Adulting with means: replacing adventure with convenience

It would probably be fair for some people to call me bougie. For the last two and half years, 90% of my travel, household chores and several other life things have been outsourced. I have a travel agent that books all my flights, accommodation, transfers and even activities when I travel, a personal shopper for my groceries and a personal trainer. This is not done because I am wildly rich or too bougie to do these things myself, it is done because I simply can’t or won’t be bothered by the hassle. I am a natural worrier, so if I can take some worries out my hands, I will.

When I was in my twenties and a poor journalist I was all about the hassle. I stayed at questionable hotels just to save $20, the struggle was very real. I would Google the heck out of transportation options just to save money and it was all part of the adventure, late night buses and trains through suspects part of town, I walked through neighborhoods that would take the heart of my father. At twenty, it didn’t feel like I couldn’t afford things, it was just part for the adventure, the very inconvenience of an extra hour to a 15mins trip was an exciting unknown. It is who I was and those were some of the best times of my life.

As I got older, my brain began to reshape itself, I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. The meaning of adventure changes and what once seemed like fun becomes risky or dangerous. Now risks have bigger consequences and life altering attributes. When you grow up big questions plague your mind, who am I? Am I enough? What have I done with my life? Is time running out? What will my legacy be? In the midst of asking myself these big questions, I battle to with space and time for unnecessary things. I don’t want to haggle with a cabby at JFK or any other airport in the world. I don’t want to figure out complicated train maps or bus routes. If there is no Uber, I would like someone waiting to pick me up in a weather controlled vehicle. Someone does my grocery shopping because I like the idea of eating healthy but left to me I would survive on takeout. My trainer comes to me because I want to be in shape but I know myself, I would never choose an early morning workout over an hour of writing, reading, working or Netflix. My travel agent books all my travel, because I don’t want to hassle of having to call airlines when I need something changed. I am who I am and that will not change so I make the world around me work. I carefully plan out my finances just so I can make it work.

As a young woman in my twenties, the fun of life was in the misadventures. The many wrong turns that lead to a great story. It is the reason this blog was started. An adult with means doesn’t mean the adventures stop, the definition just changes. As a young woman in my early thirties, attempting to be an adult the best way I know how, an adventure is going on Island vacation but staying a in 4 star hotel because comfort matters and good sleep is 50% of the holiday done.

At a recent late night drinks with friends this came up. And my friend said to me, “you see that bus over there, it stops right in front of my house but I am still taking an Uber home tonight. I don’t want to sit for an hour with many stops, drunk people vomiting when I can be home in minutes and zero stress.”

Emotional blackholes and dealing with existential crisis


In the beginning there was calm. Like always, I had woken up to the sun’s harsh rays attempting to permeate the membranes that protected by eyes. It was calm. I tried to push back the daylight without getting up to close the blinds. As I struggled with the inevitability of the sunlight, I noticed it. At first it was an errant thought, that I don’t want to go to school today feeling. Silly, I didn’t have to go to school or work for that matter, it was my day off. Habit, I guess. I pushed it out and continued my futile battle against the sun. It persisted. Soon, it wasn’t I don’t want to get out of bed, but a sinking feeling of an oncoming emotional crisis. At least that’s what I think it is. It is a cruel hypocritical moment when the emotionally controlled and almost frigid begin to sort out the mechanisms of such a crisis. A battle with your emotions…

I have become quite good at managing my emotions, for me and for other people. You begin to use words such as, it’s fine, no stress, no worries and I don’t mind as though their time in fashion has come. As children become adults or at least something that resembles an adult, emotional management is critical. You learn over time, the tricks to keep them at bay. Sometimes you can outsource those emotions to a future iteration of yourself, or if you are bold and brazen like me, you outsource to other dimensional you. This way future you doesn’t have to deal with them either. It’s neat mental trick, and fans of the multiverse theory can understand the appeal of such a trick. Imagine for a moment that all your bad feelings can be outsourced the a you in a different dimension, assuming you are prime, other yous will keep passing it on until it gets to that emotionally exhausted you that just can’t take anymore – then you hit a blackhole of emotions. In some cases it may go around and come back to you, then future has no escape then, or you just keep passing it on. Yes, I know it is mentally jacked up to think about it, but it’s neat trick in the moments when it works.

