Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fabric Shopping in Lagos Markets

On the 26th, a few friends (and security) went shopping at two markets on Lagos Island, Jankara and Balogun Markets. This post focuses on Jankara because I have photos to show a bit of the experience. Our first stop was to purchase fabric used to make geles or headties, worn by Nigerian women as part of the traditional clothing. They are typically worn on special occasions, to church or a wedding, but some women also wear them to work. Here is a link to learn how to tie a gele. I can't wait until I have the opportunity to wear one and I will definitely post that picture! ; ) Kay is a quilter and she bought many used headties to use for quilts and to bring to friends in the US.
The stalls where we found the headtie fabric.
Below are some of the headties on display. A number of women and girls were running up to us to show us what they had, hoping to sell us their headties. Once a few were chosen (or a lot were chosen - Kay purchased 28), a Nigerian friend, Dupe, helped us look though them to get rid of any that had holes. They were sold for just over $1 each. I think Kay was in heaven!
Some of the kids in the market.
After the headties, we moved on to old and new adire (resist dye method using cassava paste). On the right is Kay and in the middle, down low is our friend Dupe, who took us to the market. The other two women (standing) were selling the fabric.
A picture of me with the women and kids of Jankara market.
Chris went along for the market experience and he did buy some fabric. Our friend Dupe is going to help him out by taking his measurements and fabric to her tailor to have a Buba, the men's traditional wear, made for Chris to wear to a wedding. Here is Chris with one of the women from the market. Chris was the photographer for many of the photos here (obviously not this one!).
SIDE NOTE: Jankara Market is on Lagos Island and consists of many shanty buildings with mud floors. The markets are occupied during the day but are empty at night when everyone goes home to rest. On the way to the fabric, we went through the juju market, but unfortunately no one would allow pictures, and neither would the guys slaughtering the cows. We must just be paranoid in the USA because here they just cut up the cow on a large wooden table, whacking away at it with a large knife, with bone pieces and other parts flying.... onto us while we were shopping! The meat, and every other part of the cow, is laid out on a table on display, no refrigeration necessary. One man was even shaving hair off of the skin, preparing it to be eaten. I must say that Nigerians really make the most of what they have! Many people in the USA eat the same parts of the cow but I think the butchering is a little more orderly and the parts are refrigerated. This is not meant to be negative, just an observation or comparison to what I am used to!


All4Naija said...

Yes! You cannot compare USA with Nigeria - Nigeria, a third-world country that has witnessed the worst corruption on earth followed by santions. What that means is, poverty in the faces of the population.

There`s no problem for meaning that at all!

Take of yourself.

pepe said...

Hi,I'm from China. It's so great to enter your blog and have the opportunity to know your life in Lagos,Nigeria.It's very wonderful.
I'm also interested in Nigeria.Because I supply the headtie and fabric to lagos markets that you wrote on your blog. Maybe some ones you bought from me.hehehe
If you have a time,can you pls contact me, here is my MSN( and website(,maybe your Nigeria friends and you will find various headtie.

Ireti said...

Nice post. Here is a link to the location of Jankara market on an interactive map of Lagos, perhaps this could help put your description of the market in context.,+LAGOS+ISLAND&x=3.39005&y=6.45891&hiddenfree=&strAction=ShowHouse&POIType=&DistSearch=

Out of expediency, I'll suggest that you copy the URL and paste it into your browser to see the map.
This location map was generated on -Lagos onlisne interactive street finder.