Obelisque Magazine 2020

Leave something of sweetness and substance in the mouth of the world.                                  

 Anna Belle Kaufman

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Another beautiful edition of the Obelisque Magazine 2020 just hit the bookstores in Cairo! As usual it is full of articles that span subjects on architecture to heritage to travel. My contributions to the magazine this year are:  “Portrait of a Glassmaker” (the second article of a 2 part series, the first in Obelisque 2019) and Street Art: “Mohammed Laz-Ogli.”

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For more information on Masaga Community Glassmakers in Bida, Nigeria, go to:

Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France

https://nomad4now.com/2018/12/22/nupe-day-merit-award/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/10/06/red-walls-of-bida-the-book/

https://nomad4now.com/2020/01/03/portraits-of-a-glassmaker/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/12/04/turbaned-jikadiya-gargajiya/

Instragram: bida_glassmakers

OBA OF BENIN VISITS ETSU NUPE

The following three videos chronicle the official visit of HRH Ewuare II Oba of Benin with  HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar CFR, Etsu Nupe, Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers Read. This is a significant meeting between two powerful, traditional kingdoms of Nigeria. Take note of the Nupe traditional dance, the music particularly the flute and the durbar. This ceremony was held in Bida, Nigeria at the palace of the ETSU NUPE January 2020.

Above: The Oba of Benin arrives at the Palace of ETSU NUPE

Above: Kakaki trumpeters:

According to tradition the Atta of Igala, to whom the Nupe were subject in mid-fifteenth century, presented Tsoede, founder of the Nupe kingdom, with vari- ous royal insignia “including kakaki or the long royal trumpets” (Hogben & Kirk- Greene 1966:262). As this antedates their acquisition by both Songhai and Kano, which are considerably further north, while the Igala are to the south of the Nupe, one must choose between a southern origin, some form of instrumental leap-frog, or treat the story as legend. Since all evidence points to North Africa as the immed- iate source and simpler explanations are preferred to more contorted if they account for the facts, we are inclined to regard the story of Tsoede’s acquisition as later glorification of a past hero. There is, moreover, no evidence that the Igala ever had long trumpets; when the British 1841 expedition met the then Atta, his interest in the party’s bugle suggested unfamiliarity with both its “gold-like material” (Allen & Thomson 1848:303) and aerophones of longer dimensions. Recent research now dates the introduction of the Nupe kakaki from the reign of Etsu Majaya (1796- 1810)7, which accords with the hypothesis of a north-south diffusion, the trumpet entering Nigeria through Hausaland, whence it passed to the Nupe and so to the Yoruba.  – Gourlay, K.A., Long Trumpets of Northern Nigeria — In History and Today)

S.F. Nadel’s account of kakaki trumpeters in Bida (heart of Nupeland)  in 1930s:  “On Thursday night and again on Friday afternoon the Etsu rides in great state to the mosque in the town, and on Friday at his return holds a reception in his house …”. During the procession, with the “king and courtiers on horseback, in their sumptuous gowns … drummers are beating their drums, three mounted trumpeters blow the huge bronze kakati in an incessant deaf- ening chorus.” (S.F Nadel, A Black Byzantium London Routledge and Kegan. 1942.)

Obituary: Yanda Yayi, Masaga Glassmaker

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Yanda Yayi, blinded by years of sitting in front of an open fire, created glass beads for most of his 80 years.  He was the second oldest man in the Masaga community of glassmakers that had seen the making of bikini glass ( a term the Masaga people use that describes indigenously made glass) in his youth. In November 2019 when I produced a documentary about the Masaga glassmaking community,  he was present, everyday, and contributed generously to the reconstructing of the process to make bikini glass,

The urgency to make the documentary about locally produced bikini glass was that the Masaga community had not made bikini glass for over 50 years and only two men had ever seen it produced by their forefathers. Yanda Yayi was one of the two. Recreating this process for the community to witness the legend of making bikini glass in the present took a year of difficult negotiation.  I believed passionately their story had to be told.

Unfortunately, the film has yet to be edited and released. Hopefully the release will be by September 2020 but too late for Yanda Yayi.

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One of the oldest glass craftsmen in Bida

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Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France

https://nomad4now.com/2018/12/22/nupe-day-merit-award/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/10/06/red-walls-of-bida-the-book/

https://nomad4now.com/2020/01/03/portraits-of-a-glassmaker/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/12/04/turbaned-jikadiya-gargajiya/

Instagram: bida_glassmakers

‘Tis the season for Harmattan Lilies

IMG_1581  In sub-Saharan West Africa when the end of the year approaches and the rains have ceased, the dry Harmattan wind fills the sky with grey dust…tis the season for the glorious Harmattan lilies (Amaryllidaceae) to bloom.

