Spotlight on… Nigeria
93,000 Nigerian-born Londoners in 2011, says the Office for National Statistics.
Favourite parts of London:
Mostly south — Clapham, Peckham, Camberwell — but also Hackney, Swiss Cottage and Kilburn.
More than 200 years old — the earliest Nigerians to arrive in London came here as a result of the slave trade. More recently a lot of Nigerians emigrated here in the 1960s.
Okay, but that was still a while ago. Tell me something that’s happening right now:
The Nigerian Carnival will be buzzing with fabulous costumes, music and food in Kennington Park on October 20.
Sounds like the Notting Hill Carnival:
Yes, but that took place in the long forgotten summer. This one’s in just two weeks’ time.
What if I can’t wait that long to dance to some Nigerian beats?
You could head down to south London’s Club Zanzibar. But you’ve probably been dancing to a lot of Nigerian music if you’ve been in any R&B clubs recently.
Oh yeah, like what?
Oliver Twist, the electro and Afro-Beats dance track from D’banj, was No 2 in the R&B charts this summer.
I love that song!
You’re just saying that because you want to sound young and hip, aren’t you?
No comment. Let’s go back to the food. Where’s good?
805 on the Old Kent Road is where Nigerians go if they want a taste of home (and can’t be bothered with home cooking). But there are more than 300 Nigerian restaurants to choose from in this city.
Let’s stick with that numbered one for now. What should I order when I get there?
I’d try the spiced cowfoot, the fried plantain and jollof rice. And make sure to save room for the whole grilled croaker fish.
I’ll certainly try. Oh, and I’ll be able to read the menu, right?
Yes, don’t worry your little linguistically challenged head about it. But since you ask, there are large number of Nigerian languages spoken in London, including Yoruba, Igbo and Urhobo.
Are there an equally diverse number of Nigerian churches?
It’s like you’re psychic. I was just about to mention that if you feel like attending a Nigerian service this Sunday you can choose from an extensive range of denominations: Pentecostal, Celestial, Apostolic, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Baptist. There are also a number of Nigerian Muslims practising here.
That’s a lot to choose from. But what if I’m feeling more materially minded?
Go check out Duro Olowu’s gorgeous spring collection 2013, below right. The London-based Nigerian designer combines African prints with fabulous tailoring. Michelle Obama has been a fan since 2008.
I’m sold. That saves me worrying what to wear to the carnival.
See you there — save me some croaker fish.