The dancing horses of Lagos beach

Residents of Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, take to the beach to get away from the stress of the city.

They paddle, picnic, play football and party. The more daring might pay to take a ride on a horse – with the help of the beach horsemen.


Quadri Raji, 19, is a phone repairer during the week, but works with the horses on Atican beach at the weekend.

He had to stop secondary school when his mother had her leg amputated after an accident.

Now he takes care of her and hopes to earn enough money to write his final school exams.

“I would like to continue my schooling but for now this is all I have to do to survive,” he said.

On the beach, Quadri can earn about $28 (£22) a day, but he has to give some of that to the horse’s owner.

His horse, Jack, used to perform as a dancing horse at traditional festivals, but Quadri has been training him to work on the beach.

Nevertheless Jack can still do tricks.

Tunde Sanni (left), 28, has been riding on the beach for more than 13 years and is now the chairman of the Atican Horse Rider Association.

Both his parents died in 2008 and he also works as an iron welder.

“Horse riding has stopped me from stealing,” he said.

Tunde has a scar on his forehead from when he was knocked off his horse by a car while riding it to the stables in 2010.

Stone is one of his three horses. He also owns Prince and Pale.

Lanre, 30, has been working with the horses on the beach for three years.

He also works as a livestock farmer selling goats and turkeys at the local market. At the weekend he takes his horse, Spaghetti, to the beach to make some extra money.

“I have a wife and two kids to feed so I just come to make any extra for the family. I don’t really care about fixed rates.”

Adebowale Dada’s horse, Jerry, used to work as a racehorse. He bought him from the northern city of Kano last year for $700 (£535).

“This is my only work and I have to take care of my wife and save for my children’s school fees,” he said.

Rides cost between $1.40 and $2.80 and customers are always accompanied by one of the horsemen.

This was Favour Eric’s first time on a horse. “The experience was scary, but it was worth it,” she said.

The horsemen here typify many in their generation who have to find creative ways to make money or supplement their income as well-paid jobs are in short supply.



‘My babies are dying’: children trapped inside crisis in CAR – in pictures

The resurgence of violence in Central African Republic has made life for the country’s children harsher and more dangerous than ever before. Two-thirds are in need of humanitarian assistance and yet, with schools, hospitals and places of worship increasingly under attack, the places they can go to for protection, support and medical assistance are ever fewer

All photographs by Ashley Gilberston for VII Photo/Unicef

Africa’s week in photos: 26 October-1 November 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere this week.


A pottery student works clay with his feet at a studio in southern Egypt on Tuesday…


While on Saturday, Burkinabé designer Maré Abibou crafts dolls in her workshop in the capital, Ouagadougou.


Also in Burkina Faso, a fan of the Tour du Faso cycling competition shows his support to riders after the fifth stage on Tuesday.


The next day, people wear face paint and fancy dress costumes to a Halloween party at George Hay Park in the South African city of Johannesburg.


Moroccans take to the streets of Rabat on Thursday for the Boujloud festival – an annual event with Berber roots that some have likened to Halloween.


On the same day, anti-Paul Biya protesters gather in Paris days after he won a seventh presidential term in Cameroon in disputed elections.


Also on Thursday, a group of evangelical Christians in Pretoria, South Africa, hold what they hope will be southern Africa’s biggest-ever prayer meeting…


This group of Catholic believers gather for mass at a quarry in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, on the same day.


Cooks in the Libyan town of Junzur prepare a wedding feast on Wednesday.


Models dressed in Nigerian fashion brand Fruche take to the catwalk at Lagos Fashion Week on Friday.


And on Sunday, a group of boys play football on the beach on Gorée Island in Senegal.

PHOTOS: Ghana’s ‘yellow-brick road’


If you follow the yellow-brick road in Ghana, it does not take you to the Land of Oz’s Emerald City, but rather to La – a district in the capital Accra.

This is where artist Serge Attukwei Clottey periodically carpets the dusty streets with giant yellow plastic tapestries.


Clottey told the BBC his work is about property rights. The residents of many poor communities in Africa cannot prove land ownership because they do not have the paperwork.


Each of the squares is cut from a distinctive type of jerrycan, known in Ghana as a “Kufuor gallon” – named after former President John Kufuor – and then sewn together to form plastic carpeting.

In the early 2000s, when Mr Kufuor was in power, there were water shortages and the large yellow containers began to be seen around the country as people used them on their long treks to collect water.


