Makoko, The City where Everything Floats



Makoko, a floating city known for its serene connection with water and the resilience of its people, is situated within the Lagos Lagoon in Nigeria. This remarkable community has captivated the attention of people across the nation, leaving them surprised about its distinctive way of life. The community, in times past, has garnered the attention of people in neighboring countries, drawing them in primarily due to its robust support for fishing. Recently, a YouTuber whose YouTube channel has the name Wowneche, on his third visit to Makoko, shared his experiences and insights, shedding light on the captivating intricacies of this extraordinary place.

A glimpse into Makoko, a unique community where everything is floating

As Wowneche embarked on his tour of Makoko, he discovered a community where English is not the primary language spoken. The majority of the residents are not formally educated, creating a unique linguistic and cultural landscape. The origins of the people of Makoko can be traced back to Badagry, where their ancestors migrated from. Over time, they invited their loved ones, friends, and relatives. Makoko is also a city that encompasses people who originated from different neighboring countries.

Fishing is the lifeblood of the community, predominantly carried out by the men. They brave the vast expanse of water each day, casting their nets in search of sustenance for their families and livelihoods. Meanwhile, the women of Makoko play a crucial role in the community by smoking the fish that is imported by the “Whites,” as described by Olorunwa, a knowledgeable guide who accompanied Wowneche on his tour.

Olorunwa, a fortunate individual who had access to education, shared his personal experiences and shed light on the dire state of education in Makoko. He himself had attended school in the community from primary level to senior secondary school but had yet to complete his WAEC exams. Despite his privilege, Olorunwa’s basic command of grammar and language revealed the shortcomings of the educational system within the community.

During the tour, Wowneche was invited to explore a typical bedroom in Makoko. The room, constructed with wood and supported by stilts, painted a vivid picture of the challenging living conditions endured by the residents. The dilapidated state of the room was a poignant reminder of the hardships faced by the community.

The government’s previous attempts to dislodge the people of Makoko due to their substandard living conditions and the ensuing resistance were not lost on Wowneche. He had read about the struggles faced by the community and their belief that the government had ulterior motives, seeking to sell their valuable land to the wealthy. This battle for their right to remain in their ancestral homes reveals the indomitable spirit of the people of Makoko.

In an intimate conversation with Olorunwa, Wowneche sought to understand the community’s aspirations and desires for a better future. Olorunwa expressed their pressing needs, calling upon the government to address four critical areas. Firstly, the community yearns for the establishment of schools within their midst. Accessible education would empower the younger generation and open doors to brighter opportunities.

Secondly, Olorunwa emphasized the necessity of creating job opportunities beyond fishing. The absence of alternative sources of income contributes to the temptation faced by some youth to engage in petty theft or other illicit activities. Building companies within Makoko would not only provide economic stability but also contribute to the overall development of the community.

Thirdly, the residents of Makoko yearn for proper healthcare services. The absence of adequate medical facilities places a heavy burden on the community, exacerbating health-related challenges and diminishing their quality of life. Access to proper healthcare would not only address immediate health concerns but also promote overall well-being and resilience.

Lastly, the people of Makoko seek clean water. In the midst of Makoko’s captivating floating cityscape, a hidden struggle persists—one that threatens the very essence of life: the lack of access to clean water. The poignant observations of the intrepid YouTuber, who ventured into the heart of this community, unveiled a heart-wrenching reality. Children, with their innocence overshadowed by the weight of necessity, literally engage in serious battles for something many take for granted—a source of clean water for their families. This distressing sight serves as a clarion call to the government, urging immediate action to address this fundamental human need.

It is the responsibility of those in power to ensure that the people of Makoko have access to safe and clean water, an essential resource that is not only vital for their survival but also for the preservation of their dignity and well-being. The time has come for the government to extend its hand and bring relief to this resilient community, alleviating their struggles and empowering them with the basic necessities for a life of health, hope, and possibility.

As Wowneche concluded his tour of Makoko, he left with a profound appreciation for the strength and resilience of its people. Their floating city, brimming with history and culture, stood as a testament to their ability to adapt and thrive despite the challenges they face. Through his experience and newfound understanding, Wowneche aims to bring attention to the aspirations of the people of Makoko, encouraging others to join in their quest for a better future.

The unique and vibrant community of Makoko stands as a testament to the indomitable human spirit. However, it is incumbent upon the government to recognize the urgent needs of this remarkable floating city and take decisive action. The people of Makoko have voiced their desires loud and clear: they need schools to provide education, companies to offer alternative livelihoods, access to clean water, and proper healthcare facilities to ensure their well-being. It is time for the government to listen, to invest in the future of Makoko, and to support its residents in their pursuit of a better quality of life.

Let us not overlook this resilient community any longer but instead work together to create lasting change, fostering a society where every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has the opportunity to thrive.

Watch Wowneche as he explores the makoko community

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