However, sometimes the hegemonic rule that you have over your emotion isn’t quite has solid as you would like. Sometimes, you just have to feel things and the floodgates open up. Often the choice is between getting firm control of your emotional borders or losing control completely. There is help to manage these moments, therapy, medication, getting out of your own head. The fragility and emotional gravitas of the human mind doesn’t always agree. I often akin it to those moments between sleeping and waking, the waking dreams. Where you have no control over your body and your mind is the only power that can get you out of what seems life threatening. Building the walls that help your mind cope with the realities of the world takes time, your whole life in fact, tearing them down takes one moment of confusion – the emotional blackhole.

…I fall into these emotional blackholes sometimes. The emotional crisis that plague me for hours or days that I can’t find their origin. This is one is particularly filled with strong emotions of disappointment, in myself, people around, friends and people I trust – that feeling that you are no a priority. A sense of helplessness, though pin pointing what I am helpless about is rather difficult and incoherent. Nothing is more annoying when you are already in a bad headspace than people asking you what is wrong or wondering why you are not yourself. Perhaps, it’s those people making it about them. Sometimes I just need to be sad or angry even if I don’t know why. It’s ok if I have a bad day, that’s life and sometimes it sucks.

“Map out your emotions,” my therapist would say to me. “Work on what is bothering you and let’s build on that”. This would be an excellent approach if I knew what the problem was. In solving the conundrum of the emotional blackhole and getting out of my own head, I have tried eating my way out, that didn’t work, never does. I tried dancing it out, that’s a momentary fix, then there is writing. In telling the story of my emotions and outsourcing them to future and other dimensional Miches I find that I am able to process in some way. It doesn’t fix but it helps me manage. But, nothing beats the silence of being left with your own thoughts to truly drive you nuts and out of their melancholy – sometimes. Other times you just have to wait them out, so today, I am waiting.

Has Africa finished rising?

Cape Town

“Has Africa finished rising yet?” Someone asked me at dinner a few days ago. I am in Lagos and the only friends I have in the city are either entrepreneurs, work for startups or work in tech. This makes perfect sense, my re-introduction into my home country was through a journalist’s lens. The questions I ask are socio-political, they relate to infrastructure and the conversations I have with friends follow this trend. It is a small part of Nigeria, but it the part I know well and I am intimate with.

Four years ago, you couldn’t take a breath in Africa without someone telling you its on the rise. Africa is rising, our mantra to the West. We said to them: come, our continent is ready and we want to show you what we can do. Africa is rising multinationals chanted, they invested in a foray into the continent. This was it, Africa’s time. No one ever asked, who decided this, no one ever asked about the global roster that had Africa next on its list.

While Africa was supposed to be rising for the tech ecosystem, its creative industry that had always been on par and even exceeded global standard pivoted – building on quality and creating global appeal. Everyday people began experimenting with platforms that allowed them to be creative and have fun, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook opened up the world. African fashion and culture began permeating the West. The Ankara jungle of Nigeria proved its potential as a key global player, and the Jollof wars came in vogue with heads of states and celebrities wanting a say. African cities were the subject of sultry tales about young 20-somethings, destinations for world travelers and location for famous Hollywood moments. While we waited for Africa’s infrastructure to catch up with its entrepreneurs, its music, movies and dances graced the world stage and captured the world.

African entrepreneurs have had to force the ecosystem to match where their vision is. They have had to drag governments and users with them on a journey that required stepping back a few steps before achieving the intended beginning. Africa began to rise, then investors decided they weren’t sure it should. Then Starbucks, Burger King and Krispy Kreme, lacking more places in the Western world to go, came here. Then investors too, came back and brought with them the multinational’s renewed interest.

African startups haven’t been able to compete in the same way that counterparts in more established markets have. Africa rising put a spotlight and added pressure on a young ecosystem to deliver on impossible scale. When a business that worries about basics has compete with one that only thinks about scale, there is a disconnect. Still, the successes did come.