Some are still in use, but many now lie discarded and Clottey repurposes them for his art, which he calls “Afrogallonism”.


Clottey estimates that he has used 30,000 Kufuor gallons since 2005 when he started using them in his artwork.


About 3,000 of them have gone into the yellow-brick road project that began in 2016, he says.


The artist works with an assistant, but local people also get involved in cutting up the Kufuor gallons and stitching the pieces together.


They are excited to be making an artwork that gets to be shown in their home rather than sent around the world – and they are happy that it draws foreign visitors to La, Clottey says.


He sketches what he wants the work to look like, but its exact form emerges organically as different people get involved.


As part of the project he also gets people to help him collect the Kufuor gallons.


Clottey goes to dumpsites with friends and they dress up in drag to symbolise how the Kufuor gallons are associated with women.


People take the Kufuor gallons that they have collected to Clottey’s workshop, where they are weighed and paid $3 (£2.30) per kilogramme.


Clottey expects to complete the project in 2020 when he hopes to have marked out an area in La which he says belongs to his family.


All pictures by Nii Odzenma

African fashion excites Lagos

Models will be sashaying in Nigeria’s main city for the next few days for Lagos Fashion Week, which opened on Thursday night.


For the first time in eight years, the fashion show has expanded the number of designers from across Africa and will be featuring more than 50 of them.2423bc79-be5a-4cd4-baa8-46d7da8d13c9c5aeb61d-5e3b-452a-a5c1-ce2bdc5e1abaad582310-0362-4dca-a23c-b18998f6aadd

One collection on Thursday, curated by the magazine publisher Betty Irabor, was about showcasing strength and confidence on the runway.

Africa’s week in photos: 28 September – 4 October 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere this week.


Ethiopia’s Oromo people celebrate the thanksgiving festival Irreecha on Sunday. Dressed in traditional clothes, people take fresh grass to Lake Harsadi to thank God for the beginning of spring.


A young couple have chosen the day to get married. The groom says he is happy to have a wedding in front of all the people at the festival.


At an opposition rally in Cameroon on Sunday, ahead of presidential elections, a man holds up a sign which says “a call to dismiss the dictator [President Paul Biya]”.


But President Biya, who has been in power since 1982, has his supporters. On Saturday, in Maroua, northern Cameroon, some of those who back him turn out to show their support.


Election fever is also building in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where opposition supporters on Saturday hold a rally three months ahead of the December poll.


Unusual hats are on display on Wednesday in Ethiopia during the Addis Ababa Fashion Week.


On Thursday, workers at a factory in Tunisia sort and dry the chillies that will go on to make harissa hot chilli paste.


These Ghanaian women in the capital, Accra, look on as the motorcade for US First Lady Melania Trump goes by on Tuesday, the first day of her trip to the continent…


On Thursday, Mrs Trump travels to Malawi where she is met by these well wishers, who are seen here getting ready for her arrival.


Children in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, are entertained by a performance of Tinga Tinga Tales on Friday.


An elephant mascot entertains the fans at the Africa Cup of Nations indoor football tournament in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan.


On Sunday, a huge ivory pyre goes up in flames in the Democratic Republic of Congo in an effort to help stop illegal poaching.


On the same day in the South African city of Johannesburg, ballerinas get ready to perform in Tchaikovsky’s ballet, the Nutcracker.

Pictures from AFP, EPA, Reuters and Getty Images

Africa’s week in photos: 7-13 September 2018

A selection of the best photos from across Africa and of Africans elsewhere this week.

Pictures from AFP, EPA, Getty Images and Reuters

World Press Photo Contest 2018 – all the winning pictures

Photo of the week: inside Chanel’s rose garden

Once again, Karl Lagerfeld wowed the audience at Paris fashion week with his Grand Palais transformation, the venue for his latest haute couture collection.


‘Lush lawns, a fountain and fetchingly mossed urns.’ Photo: Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

As creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has turned transforming the fashion house’s regular Grand Palais venue in Paris into an art form.

A space station, a datacentre and a supermarket have all been recent incarnations, but today it was something more romantic: a rose garden.

“Lush lawns, a fountain and fetchingly mossed urns formed the centrepiece to a bowered catwalk that ran beneath a maze of leaf-green trellising, canopied by roses and flanked by stone benches for the audience,” reports Jess Cartner-Morley from the front row.