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



His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Yahaya Abubakar CFR, ETSU NUPE and the Chairman of the Niger State Council of Traditional Rulers bestows the title, Jikadiya Gargajiya Nupe, Ambassador for Cultural Heritage of Nupeland, November 17, 2019. Read:https://aucpress.com/auc-press-blog/lesley-lababidi-presented-with-rare-nupe-award/Here

Nomad4now tells my story through others.  There is no greater challenge or pleasure than to push beyond self, to learn about others and to be grateful for the opportunity. A septuagenarian whose lifetime ebbs and flows through Africa and the Middle East, my mission is to document, through writing, photography and film, the migration of material culture —the crafts and the stories. 

The purpose of this blog is to collect my work and publications and to promote understanding. The blog documents visual and material culture, traditional crafts, exploration, travel through observation and research.  The majority of articles focus on the cultural heritage. A variety of subjects about Egypt and Nigeria, Syria, Togo, and Republic of Benin, which are found under ‘Articles’.  Journey along the Silk Road from from China through Central Asia and the Middle East and follow craft migration along the trans-Saharan routes across North and West Africa.  

Since 2015, I have been involved in documentation of traditional crafts in Nupeland (Bida, Nigeria), specifically my research focuses on the Masaga glass workers traditions (see Rituals, Religious practices, and glass/glass bead making in Ile-Ife and Bida, Nigeria) and producing  raw glass known as bikini glass. The documentary, The Lost Legacy of Bida Bikini, is a culmination of 6 years of research:

The British Museum link to the documentary can be found here:


or here:

Endangered Material Knowledge YouTube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTRxORja4Ik

In the summer of 2017, I realised my long-time dream to travel the Silk Road from China through Central Asia, researching the migration of traditional and material craft techniques and the fluidity of cultural migration between Africa, the Middle East and Asia. From Beijing through China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan in 2017 to exploring the lesser trade routes and more of Central Asia and China in 2018, my travels took me through the Pamir Highway of Tajikistan to Kyrgyzstan and over the Torugart Pass to Kashgar, China and Xinjiang Province along the Taklamakan Desert and exploring Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, and Tibet Autonomous region in China. Along with extensive travel throughout North Africa and West Africa, I continue my study of the movement of people, ideas, and technology over the centuries on the trans-Saharan and Silk Road trade routes. 

Pamir Highway, Ak-Baital Pass, Tajikistan 2018


Red Walls of Bida: Glass Bangles (Obelisque Publications, 2019).

Indigo and the Durbar (Obelisque Publications, 2019).

Between Two Rivers: Bida, City of the Nupe. (Obelisque Publications, 2019).

Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo. Co-Author: Humphrey Davies. (AUC Press, 2018).

Cairo: The Practical Guide (AUC Press,17th edition, 2012).

Cairo: The Family Guide (AUC Press, 4th Edition, 2010).

Cairo’s Street Stories:Exploring the City’s Statues, Squares, Bridges, Gardens, and Sidewalk Cafés (AUC Press, 2008).

Bahgory Legacy (Obelisque Publications, 2013);

Silent No More Special Needs People in Egypt(AUC Press, 2002);

 Paddle Your Own Canoe An American Woman’s Passage Into Nigeria (Spectrum Books, 1997).


On New Books Network, Middle Eastern Studies: Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo. 


Rituals, Religious practices, and glass/glass bead making in Ile-Ife and Bida, Nigeria, Endangered Material Knowledge Program, British Museum:

 Obelisque Magazine (search under drop down menu)

  Horus, Turath, Valerie Magazine and various other Egyptian publications

ARCE newsletter 

Poetry Award

“Undreams”  Persimmon Tree Magazine  and here


Book launch at American Research Center Egypt (ARCE) for The Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo, here and  here.

Read “The Story Behind the Book”:  The Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo, here.

