My friend schlumberger came to town, and we have this ritual where we always try to meet up, catch up on life and just faff around before he’s on the next flight out, heading back to his reality.
I nicknamed him schlumberger because he works there, I’m not sure he fancies the name but if you’re reading this, I’m letting you know again that it’s here to stay. 🙂
Schlumberger asked me to decide where we would meet up this time because according to him, I am now a local tourist (this made me very happy), but I told him I didn’t mind where we went, and I’m glad I let him choose.
Schlumberger told me everytime he’s in Nigeria, he always goes to Terra Kulture. He says he’s always there, and he wasn’t lying. The staff there know him by his government name. He said if he ever goes missing and I’m looking for him, that should be the first place I check.
Terra Kulture is in summary a one stop centre for Nigerian culture. It has a bookshop, African gift centre, art gallery, library etc. If I was asked to describe afropolitan using a place, it would be terra kulture. Schlumberger told me ‘Terra’ is latin for land, so essentially Terra Kulture means ‘land of culture’.
Terra Kulture from outside looks very unassuming. The architecture is simple but pleasant and I noticed a small garden.
I got inside, did a quick scan and didn’t see schlumberger so I thought to myself ‘as usual I’m the first person to get here’. How wrong I was.
I just stood at the entrance with one of the waiters whose name is Solomon, and told him I would work with him for the day. For 5 mins I stood there saying ‘welcome to terra kulture’ to everyone who came inside.
While doing that, I noticed terra kulture has its quirks and was totally different from how I imagined when I saw it from outside. In my opinion, it has a coffee shop feel to it, just a lot bigger with more to offer. You can tell the atmosphere is very relaxed and people are just going about doing their thing. I even noticed some people sitting quietly and reading books. It also has a rustic feel to it.
Anyway schlumberger calls me up and asks where I am, apparently he had been in the bookshop looking for something to read.
I headed to the bookshop to look for him and I noticed that chairs had been arranged in the middle. Apparently there was a book reading scheduled for that day.
I also saw that apart from books, they had little gift items which were all African. When I say African, I mean made by Africans, or depicting something African eg pillows with Nigerian sayings on them, woven cloth baskets, ankara, leather bracelets, just little things promoting Africanism (don’t know if that’s a real word, but Seun Kuti would beg to differ and you’ll see why below).
While Schlumberger was looking for books to purchase, I got to taking pictures.
Can you see the pillows with ‘oga at the top’ written on them? If you’ve seen the interview then you know why it’s hilarious.