Turbaned! Jikadiya Gargajiya

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:




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


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:


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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(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.

All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the written permission of Lesley Lababidi 2023.

For more information about Bida, go to:

Bida Glass: Bangles and Beads

Bling Bling in Bida

Bida Glass at Muséo Parc Alésia, France



16 thoughts on “Turbaned! Jikadiya Gargajiya

  1. Beautiful scenes! But I wish you have attached video clips to enable your followers to listen to Nupe various songs and sounds. And to hear how you have communicated with the local people, particularly those who have dressed you for the coronation. Once again, congratulations!

    • I know…I wish I had a video too! So far no one took a video and I was not able to do so. It does feel so silent when, in fact, the sounds are rich and varied. Thank you for your, always looked forward to, comments. L.

  2. This is such an honour Lesley! Ambassador of Cultural Heritage of Nupe Land by the Emir. But you have also honoured their heritage and genius by your exploration and documentation of the history of Bida glass making traditions. What a rich, rewarding lilfe you continue to live. You are an inspiration to me. Onwards, Lesley! Looking forward to seeing you in the new year. Blessings and prosperity.

  3. Ambassador of Cultural Heritage of Nupe Land. What an honour, Lesley! But you have also honoured their heritage and their genius by your exploration and documentation of their glass-making traditions. What a rich, adventurous and rewarding life you continue to live, Lesley. You are an inspiration to me. Onwards! Looking forward to seeing you in the new year.

    • Thank you Olatoun. I am very grateful for given the window of opportunity to be allowed in the Nupe community. It is a tremendous honour. I am looking forward to seeing you in 2020 in Lagos. L.

  4. Lesley, you have outdone yourself this time. Oh my, you are so far from Ridgefarm! And I’m not talking about distance.
    Thank you for the pictures, they tell a wonderful story. So vivid and interesting, so are you an author, a journalist, or a photographer? I guess all of the above. S.

  5. Michael…absolutely wonderful!!! Wowser!!!

    BIDA. In Niger….. Classic stuff….thank you…. I gotta’ forward this to Marie—- Leslie’s husband…can’t remember the name…what was his profession? Omar Labibidi I remember VERY well….great kid. Cliff

  6. Pingback: Lesley Lababidi presented with rare Nupe Award - AUCPress

  7. You never cease to amaze us! This is an amazing, and am sure very rare, honour they have bestowed on you. Wish you all the very best for the continuation of your Bida glass-making project. Congratulations from three big fans of yours.

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