Review for The Field Guide to the Street Names of Central Cairo: What’s in a name? Al Ahram Weekly , Jan 25, 2019

Review for Cairo Street Stories: Website: Borders Literature for All Nations; Facebook: Borders Literature for All Nations 2017.


Daily Trust, Abuja, Nigeria, May 2022,  “How I opened Bida Glass Works to International Community”

Interview by Olatoun Gabi-Williams of Borders, Literature for All Nations

Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 6.59.31 PM



Read interview, here

Exhibitions and Conference 

Inheriting the City Advancing Understanding in Urban Heritage, Taipei,Taiwan, organised by Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, April 2016.: City Walks: Another Perspective for Narrating the History of the City – Cairo, Egypt. See: https://nomad4now.com/2016/04/11/conference-inheriting-the-city/ and https://nomad4now.com/2017/02/23/announcement-lecture-at-megawra-february-28-2017/

Bling Bling Exhibition March 2019:  Bida Glass at MuséoParc Alésia, France 

Bling Bling Exhibition May-October 2022 Gallo-Roman Vesunna Museum in Perigueux, and here.


Jikadiyan Gargajiya Nupe, conferment by HRH Etsu Nupe Alhaji Yahaya, Abubakar, November 17, 2019. Read here.

Otun Yeye Luwa, conferment by Oba of Lagos, Alayeluwa Oba Adeyink Oyekan II, March 20,1999. 

This website would not have been possible without the suggestion, mentoring, advice, direction and generous time of Ingrid Wassmann at AUC Press. Many thanks, Ingrid.

Pictures and photographs in this blog are solely my photography unless otherwise noted.  

All rights reserved by Lesley Lababidi. To copy or re-produce photography and/or writings, written permission from Lesley Lababidi is required.

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

21 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Leslie!
    This is the first time I have been on your blog! Great stuff!
    Hope you are doing well – say “Hi” to the Maan and the “kids” for me!
    Also, wanted to let you know that Dorry is in Denver in an assisted living place for now.
    She fell at home and Jim & I found her – she had been on the floor overnight until 3 pm
    when we came.
    She is recovering well, but is on oxygen and won’t be able to come home until her
    oxygen amount goes down to level 2 (she’s on 3 now). I go down to see her every week
    or so, and I’ll tell her that I sent you this message.
    I love your blog and will revisit it when I have time. So many interesting articles and

    Stay well and enjoy the summer!
    Ann (& JIm) Neering
    Estes Park

  2. Hello Mrs. Lababidy,

    I bought your book, Cairo’s Street Stories, because I loved the details about green spaces, statues which I am totally interested in. I am doing a Master Thesis about Public Spaces in Cairo and found many books about urban spaces generaly. I saw a picture your daughter took in page 27, the Azbakeya garden with ‘Sour al-Azbakeya’ (the book market) but as you know this garden was removed during the construction of metro ataba. I have been searching in arabic and in english about the details of this garden with its statue, as a man standing and I can’t figure it out which statue it was, not the Ibrahim Pasha behind Opera. I wanted to ask you if you know which statue it was and if you have know any information about it. I already have a book called “Azbakiyya and its environs” but this book was published in 1985, so I am having trouble finding any useful information during Mubarak’s reign. I want to use this picture in my master to show the transformation but I could not find any similiar picture like the one in page 27 and also wanted to ask if I can have a picture instead of scanning and get a bad image. I am very happy and proud of your book because most books talk generaly about urban spaces and not specifially about certain gardens and I was having trouble to find useful books about green spaces nowadays. So Thank you for your hard work and for this book. 🙂

  3. Hello Mrs. Lababidy,

    We are an entrepreneurial team in the process of creating a website of modern African culture, set to launch in July 2015.

    We would love to be able to use 4 of your images of the Kano Durbar in the Travel section of ModernAfricanCulture.com, Proper accreditation will be provided, as well as links to nomad4now.com and to the official Nigerian tourism site. We will also include brief information on the festival.

