Think Lagos

“…our leaders not think of us

dey only think of themselves

they want us to kill ourselves

different different war…

kill themselves over money…”

Think Africa, by Seun Kuti performed by Seun Kuti and the Egypt 80


I was asking Seun Kuti to talk about the words to his song “Think Africa” when a gunshot rang out. At first we all thought it was a car backfiring, and in retrospect I remember hearing a small collision and some gasps from the side of the street Seun lives on in Ikeja. And suddenly, three more rapid fire shots, and we all rose from the interview, ran to the window, and looked one floor down into the street.


A man in matching white tunic and trousers was grabbing his bloody leg, but standing, and rapidly firing a large handgun up the street. Then he collapsed on the ground like a rag doll.  A few bystanders helped the man up, one of them got his motorcycle revving again, and the victim got on the back and was taken away, his right leg dangling.  The story that the quickly-gathered crowd in the street shouted up to us was the man in white was a cop who was carrying a bag of money. The attacker apparently knew he had it, and pulled his motorcycle drive-by, shooting the cop in the leg right in front of the Kalakuta Republic.

Much excitement and hooplah ensued.  The blood was washed and covered up with sand outside. And the final “Where Nigerians get C.S.I. oh?! Where Foh-rensic dawk-tah oh!?” jokes were made, and we sat back down to wrap things up.  No manner of law enforcement ever came, as the humor had signposted.

Here’s another contradiction in enforcement: two different signs, both at the New Afrika Shrine. Upon entering:












 And, inside the venue:shrinenodrugs











People smoke openly though at the Shrine. And no one gets arrested there. What to think?


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