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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.

Lagos - a city with two faces

By Zenoyise Madikwa | Feb 23, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THERE are two things I loathe about Lagos - its faces.

THERE are two things I loathe about Lagos - its faces.

The problem with this two-faced city is that the few rich live in stupendous wealth, while the majority in this country richly endowed with crude oil and other mineral resources wallow in poverty.

The lifestyle and the Victoria Island mansions we see in the Nigerian movies on Africa Magic channel are real. While some people live in them, drive exotic cars, eat the best food and travel, many cannot afford a simple meal.

The streets of this most populous city in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa, are littered with beggars and traders young and old trying to eke out a living by selling anything from clothes to sweets.

With wall-to-wall people, bumper-to-bumper cars, noise and pollution beyond belief and an electricity utility that is simply incapable of coping with the demands of the huge population, you would appreciate South Africa.

Getting around can sometimes be a little tough, and it is certainly a challenging destination for first-timers. The rules of the road are not observed. People just push their way through the filthy streets, forcing cars off the road or squeezing between trucks and oil tankers going in opposite directions.

It is not a rare sight to see a rich person flanked by bodyguards and being fanned throwing money on the ground while the poor follow him around in the uncomfortably hot Lagos.

The country is very expensive. For a good hotel room you can pay as much as $300 (about R2300) a night.

Women younger than 18 years old are a rare sight on the filthy streets while boys as young as 10 visit the market after school to earn a living for their families.

It is not all doom and gloom though. Nigeria has some of the hottest men in Africa. Four in five guys that I saw in Naija were hot, neat and tall with beautiful bodies.

Things got interesting from the moment I stepped onto an Arik Airways airplane, a Nigerian airline that took over from the former Nigeria Airways.

The usual courteous attitude that is often reserved for white customers here in South Africa was so palpable. The airline staff made me feel special.

In Nigeria black South Africans are treated like royalty. I felt guilty about the xenophobic behaviour that South Africans have shown towards other Africans. People generally are friendly and have a giving spirit.

At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, an airport that Joburg's Park Station can easily compete with and get full marks, I was greeted with smiles and treated with dignity while I watched abelungu being searched like criminals. It was nice for once to feel important in your own continent.

We went to Victoria Island, a highbrow neighbourhood, where our South African-chain Protea Hotel was.

The hotel staff were friendly and gave me special attention because I was "a sister from the Southy".

Nigerian food was another highlight. The dishes were delicious and common food that you can get in hotels includes garri, egusi, amala, tuwoo , yam, plantain, akpu , pounded yam, banga soup, gbegiri, edikaekio, owo soup, to mention but a few.

To really enjoy the country you must take lots and lots of money. Money and a little smile speak volumes in Naija.

l The writer was a guest of the M-Net Face of Africa.


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