nigeria LOL.

Feb 28, 2016 3:16 | 0 replies


Abuja is still a shit-hole, worse than Jo'burg.

Feb 28, 2016 6:39 | 1 replies


well mpho thinks differently. It's all relative, innit? to each his own.

Feb 29, 2016 9:47 | 0 replies


Abuja. City of 491 scammers

Feb 29, 2016 1:32 | 1 replies
Feb 29, 2016 9:44 | 1 replies


419 scammers it is

Mar 01, 2016 12:39 | 0 replies


There is so much joy and peace in my life that i would love to share testimony My name is Karabo ,from Gaborone, Botswana: There was no peace in my life. The endless fights i had with my husband almost led to separation because i could not bare children and he was seeing another lady. My husband Onthusitse was so distant with no communication between us. There was a lot of tension both at home and at work. I was working hard but receiving very little pay and no promotion. One morning, reading the papers, i came across a testimony of another gentle man about how this great Mama Osman had helped him, I decided to give her a call despite the fact that she is based in South Africa and i was in Botswana. She gave me her power oil that helps most of her Clients who are living a happy life now. Mama Osman performed Special PRAYERS then cleansed me from the bad omens and cast me a powerful love Spell. She solved all my financial problems, bareness and my husband reconciled with me. We are now living a healthy happy marriage together and I am heavily pregnant expecting twins any time as i write. Please if you come across this, I recommend you to go and see Mama Osman a powerful traditional healer no matter what problems you are facing or where you are, she will help you. She helped me and i promise to share this testimony any where and every where as it might be of help to some one out there. You can contact Mama Osman on +27710083461 or email,

Feb 29, 2016 8:32 | 0 replies


"explained that palladium, pictured, which is similar to pap,"..... SL: DO YOUR WRITERS NOT USE CAMERAS? Do your editors not read the pieces and check that pictures referred to are actually there? And really, where did he/she find this pathetic picture presented? At the bottom of a reject pile? Really, this is such shoddy editing!

Having said that, I was very amused at the statement that "zuma" means "horny". Sure, the "meaning" here was duly explained as "honey". but the Freudian slip could really not be more apt and just couldn't be ignored.

Feb 29, 2016 8:38 | 0 replies


lol are there still people staying there? i thought they were all in SA & London!!

Feb 29, 2016 8:41 | 0 replies


"Zuma mean Horny"... had to laugh at that one....

Feb 29, 2016 12:5 | 0 replies


Money spells ,Lotto spells, love spells +27638569614 in SOUTH AFRICA Lusaka, Kampala, Nairobi Johannesburg, Rustenburg ,Mafikeng Durban, cape town ,Gaborone, Francis town, Botswana, Zambia , MALAYSIA ,UK ,LONDON ,AUSTRALIA, Money spells and Love spells She reads and tells you your problems before your mention them, get quick healing on line, people have different problems but they tend not to feel them at the end of the day they don’t succeed, don’t keep quiet before it becomes worse we can solve all sorts of problems, ''remember with nothing is impossible . Is here for you, come you will be healed. She heals the following: She provide u protection to your home, business, personal protection, we have king jean who protects from enemies, king pine for your family etc. Do you want to give orders in the family or home and clan? -Do you want big bums and hips? Come for help. -Do you want promotion at work? Come for help. -Do you want a baby? Girl or boys come now. -Are you men? And your weak, come and get back your man hood permanently. -Do you have court cases? They will be demolished at once, within 3 days. -Business attraction, business protection, comes now for help. -Bring back lost lover within 3 days. -Solves family misunderstanding. -Do you want to recover stolen properties? Same day. If you want to talk to your spirits, you are welcome. -Are owing or your owed by someone or company, come and you will be freed -Do you want luck? Come we are different with money back guarantee. Student passes exams . For More information, Contact Phone; +27638569614 Email; Call for the Fast and Effective Change In your Life With POWERFUL MAMA HASIFAH +27638569614

Apr 23, 2016 4:42 | 0 replies