Africa is the next frontier, I suppose we had to come before space. The next billion users will come from here and the race is on to see who wins the continent. The battle is on between Africans and the West to see who can save Africa first. Who will solve the access problem, who will bridge the skills gap and who will reform the education and healthcare systems.

“Project Africa” is fully on the way and the objectives are set, get Africans on the global stage.

Has Africa finished rising?
Did the sleeping giant awake from its slumber ready to begin the long haul reimagining of a story that has long been told by hunters?
What does a risen continent actually look like?

African startup future: infrastructure and access

pouring water

Last week, I wrote about the future of the African startup. I tried to answer what our future in the tech startup space entailed, I am not sure there is a solid answer to that question. Something that does need to be discussed however, is the infrastructure and access problem that we are still battling to solve.

The ‘West’ has this romanticised view of Africa, the dark continent, the continent on the rise, the home of the next billion users. For those of us that live here, it is a completely different view, we see the daily struggle for basic necessities – the lack of electricity, water and access to the internet and information and basic education. I don’t mean admonish the African dream (something I firmly believe in) but I would like our friends in the West to understand that: Africa is not a project. It is not summer school. For us that live here it is our lives, our home and our future.

The above statement is very important if we are to understand and fix Africa’s startup future. It is no good for you to come here with grandiose ideas about problem solving in many sectors that, yes, need it, when we don’t have the basics right. If we begin at the start, and overlook the romance of the Africa we all desperately dream of, we begin to see the cracks for what they really are: laziness, lack of foresight and indiscipline. This might seem harsh but like I said we are going back to the beginning. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country has oil – a decent amount of it. Nigeria does not have a refinery, it exports crude and imports petroleum. The price of crude tanks, Nigeria loses, the price of petrol goes up, Nigeria loses. You get the idea. For the first time its 50-year history Nigeria is building a refinery, why did it take so long? Crude is not that hard to refine, you can learn how on the internet.

Solving the access and infrastructure gaps are so fundamental to Africa’s startup future and the possibilities of what entrepreneurs can and could possible do. The damage that lack of infrastructure and access is creating is fucking everything up. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, the limited opportunities created by infrastructure absence creates unhealthy competition that limits potential for deeper product understanding and refinement. This creates rather ridiculous funding gaps and funders are now dictating where the emphasis should be because we rather see what is sexy and looks good in the press. Very little to no true innovation is happening Africa right now. The investor class in Africa is too powerful and it is fundamentally problematic and dangerous.

If we examine the many initiatives that have been started to tackle these problems, we have to wonder why are they working or why is it taking so long. We all know what the problem is – the current policy frameworks in play on the continent do not prioritise access and infrastructure. On the surface, sure, governments talk a good game, they all “understand” the importance of technology (no, they don’t). The capitalistic pursuits of corporations continue to leave the African people at a disadvantage. If we look at access, yes there are countries with long ways to go in terms of basics such actual cables. However, there are last mile solutions that could easily be employed with collaboration. A novel and maybe even simplistic view of this lies in the hands of mobile operators. Towers cost money, so operators hike up data prices to make up costs (at least that’s what they tell us).

Imagine, if all the operators in a country worked together to share the costs of towers and covered an entire country. Two things come from this: the user will always have connectivity and the cost of data would somewhat if not significantly cheaper. Tigo and Ericsson is a good example of this with their Tanzania partnership. Yes, we can agree that it is rather complicated from a business point of view. Take roaming for instance. The operator offering the roaming service dictates pricing, and with African telcos, and currency issues, home operators have little real negotiating power when it comes to price. The operating expense is very high and as many networks in Africa are still ‘new’ they’re still paying for suppliers and charge in USD. Then there is the skills gap, engineers cost money, good ones cost a lot. These factors are understandable in a growing economy and would be even more so, if there was significant effort from policymakers to encourage cut costing collaboration or if telcos where openly lobby for these.

