eXploring ‘Market’ Review: Everything really starts small

From a song about New York titled “Empire State of Mind” by American rapper Jay Z is the line “…and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere”.

That iconic line represents a lot of things that have been said about Lagos. The hustle, the speed, the hunger and drive to succeed, and what a popular Nigerian rapper Mode 9 referred to as “Red eye”. In light of all this, Lagos has become known for the small things that have come together to represent the spirit of survival; the small businesses that have come to represent the soul of the city.

The episode of eXploring this week titled ‘Market’ dealt with this particular angle, and nothing says so much about Lagos way of life than the ‘Agege bread’. Dipping their toes into this rich representation of Lagos culture and story, Zina and Denola visited a small bakery in Lagos that produced just ‘Agege bread’ daily, or more specifically, two times each day.

The first half of the show was an insight into the ways and the means of producing this item that continues to be massively devoured, even in the midst of what some might call ‘better alternatives’ like premium loaf or sliced bread from bigger bakeries in the city.

Speaking with Mr. Akin, the manager of the bakery, and assisted with several shots of sweaty apron-wearing mixers and bakers at work, Zina and Denola steadily revealed the process behind the baking of the ‘Agege bread’. They also asked if bromate was still an ingredient used when making the bread. Mr. Akin also revealed how he went through training to become a baker before starting his own business, and has also succeeded in training a lot of people.

Next place visited by the hosts was the Aswani market, a place one of Nigeria’s biggest online news platforms listed as one of the five markets to purchase clothing in Lagos State. Aswani represents the spirit and culture of choices, especially when customers are looking forward to buying a lot more while paying far less than what they would get in other markets. And the name in itself… euphoric.

Chatting with the Secretary of the market, Alhaji Oyedele, the second half of the show delved into how the market was established in 1979, and has gained international repute.

Managed by sectional leaders, the secretary revealed that owners of small businesses all around the city are reached out to by these leaders, who invite them to take advantage of the space provided in the market to conduct their businesses in a safe and conducive environment.

So even though the market is opened officially on Tuesdays each week, it remains one of the busiest markets in Lagos State.

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