Guardian editorial on Welcome to Lagos

By | April 27, 2010

The scheduling has done this documentary series no favours. Welcome to Lagos has coincided each Thursday night with an event, the TV debate between the three party leaders, which has not only turned this election on its head, but which may have changed politics in this country forever. If you can ignore history being made on the other side, a treat awaits you on BBC2. The producer Will Anderson has spent four months in the least salubrious spots of Lagos, one of Africa’s mega-cities – the main dump Olusosun, Makoko a floating slum, and the beach which is home to squatters. Thankfully, he was not on a quest for yet another extreme environment. Nor was he out to produce another derivative of Slumdog Millionaire. The stars of this world do not wallow in self-revelation, but are ordinary, resourceful people who get by. Meet Joseph, who burns the PVC coating off copper wire by night and proclaims that his business is just like the stock market. The price of metals he sells fluctuates with the price of the dollar. In fact, he goes on, the only difference between him and city slickers are suits, ties and fine shoes. One can think of a few others, as he leads you back to his one room apartment, but there is no cause for hand-wringing. No hearts bleed in this series, except those of the cattle slaughtered in the market. Nor is anyone pretending that life in the dump or the floating slum is another other than it is. If you can see it on iplayer, do. Otherwise this series is worth, dare one say it , a repeat.


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