It is too simple to think that a business’s purpose is for the benefit of the user not the business. How do you explain why data is perishable? Data expires after 30 days, gas for your car doesn’t, books don’t, education doesn’t but data does. A useful product that allows for access to information and help, expires. If we had better policy that made it easier for telcos to operate (South Africa is a mess) and encouraged innovation and competition that would go a long way to help in solving some of the access and infrastructure problems.

How do we build an ecosystem that engages corporations and governments, and that allows them to understand that there can be no innovation if the people we are innovating for can’t access or afford to use the products we are creating?

What is the future of the African Startup?


What is the future of the African startup? This question was posed to me a couple of days ago and I have battled with the answer. The easy answer is somewhere between tech and agriculture, that’s what surface me would say. I truly believe in the power of technology to change people’s lives. Also, let’s face it if we fix some of the basic infrastructural issues that plague the African agricultural space, I think we would be aces.

This is too easy, tech is broad enough to be a non answer. Agriculture?!? This is a no brainer. So I started thinking about it more deeply. What is our future? How will African startups succeed and set themselves apart from the world? How will we as a continent truly scale (read: this is subjective)?

Some tech trends (thanks Deloitte)

Before I delve into all of that, I think it’s best to drill down on some global tech trends. We all know that machine learning, fintech (key emphasis on blockchain and the trust economy), everything as services, virtual reality (building of immersive experiences for users) and analytics (specifically insights into unstructured data) are making the rounds globally. Fintech alone is estimated to see over $150B in investment globally this year, according to PWC. Oh, let us not forget all the rage around 5G these days.

How does Africa factor into these trends? What does our trend future look like? I am sure all the abovementioned trends are relevant to the continent, but some are more relevant than others. Yes, Africans too, want nice things like 5G and VR but some people are still trying to get GPRS in these parts, while others are just making sure the electricity is on. Two key things are crucially important to this continent from the above trends: Fintech and everything as a service. Note, I am specifically avoiding access/infrastructure mostly because that deserves an entire post on its own. For the purposes on this post we will live the fantasy land that access and infrastructure will be solved soon.

Back to Africa

Shall we begin with Fintech? The meteoric rise startups in Africa playing in the financial services area has been Hitchcockian. Navigating interesting regulatory environments and heavy populations of the unbanked. The companies that are succeeding, of which there are many, are finding ways to make money easier. One of the biggest crisis in Africa is financial inclusion. This presents challenges to many of the unbanked who may have business ventures but aren’t able to take advantage of many of the resources that the financially included have. When we think about Africa’s future and more particularly its startup future, we need to think hard about fintech. One of the key challenges that will plague fintech in Africa is the trust economy, Africa still has low credit card penetration or people who are willing to handover their credit card information. If you think about the calibre of people who can afford ( I use this word loosely) to have a credit card – trust shouldn’t be too difficult. How do we expect to solve the trust issue in a cash economy? Before we can truly conquer the world of fintech in Africa, I think trust must be tackled. Yes, price and convenience will also play a big part but the consumer differentiator will be trust.

Everything as a service, this might seem a bit far-reaching but I think the success of Uber on the continent speaks for itself. Africans want services that work, if we can preorder our lives then we will, for a fair price. Even poor people like nice things and the simplification of their lives. I think there have been some success in Africa around service, SweepSouth and WumDrop on B2C side and Ongair on the B2B side. I am sure there are tons more, which you can Google for yourself. I think as we think of the future and what entrepreneurs do, we need to think about platforms that provide mundane services. Not just for the benefit of the users, which is critical, but for the impact companies like this have on unemployment.

Errant thoughts

I am very interested in the current funding landscape. I have a number of VC friends so you can see why. Yes, we can all agree that Lagos is the most valuable startup ecosystem in Africa now, depending on many variables – who you read, ask, who is willing to share funding numbers and who is getting a lot of press. Whatever you are reading, Africa is getting more money and more is still to come. Will they fund the right things? What impact will it have on the ecosystem?

Mobile-only internet users make up over 50% of internet users in most emerging markets, India, Indonesia and the Philippines being good examples of this. Africa is there, and chances are surpasses the Asia numbers. Startups don’t ignore them. I am not giving this too much attention because, it’s obvious.

