East to West, home is best, blah-di-dah–my TED talk may have been described as a ‘love song to Lagos’, but my relationship to the city is rocky, at best. In any case, I’ve been invited to speak at two events in UNILAG in the past year, the first being the African Mobilities project in October 2017.
Curated by Dr. Mpho Matsipa of Wits University, African Mobilities brought together Olalekan Jeyifous, an artist with a background in architecture, and Wale Lawal, the founding editor of Republic Magazine, to create a conversation about urban realities, innovations and futures in Lagos.
I was invited to offer insights into what the gendered implications of these futures and realities might be, and at first I felt a bit out of my depth because I don’t have a background in building design or urban landscapes. But as the conversation deepened I realised I had a lot to say–a lot–and even almost got into an argument with someone in the audience. Typical.
A bit more my speed was the Gender Expression Exhibition on March 9th, organised by Titilayo Adeyeri, a final year student of UNILAG whose courage and can-do attitude I find very inspiring. I was a speaker alongside Chisom Ogbommuo, a UN Youth Envoy and the founder of Conversation Cafe, and Abimbola Izu, a banking and legal technocrat.
It was a relaxed, fun evening with frank conversations about navigating gendered bias and discrimination in Nigeria, and I really enjoyed speaking with the students who came up to me afterwards to disagree, seek clarification or just say hi.