Located on the west coast of Africa, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world — and one in six Africans is Nigerian. Its megacity Lagos is the hub of commerce for the country, and it's also known for its epic nightlife, bustling street markets, influential music scene, and Nollywood, the second-largest film industry in the world (to the tune of 1500 movies per year).
Most countries embody contradictions, but Nigeria takes it to extremes. There's vast wealth (thanks to its oil reserves) right next door to poverty; one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. Devout religious beliefs rub elbows with government corruption.
Despite all that, or perhaps because of it, Nigerian culture is boisterous, colorful, and exuberant, shaped by both religions and tribal tradition. English is the official language, and most Nigerians also speak Nigerian Pidgin, a creole language that combines local dialects, slang, and English words.
In this episode, we explore Nigeria's past and present, including the deliciously carb-centric and spicy food. Then we discuss five books that took us there on the page, including a sci-fi-noir novel, an evocative travelogue, a darkly comic story of sisterly love, a multi-generational family saga featuring Nigerian cuisine, and the tale of a village girl on a quest for an education.
The books we cover include:
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria by Noo Saro-Wiwa
- Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
- Rosewater: Book 1 of the Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson
- The Girl with the Louding Voice: A Novel by Abi Daré
For more on the books we recommend, plus the other cool stuff we talk about, visit show notes at http://strongsenseofplace.com/podcasts/2020-11-16-nigeria
As always, you can follow us at: