5th of May is the day UNESCO announced in 2015 for people around the world to celebrate the culture and heritage of Africa.
To honour the diverse heritage of my Africa, I have chosen five photographs out of thousands from my Egypt and Nigeria collection and five photographs from other African countries. These photographs may not be the best but each represent an era, a civilisation or traditions of the African story. Many traditions are nearly extinct; each year monuments are destroyed, traditional crafts are discontinued, and culture changes. If not for documentation and archives, much of Africa’s heritage would be lost. Join me in preservation and documentation of cultures, traditions and heritage so that generations to come will have a glimpse into understanding this human journey.
Rock painting in Karkur Talh (Arcadia Valley), Uwaynat Mountains on Egypt/Sudan border. Painting survives under rock ledge from 8000BCE
City of the Past, Medinet Madi, an early settlement on the desert edge (30 kilometres beyond Fayoum Oasis) was founded by pharaoh Amenemhot III (1844-1797 BCE). Along the processional avenue are varied examples of lions from the Ptolemaic period: winged beast some with heads of Ptolemaic king.
Ain Umm el-Dabadib, Roman fort and settlement along ancient caravan route between Darb el-Arbain and Dakhlia Oasis.
Fanous: The Egyptian light of Ramadan. The origin of the word “Fanous” is Greek means light.
Fiteer, Egyptian pancake. Hagg Mahmoud pulls from beneath a pyramid of dough-shaped balls, one pastry roll. With quick wrist motions, he begins to flatten and flip it—twirl, stretch, fold—until the dough is paper-thin and translucent. Then fills it with sweet or savoury, it is delicious.
Zaria or the Zazzau is a city in northern Nigeria that can boast of the finest traditional uniforms, horsemanship, dancing groups with handcrafted musical instruments at the Durbar, an equestrian parade to celebrate Islamic and national events.
Bida, west-central Nigeria. The two crafts that Bida is most famous are Glassmakers and Brassworks. Each craft has a specific quarter of the city where the families are bound together in a strict guild.
Odogbolu Town in the south-west, Egun Olotun masquerade. Egun means masquerade; the name of the masquerades Olotun.
Traditional musicians from Calabar, south-eastern Nigeria.
Groundnut (peanut) farmer from Kano. Groundnut used to be one of Nigeria’s largest exports before the discovery of oil. The calabash (native gourd) has been repaired by stitching.
Village of Kpeta meaning ‘on top of a hill’ on Easter Sunday celebration
REPUBLIC OF BENIN
Near the city of Ouidah are statues called the Revenants that guard the monument. They represent Voodoo dancers who wait on the beach to welcome wandering slave souls back to Africa.
Conakry: weaving on narrow horizontal loom measuring 4 to 8 inches across in one continuous strip. Strip weaving that dates back to the 10th century in West Africa.The weaver frequently adds supplementary threads or embroidery.
Timbuktu 1988 with my daughter and son
All Photographs and text are under international copyright laws. No re-use without the permission of Lesley Lababidi 2023.
Lovely piece, Lesley.
Wishing you a happy African Heritage Day.
Sending blessings to you and Saadia and family.
Thank you Olatoun. I am grateful for your friendship. L.
Thank you for this. What a great synopsis of Africa and your life!
Thank you for putting this together. What a wonderful synopsis of Africa and your life there!
Thank you so much…50 years of my life in Africa! L.
Fascinating photos as always!
Thank you so much and thank you for following.. Hope you are keeping well. L.
Wonderful story and pictures. Thanks for this!
I sure hope you and your family are keeping well. Thank you so much for your comment. L.
You are the LIGHT of east and west. We are blessed. Craig Royce
Your comment is so generous. Thank you. L.