Femke becomes Funke: Golden opportunity!

It gets better! YNaija introduces you to Dutch writer and journalist, Femke van Zeijl who has been traveling across sub-Saharan Africa for about 10 years.

Now she trades, um, her nomadic existence for a permanent position in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. Follow Femke’s journeys through her new life in Africa’s most populous country.

The address he gives me turns out to be a little store selling sugar and matches. I follow him to his office.

My mobile goes just as I hop on the back of a bike at Ojuelegba. Unknown number. ‘Femke? Miss Femke? This is…’ The honking around me makes me miss the name of the caller. ‘Important’, I can just make out, and ‘Opportunity.

‘ I tell him to send me a text and hang up. A minute later the message comes in. Trying to keep the plastic helmet that looks like a children’s toy on my head with my left hand, I open the text with my right. ‘We want to ask you to present an award show on tv’, I read. Signed: the big boss of some company in show business.

A managing director in showbiz has heard of me already and wants to launch me on television? I had understood Nigeria was the land of opportunity, but hadn’t expected things to happen this fast. I have only been in Lagos for a week. My cv must have been going round in the right circles.

Out of curiosity and as I am in the area anyway, I go and look up the big boss in his office. The address he gives me turns out to be a little store selling sugar and matches. I follow him to his office. We step over smelly gutters with greenish slime and squeeze ourselves through narrow alleys.

The big boss holds office in his home. He sits on a dirty yellow crate, I on the only chair in him one room apartment. His business cards are black with gold, as is the glossy brochure of the company and the internet site full of blinking diamond shaped buttons.

As a little rat calmly strolls from one end of the room to the other, the big boss paints my bright future in this show of glitter and glamour he’ll be producing. Tiny detail: the concept still needs to be sold to a tv station. But he is optimistic about his chances.

I smile and say thanks, but no thanks.

‘Wouldn’t you want to be my partner in business? With your name and picture on the website’, he tries as I am already heading towards the door. He follows me with his laptop to show the prominent location my white face would get on the home page. I laugh and respond that a simple Dutch journalist does not deserve that much space.

‘Ah, and you are even a journalist?’ he reacts, happily surprised.

 

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