Press, press and more press! This will probably get me booed, but I worry that we are all get off on the general hoopla about the ecosystem. I think about it as teens sitting on the quad, saying “OMG the African tech ecosystem is so hot right now. Hype is good, it brings investor attention and customer awareness. Overhype is bad, it creates one hit wonders, no names mentioned.

So what is the future of the African startup? As this dude put it…

Heck what do I know, I am just some girl that asked questions for a living.

Can this selfie get me a date?

angry nird

It’s 2am, I just spent the evening at a club drinking tea (it’s complicated) while pretending I can’t see guys ogling my dress. I am showered but the cigar smoke is still in my hair, so here I am on my balcony trying to air it out. I am also whatsapping a friend in New York, she wants to see what “airing” one’s hair looks like, so I send a selfie.

“Ooh sexy,” she types back.
“Think it will get me a date?” I quip with a laughing emoji. There is context to this but that’s another post. So begins an idea.

I have a vested interest in online communities, mostly because I am trying to figure out a way to get a PhD out some of them. On a deeper level most of my closest friends live in different cities/countries/continents (I also don’t get out much), so the internet is our best way to connect and keep up with each others lives. I wrote a piece just over a year ago about Tinder and the confusions it is causing in the dating scene and how we need to redefine what we are looking for online. I still stand by that piece, but last night I had to ask myself a deeper question: can a simple photograph (selfie) get me a date?

I have a point, I promise.

Think about it, how many of us communicate with each other by way of photographs? To share where we are, what we are doing and wearing? Even to share who we are with. It is part of our culture, a very important part of it.

I was added to an online group a few weeks ago about dating, ordinarily I would remove myself from groups like this but something about this community got my attention. Yes, it is a community of people who support each other and there is no negativity just fun and hopefully a match or two. But what was most fascinating was the redefinition of the selfie culture that exists there. It is used to ask questions, respond to questions and explain the current mood. The conversation is the selfie and it communicates bundles. It is so much easier for people to post a selfie than to engage in comments or otherwise. No one set the rule, at least I don’t think so, it’s just the way it is and it is acceptable. The norm, even.

We would all be lying if physical attributes are not the biggest contributors to attraction. It is what gets you interested, a person’s mind and other attributes may keep you interested but it is their physicality that gets you thinking of them without prior contact. More and more we live in a beautified world and we can’t blame it all on the media anymore. There is a strange sense of voyeurism that currently exists on social media that allows us to celebrate beauty in a new and fascinating way. A place where we know is cruel to women and ugly to people that don’t fit the unrealistic/predefined standards of beauty. Yet, there is a strange confidence that selfies bring. There is a quasi-Jungian persona that we have gained in the post-self conscious era. The selfie generation have taken what the ancients used to call “fatum”, to us destiny into their own hands. Selfies create a tapestry of words that culminate in an exquisite, sublime conversation. To outsiders it might look like the tactics of vanity, to the players it is simply the only way they know how to move on the chessboard and the best steps to the dance they own.

If anything you need to respect the courage of the quasi-Jungian persona, to pitch oneself out for date, with the danger that no one will respond. The fragility of ego for some could easily send them into a panic attack. No matter what your judgement is, the pseudo-intellectuals will have reason to disagree, it is ballsy. Selfies become the currency of conversation for the soft spoken, the brazen and the fierce, there is no way to lose if you were never prepared to win.

But back to my question: can this selfie get me a date? It turns out it can, several in fact, my dad should be happy; pity they don’t live in the same country. Selfies as part of the dating currency and it makes perfect sense, just look at Tinder. Even when you are set up by friends, they use photographs to convince you to say yes or no. Blind dates aren’t so “blind” anymore because we stalk them on social media, because we need to be prepared. It is simply who we are.

Being an engineer for young girls is as normal as breathing

women IWD

The conversation around women in the workplace, in the media and socially keeps getting derailed because somehow in 2017 women are still viewed as second class citizens in parts of the world. Just watch this video to see what I mean. It has never been more important to make your voice count.

