A feature from the Soccer World Cup 2010: Nigeria
Location: Lagos, Nigeria
Makoko fishing village in Lagos, Nigeria, is a slum with many diverse tales. It has survived the tide for years, and was built and inhabited by fishing communities, most of them who came here many years ago as immigrants from neighbouring countries such as Ghana and Benin.
These people followed the fish here. With no space to build their houses on the mainland, they created the slum by building their houses on top of water using timber and iron sheets. There are no toilets or any forms of sanitation in the expansive village. There is no clean water for drinking.
The fishermen put their traps under their houses to catch fish at night. In the morning they harvest the fish for their own food needs and for selling to others. Most of the fishermen have ponds in the water where they keep their excess catches of live fish and crabs. Boats and canoes are used to move from one place to the next. The rickety ‘streets’ and bridges are built with pieces of timber.
Life is not easy for young people here. Without employment, a few innovators reclaimed some of the areas inside the village using soil from the mainland and sawdust. The created a small football pitch for playing soccer in the evening after work. They go fishing early in the morning and come back to play soccer in the late afternoon.
When they are not fishing or playing soccer, these young people flock to video houses in the slum where they follow European soccer on DSTV. One only has to look at the fashion style of the youth to see that European soccer has had a strong influence on these young people. Many of them hope that they too will become great soccer players and play in big leagues one day.
With the World Cup coming to Africa for the first time in history, there is a general sense of excitement in the community. Football generates a lot of interest for the youth living here. Those who have nothing else to inspire them are encouraged by the fact that a few of their heroes came from this community. Indeed some of the greatest footballers in Nigeria grew up in this slum!