    We would be providing free advertising for the Festival and for tourism in Nigeria in general. We are doing the same for all primary tourist attractions and events in Africa.

    We hope to hear favorably from you shortly.

    Thank you for all you do, and thank you so very much for your time.

    Nii Tei Laryea

    • Dear Nii Tei Laryea, Thank you for asking my permission to use the Durbar photographs. I would be honored to have the photos in your magazine and I appreciate that you will give me full credit and link my blog to your magazine. Please send your web site address so that when the article comes out, I can link your magazine to my blog, as well.
      Thank you again for asking permission. I appreciate it.
      Mrs. L. Lababidi

  4. Dear Lesley,
    Thank you so much for sharing the experiences you make in so many beautiful countries!
    I try to find out the name of the restaurant in Cairo where you have lunch (Sinai Liberation Day/you tube video) – I am going to Cairo next week and would loooove to eat there.
    Thank you so much for your respond.
    Kindly from Berlin,

  5. Dear Melanie,
    Thank you for this lovely note that I woke to…Yes, I will get you the information. Give me a day and I will get back to you as Im in Nigeria right now.
    Thanks again,

  6. Dear Lesley
    I am project managing a Nigerian senior secondary school book for Cambridge University Press entitled “Excellence in English”. A section in the book relates to the Dubar Festival. I saw your beautiful photographs published in Obelisque Magazine 2013 and would love to use two of them (nobles paying tribute to the Emir and one with horsemen). Full credit will be given to the source.

    If you are agreeable, I would require higher resolution images than is on the website as it is a printed book.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards
    Nicci Botha

    • Dear Nicci,
      Thank you very much for your interest in my Durbar photographs and the lovely compliment.It would be a pleasure to contribute to your book. I have sent you an email on the subject so we can take it from there.

  7. Dear Madam: Your pictures of the Durbar Festival in Nigeria are superb. I visited Bida in 1981 and attended the Durbar festival, It was fascinating, I am now writing about this trip in my proposed book – Artistic and Other Encounters – and am seeking permission to use the first picture of the group of horsemen at the top of the article. I still have another year or more to finish writing this text. All sources will be credited.

    • Dear Valerie,
      Firstly, I wish you the best in your writing. Thank you for your comment and compliment. I am very grateful. If you could be more specific which picture you wish to use, that would be helpful. For your book you will need high resolution unless this is an e-book. Thank you for asking my permission for use. I am very appreciative. Sincerely, Lesley

  8. Hello Leslie,
    I don’t know if you would remember me, but we crossed paths several times in Cairo many years ago. I got your phone number from Michael Mitchell but the number is not accessible, and I can’t find an email for you. Are you in Cairo? I am trying to contact you to tell you about a film project I am involved in and ask if you might be interested in also being involved. I hope you are well, and hope we can re-connect! All best wishes from Kit Kat, Jennifer

    • Dear Jennifer,
      Oddly this comment just showed up! Hope everything is going well with your filming. Thank you for thinking of me. Best of luck and stay in touch.

  9. Dear Lesley,

    This is Cheyenne from Colorado. I seemed to have misplaced your contact information with my new Job and would like to reconnect with you and not sure the best way to do so. I hope you are well.

  10. Hi Lesley,
    For our coming web site article to acquaint our public with Egyptian Mawlid an-Nabi we would like to use a copy right free (landscape) image of an Arouset El-Moulid. Could we use one of yours?

    Kind regards and Mawlid al-Nabi mubarak in advance!

  11. Dear Mrs. Lababidi,
    I trust you are doing great with your family.
    I am please to inform you that i am a postgraduate student of the Federal University Kashere, Gombe State, Nigeria studying your book titled: Paddle Your Own Canoe for my desertation.
    I will be glad if you would help me with some materials or links where i can possibly lay hands on any available review(s) on the text. There are little materials that dwells on the book. My email address is here attached with: aliyushuaibubabas@gmail.com in case you can help.
    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s