The feminism movement is in its 4th wave of affirmation, where every voice counts and must count. I hope that as women and men we will use our voice for the important things and create dialogue on our future. Now more than ever women are under attack. The fight to create balance has left bullseye target on our backs.

Today there is no acceptable way to be a woman. It is a lose-lose situation no matter what you do. When all genders judge women by the way we choose to practice womanhood and take agency of our own lives and our own bodies. What chance do women stand to just be women? As women we have to work around a lot of self conditioning, being interrupted and society’s created invisibility of us, micro-aggressions and a scarcity of role models.

I take personal responsibility and I feel a social obligation to fight for young girls and boys everywhere because equality is not about one gender. Whenever I tell people I am a feminist they become apprehensive, it is an unpopular word, it is uncomfortable. Feminism is defined as the equality of the sexes. I think it is right that I am judged and measured on the quality of my work and my intellect than my gender. It natural and fair for me to earn the same has my male counterparts. I do not want be treated special because I am woman, I want to be treated equal.

Young African women and men need female role models to tell them that is okay to dream big, that just because someone says you can’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. They need to see equality at work, really at work. As Africans comes online and its people experience what the world of technology has to offer, women will have to take their place as technologists, engineers and entrepreneurs. So we must challenge ourselves to recognize the women who are moving the needle, the women paving the way for young girls to think of tech, entrepreneurship and the many varieties of womanhood as commonplace.

I have spent the better part of my adulthood learning about women in Africa who every day stand up and be an example that I can follow. Examples that young girls and young women in the workplace need to have strength and courage. Many of those women go unnoticed everyday but they are worthy of the role models titles. They make my voice count, they make it easy for me to speak. We all need to be bold for the change we want.

There is a new dawn for women in Africa. Women who will not be mollified by simply a silent seat at the table. Women who will not be satiated by just being asked. Women who will stand up and have their voices heard but more importantly women who are part of the dialogue, who will tell the truth on what it is like to be the only woman at the table, who will carry on because the young girls and boys are watching and hoping one day they too will be you. A time, that being an engineer for young girls is as normal as breathing.

We need to stop calling grown ass women ‘cute’


It’s a windy afternoon in the city of Cape Town, for the second time in my four-day trip here I have had to make the grave choice of what was more important, my dignity or may hair. Dresses are not meant for this city. I am standing just outside of one of the many entrances to the Waterfront shopping mall, a guy stops right next to me mobile device out – likely waiting on an Uber. He looks familiar, he is smiling, my current dignity/hair predicament is amusing.

“You were just in the iStore, right?” he asks me, almost daring me to deny it.
“Um, yeah,” I respond apprehensive. But understanding colours my familiarity. I had seen him in there, staring.
“Yeah, I saw you. You’re pretty cute,” he smiles. This is a compliment and I should thank him, maybe flirt a little? But I don’t, I just smile, nod and luckily my car is here so I get in hastily.

Call me whatever you like, but I feel a grown woman shouldn’t be called cute. ‘Pretty cute’ most often for women doesn’t feel like a compliment but a downgrade from pretty, beautiful, gorgeous and stunning. If you don’t feel the person you’re about to compliment is any of the four words or million other words out there then don’t. Cute just makes them feel like that they are not attractive. You sully the word pretty by tacking “cute” to it.

Cute by definition means: “attractive in a pretty or endearing way“. This word is to been likened with adorable and sweet the same words you would use to describe a baby/child, fluffy stuffed toys and puppies. When you Google the word cute the above mentioned things come up. Not quite how a grown woman wants to be seen and I highly doubt grown men want to be cute either – not after they see what Google brings up. On the other hand the word beautiful is likened to attractive, pretty, pleasing to to eyes and alluring. You can see the problem here. Men and Women are creatures of physicality. When someone you think is alluring thinks you are nothing more than an adorable puppy it’s kinda harsh, intended or not.


