Thursday, February 27, 2014

On the Nigerian Centenary Award Show - That Picture is Not Lord Lugard

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I'm all for marking how far we've come as a united country, but certainly no fan of the Nigeria Centenary Award Show which I think is just a big waste of money, and of course some will "come and chop". Most of the names on the list (here) are vomit-inducing to be clear, [Babangida and Sani Abacha as promoters of unity, patriotism and national development?] but Lugard as the chief player of the amalgamation cannot be faulted.

Then I saw the picture below and almost began to think all those in the sub-committee for the centenary and the awards may have just lost it. Lugard killed Nigerians and posed with their heads? And then I looked closer, and realized those did not look like African heads, and then I googled the image and found out the truth. It is the picture of another colonialist and the heads are Maori from New Zealand. He did not kill them but bought the heads from families there.

See this 
Continuing with writing after his retirement he returned to his interest in tattoos and wrote two books relating to his time in New Zealand, Moko or Maori Tattooing in 1896 and Pounamu: Notes on New Zealand Greenstone. In the first book, as well as demonstrating and explaining the art of Māori tattooing, he also wrote chapters on the dried tattooed heads or Mokomokai. Robley decided to acquire as many examples of Mokomokai as possible, and at length built up a unique collection of 35 heads. In 1908 he offered them to the New Zealand Government for £1,000; his offer, however, was refused. Later, with the exception of the five best examples which Robley retained, the collection was purchased by the American Museum of Natural History, New York, for the equivalent £1,250.

and this
When someone with moko died, often the head would be preserved. The brain and eyes were removed, with all orifices sealed with flax fibre and gum. The head was then boiled or steamed in an oven before being smoked over an open fire and dried in the sun for several days. It was then treated with shark oil. Such preserved heads, mokomokai, would be kept by their families in ornately-carved boxes and brought out only for sacred ceremonies.

So while most colonialist have blood on their hands, that is NOT Lugard. I followed up the trail from finding the picture when I googled Lugard and found the first blog that credited the picture to Lugard back in July 2013 has removed the post now...

Those that picked it up from her are still running it here and here.

So while it is easy to believe bad things about bad people, I almost swallowed this, hook, line and sinker, a little digging will give a truer perspective.


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  2. Wow, good catch! I'm also not thrilled about this centenary crap.

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