As we welcome 2020 (the only year in the century that repeats its identical numbers), the perennial gift of the blossoming Harmattan lilies represent our delicate earth that needs everyones observant attentiveness to protect and preserve.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver

Thank you to everyone who follows my blog.

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade

 

 

Meanwhile in Lagos… Zainab Saleh Hosts the 6th International Female Open Karate Championship

While I was in Bida, Nigeria, filming the documentary about Masaga Glassmakers, The Zainab Saleh 6th International Female Open Karate Championship was taking place in Lagos from November 21st to 24th.

Founder, organizer and karate black belt, Hajiya Zainab Saleh is from Northern Nigeria. But her karate story begins far from Nigeria. Zainab started training in karate during the years her father, Ambassador Mustapha Saleh (late), served as Nigerian diplomat and ambassador in many capitols of the world. Zainab’s mother, Amina, originally from Sierre Leone, raised the family from country to country, which provided opportunities for Zainab and her siblings to experience a variety of sports that were not available in Nigeria.

Men and women play sports in different parts of the world, have fun, and then move onto something else. Not Zainab. When the Salehs were posted to Mexico, the young Zainab asked her father if she could train in karate. He was supportive. Wherever the family lived, Zainab took karate and eventually, qualified as a black belt. Then one day, many years later, Zainab decided that sporting opportunities were lacking for females in Nigeria. Karate was her passion.  So, beginning at the very beginning, she introduced karate training, then a tournament and then another until it became an international tournament with international referees.

Competition is not only open to females of all ages but for the first time this year, there was a category for wheelchair karate athletes.

If you are interested in supporting this incredible initiative, contact

Zainab Saleh Karate

@ZSalehKarate

#ZainabSalehKarate 

Email: zainabsalehkarate@gmail.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ZAINAB!

Next year…another tournament and another birthday…InshAllah!

 

 

Turbaned! Jikadiya Gargajiya

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Five years ago, my connection with Nupe Land began with a visit of condolences.  Alhaji Dan Galadima, brother of the late Alhaji Isah,  took me under his wing and introduced me to Nupe heritage and has been my mentor, friend and advisor throughout the years. From the start, I was enthralled with the diversity of traditional crafts in the area. Over the years, my journeys to Bida went from an interest in material culture and blogging about the experience to researcher of Nupe heritage, particularly, the study of glassmaking. All of which evolved into becoming an honorary member of the Masaga glassmaking community.  These rich and rewarding journeys culminated in the month of November 2019, that saw the acceptance of the title, Jikadiyan Gargagiya, Ambassador of Nupe Traditions  from His Royal Highness, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar CFR, ETSU NUPE, Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers:

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The following is the only video that I have received of the turbaning. The video is taken from a bad angle but it is important in documenting the moment.

The turbaning was the highlight of the month spent in Bida while filming the production of bikini glass. A raw glass that had not been made for over 50 years by the Masaga glassakers. This film, Legacy of Bida Glassmakers, d

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On November 24, 2019, the Masaga glassmakers successfully unearthed glass, called bikini, which has not been produced for over 50 years. The secret formula, handed down for centuries by the Masaga forefathers, migrated from Egypt with this knowledge and settled in the area of Bida because of the rich silica sand, (told through oral history).  Only two, ninety year old men remain alive today who have seen this process in their youth. From this point of their memory, the documentary recreates the process of this Nupe heritage, nearly extinct in human memory and, it is said, the Masaga community to be the only people in the world who still can make glass  out of sand in an underground furnace .

 

 

The next picture and video are (swipe left)  from the Instagram page of the Remi Vaughan-Richard, the director of the documentary, Legacy of Bida Glassmakers (currently in production).

Below a video of unearthing glass, posted by the director, Remi Vaughan-Richards:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5PwcdblM7D/?utm_source=ig_web_options_share_sheet

The turbaning set for November 17, 2019 was a grand ceremony that brought together dignitaries from every walk of life in Nigeria. The following are a variety of pictures as the crowds came together.

Then the turbaning, itself, best appreciated in a slideshow….

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Bahagadochi
(praise and respect for His Royal Highness) Read, here

And if all the above is not thrilling enough, here is a turbaning archive, 1959, one year before independence from Britain. A durbar or parade after Ramadan and a traditional turbaning are the events presided over by the ETSU NUPE, Malam Muhammadu Ndayako dan Muhammadu.

copyscape-banner-white-160x56All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the permission of Lesley Lababidi 2019.

For more information about Bida, go to:

Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France

https://nomad4now.com/2018/12/22/nupe-day-merit-award/

https://nomad4now.com/2019/10/06/red-walls-of-bida-the-book/

Red Walls of Bida – The Book

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Since 2014, I have been involved with research, study, and promoting awareness of the splendid traditional crafts in Nupe Land, Bida, Nigeria. On this blog find the first of my reports.

Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France

The next step is a documentary so stay tuned! If you would like a hard copy of this book, please email: leslaba@yahoo.com