In the description of the outward beauty of an adult, their intellect is just as intimidating as their physical beauty. This leads to using lesser words to describe, that’s what one of my guy friends tells me. He doesn’t do it of course but guys do, he says. They will use “cute” so they are not that intimidated, this implies premeditation. A way to level the playing field. I can’t match your intellect but beauty is in the eye of the beholder so I will behold with edit? They will use cute when they are forced to pick what category a female friend or acquaintance falls into. This is to avoid any confusion in the relationship if they are not physically attracted to said female. This is of course mind-boggling but perhaps understandable but more likely a full of shit summation. Compliments do not come with consequences, well they shouldn’t. In today’s world of sexual harassment and political correctness, you can understand the quandary presented. Just because I think a person’s genetic make up is a spectacular work of art does not mean anything. It is simply a compliment and we shouldn’t be afraid to give them. The crucial thing here is that words mean far more than we think they do.

This is the trouble with the English language, the words that get perpetuated are the ones that pop culture finds convenient. Often these words are inadvertently chosen by gender bias. Take the titles Mr, Mrs and Miss. Somewhere in history we lost the title Master, a title used to describe a boy/man too young to be referred to Mr (someone of marriageable age). While the use of classification titles for women continue because we have to know who is Miss and who is Mrs. Someone women have begun adopting the title Ms, which can refer to married or unmarried. Yet society makes it a point that Mrs should be affirmed because history has taught us that married women should wear their title like a badge of honour while single women wear theirs with pity ( by choice or not). It’s pretty disgusting if you think about just how fucked up something as simple as this can affect the greater societal psyche.

Yes I know, the word cute is not some big societal gender conspiracy especially because women also use those words to describe men as well. True, and women also please stop describing grown ass men as cute as well. There is nothing wrong with this word, it just seems a bit less when describe the attractiveness of an adult woman or man. I think the thesis of this argument is that of all the words, the treasure trove of words out there, we choose the least flattering to describe beauty. Words are incandescent as is their beauty and the feeling they bring.

8 places to eat in Lagos and pay with your international card


I have been meaning to write this post for a while now. Lagos can be a hard place if you are cash-phobic and brandishing and international credit or debit card. Every single time I go to Lagos and Nigeria in general I am usually confined to eating in hotels or carrying insane amounts of cash with me. That needed to change.

Back in September, I spent a month in Lagos to learn about its media landscape and also more about entrepreneurs (post on this coming). I couldn’t eat all my meals in hotels, or carry cash around like I was in some sort of business transit. So I decided to go hunt for some places that will accept my international Mastercard/Visa! So here goes:

Nok by Alara

This is quite the gem, I enjoyed the service immensely and the food was pretty good though on the expensive side. The ambience was conducive to chatting and the cocktails were divine. Nok specializes in African fine dining cuisine, its menu looking at food not just from Nigeria but Ghana, Senegal and Ethiopia. Little twists are added to how food is plated to create visual and tasty journey with the food. I am still a bigger fan of the bartender who pretty much made me anything I wanted, all I had to do was ask and give a recipe if needed.

RSVP Lagos

Okay, this place is only on the list because I needed places that indeed accepted cards. Cool for the after work hangout crowd but so expensive. The food was not worth the price we paid for it. Starters show promise, but the mains left much to be desired and we didn’t stick around for dessert. Wine list wasn’t terrible, there were some South African wines on the menu and I am partial to those. But good for after work drinks some starters, not sure about mains.

Hard Rock Cafe

An obvious choice but actually quite a fun place. Cocktails are on point (yes, that is a big thing for me) and the bartender will do his best to give you what you want. It wasn’t as expensive as I was expecting. Hard Rocks around the world aren’t usually but you gotta make allowances when in Lagos. I liked it a lot and good hang place with cool music.

Chocolate Royale and Cafe Royale

This is more your coffee shop vibe and yes I am aware of that scandal they had a few years ago. BUT… It’s your basic sandwich/pizza and cola place when the manager isn’t busy screaming at staff from across the room. We went on a Sunday and it was moderately busy with the international crowd, word got out about the card thing. The cafe is all about the sit down food vibe and the chocolate (not quite) shop below sells baked goods! Cookies for days. There is also a very friendly sales lady who will talk you into your weight in sugary goodness.

