50s Highlife, Nostalgia, and Existentialism

Oluwafemi Ojosu
2 min readDec 31, 2022

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At the bar, sitting in psychedelic haze, Fatai Rolling Dollars’ ‘Wọn Kéré sì Nomba wá’ ìs the number that comes up. Left legged dancer, I feel my legs tap, my body takes on a life of its own, my involuntary hips sway to the rhythm to the beats, as I sing-song along to its classic chorus.

I am out with friends, and I think it’s the first, since I relocated to this city; I’ve been able to let my hair down, live in the moment, and just go…

Lagos.

From the endless traffic of commuting, to coming back home; dead drop like a mindless zombie, only to keep it moving the next, I have seen, and I have been shown shege simply by being; in this city.

Being in Lagos sometimes has me pondering the words of Servio Gbadamosi in ‘Where the Light Enters You’ where he muses: “Like Malian merchants farming the oceans 5000 moons before Columbus, I have traded my joys for this little life that enables the winds to dance on my shoulders…”

Have I traded my joys by leaving Ibadan? Is this a little life? What does being in Lagos enable to dance on my shoulders? What does it keep at bay? Poverty?

The next number floats in. It’s Bobby Benson’s highlife masterpiece; Taxi Driver. Bobby’s voice croons on and on with delightful gusto “if you marry taxi driver, I don’t care, if you marry lorry driver, I don’t care…” and it’s the perfect ode to the night, a fitting tribute to the city.

Lagos does not care what we do, and we would be delusional to hold otherwise…

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