Maison Fahrenheit rooftop bar

Yes, I know this is technically in a hotel but the rooftop vibe is amazingly chilled you don’t feel it. I have always liked this spot in Lagos, it makes me remember what an cosmopolitan incredible city it is. It feels like the hang for the young people with a few old people and their young “friends”.

Izanagi Japanese Cuisine

I never thought those words would come out my mouth: I ate sushi in Lagos and I liked it! Anyone who knows me in Lagos will know I have a thing about seafood in Lagos, I will eat fresh fish but not seafood. I discovered this place quite late in my stay but found it quite lovely, the teppanyaki was very nice and it pretty packed on the Thursday night. Staff was super friendly and we loved every moment there. Yes, a technical hotel but you wanna go.


Yes another Japanese offering so clearly I am into that. Though I think it’s more of an “around the world” cuisine that just Japanese. Also another late discovering during the trip but quite nice. We tried the set menu, which was pretty good. There are a lot of options on the menu, whatever you are in the mood for, I would recommend trying the Tuna steak.

Crust and Cream

Yes, they too have a pastry shop but walked pass that and a restaurant with wifi awaits. One of the things I quite liked about this place was that it wasn’t insanely priced. You get your money’s worth. I had the chicken roulade, which was way more tastier than I had expected, the staff was awesome even when I spilled my Old Fashioned all over myself than their table cloths. They brought me a new one very quickly, yes me and those cocktails. Go here!

In Nigeria, an accent is a catalyst for love


I have been debating whether I should write this for days but a conversation with a friend just convinced me to do it. Please hold up on the hunt for me till you’re done reading.

When I decided to spend 30 days in Lagos, I intended to just work and go back home but many people told me that would be a loss. Lagos is one of Africa’s most vibrant cities with something exciting each week. Its people are dynamic and energetic. I am yet to be in an African city that makes being African so cool and sexy and just darn fun. Yes, there are some challenges here, most of them deal-breakers but that is a different conversation.

As I come to the end of my trip, many people have asked me if I met any nice guys here (I hope my father doesn’t read this). I didn’t go looking for guys, and to be honest I had no interest but I did meet a lot of people and a number of them were guys. The dating scene in Lagos has mixed reviews from residents, some who love it and others who despise it. For most women, that I spoke to, it seems that Nigerian men are not much loved, some of them. “Nigerian men deceive with intent, it’s almost as though they set out to be evil and hurt you,” someone recounts to me. The creepy thing is this perspective is held by both men and women. My male friends warned me to not be alone with guys I just met or have only known a few days, and to watch everything I drink while out. It paints a rather terrifying picture of men in Las Gidi.

While men are deceiving with intent they also seem to be existing in a faux conservative world. More than one 20-something confessed their undying love to me after only an interaction of less than 15min, maybe I got mad game maybe not. When I relayed this to a friend he responded “it’s that tinge of British in your accent”. Nigerian men and women seem to fall for people by their accent, at least that is what I understood from his response. Here an accent is a catalyst for love, marriage and the world because Nollywood. The movies say when you fall you should fall hard and it should be a forever kind of thing – real or not. I would be flattered if I didn’t feel quite ridiculous every time it happened.

No one here ever tells you they just want to have sex, the conservative nature of the country makes that a fake taboo. It’s not like people aren’t doing it they just rather pretend. Goodness me, Nigerians can lie. Men lie about their physical desires and what they want from women, women do it too it would appear. Is there a law that says you must lie for survival? Nigerians believe in love at first sight, or at least they think they do. The way it plays out it seems Nigerians need to grab love by the collar and make it theirs immediately. They see a girl and they fall hard within 10mins. They will pledge their lives to these women, send flowers and even offer to buy lingerie. Nigerian girls must know the rules and signs of this game by now, so why are people still playing it?

No one asks you for a date, they ask you for a lifetime as though those are easy to give away. People throw the L word around like its going out of fashion, it’s rather perplexing. Why? It’s been an interesting 30 days learning and watching. The politics of love, dating and sex is weaved into the fabric of this city. Here it seems people are paying for sex one way or another, with the promise of love, marriage or money (security). In some cases all three. Quite the costly exchange for the promised.