Sunday afternoon in Lagos is usually a time for relaxation, to some its time to visit family members that are close-by, to some, its time to hangout with spouse and loved ones. Its Sunday afternoon and we are coming from P&T in Obalende towards Alagbon in Ikoyi area, we passed through the BRT terminal which was located under the bridge and suddenly we saw a mammoth crowd gathered on the bridge which had about 300 on-lookers on both extensions of the bridge all looking at something of interest. We thought there was an accident on the bridge and as Lagos people are fond of looking and gathering at the scene of the accident, we thought this may likely be the case of the gathering. Luckily, we are with our camera, we are ready to break another story to the world, so we thought!
We rushed to the "scene" to get some first-hand information on what happens, we met a young man and we asked him, "Bros, abeg wetin happen?". He looked at us with a smile on his face and he said, na dambe them they do! Dambe? We asked.
Obalende is home to thousands for people who live, work and do business in this environment. Obalende is under Eti-Osa local government and under Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA. According to reports, 30% of people living in Obalende are people from the Northern part of the state popularly referred to Hausas. Obalende is home to these folks even though majority of them sleep on the street. A visit to this area early in the morning, you will see some sleep on the road as they are homeless, some sleep in their cart they used for cart pushing and some of these guys sleep on tables and chairs, they live in such a terrible and pathetic life.
One thing about them is that they are not lazy, they do all sort of jobs to keep soul and body together, some engage in jobs such as nail cutting, Suya selling, laundry, cobbler, Okada riders, food sellers, truck pusher and some of them own shops where they sell provisions. One thing about them is that they are peaceful and they hardly fight no matter how you provoke them.
Sundays are meant for relaxation, visits, and resting and these guys are not left out too. Sundays are days they have time to wash, sleep and do some personal things for their selves. AutoReportNG was in Ajeniya and we noticed that despite not having a home, they do things together and in unity. We spoke with one of them and we asked him why they are sleeping on the street and why are they here, he said he used to be a wealthy man in his home state at Borno that Boko Haram destroyed his farm, killed some of his family members and that he has to run for his life. He said his wife and children are staying with his in-law in Kano but he has to come to Lagos to work to support his family.
One of the several ways they relax and catch fun is through their tradition boxing called Dambe.
Dambe, also known as Kokawa is a form of boxing associated with the Hausa people of West Africa. Historically, Dambe included a wrestling component, known as Kokawa, but today it is essentially a striking art. The tradition is dominated by Hausa butcher caste groups, and over the last century evolved from clans of butchers traveling to farm villages at harvest time, integrating a fighting challenge by the outsiders into local harvest festival entertainment. It was also traditionally practiced as a way for men to get ready for war, and many of the techniques and terminology allude to warfare. Today, companies of boxers travel, performing outdoor matches accompanied by ceremony and drumming, throughout the traditional Hausa homelands of northern Nigeria, southern Niger, and southwestern Chad. The name "Dambe" derives from the Hausa word for "boxing", and appears in languages like Bole as Dembe. Boxers are called by the Hausa word "daæmaænga".
Fights in this area are done in sets where they bet with 100 naira, if anyone wins, he is 100 naira richer! The fight draws lots of people to this area numbering almost thousands in their numbers as they cheer their opponents to victory. The fighters are mostly drugged while some with charms around their waist. The atmosphere is usually charged with cigarettes, marijuana and all sorts in this place.
While we are at this taking some shots, we met one of the journalists from European Press Agency who said he has been documenting them for past eight months, he said he comes weekly to watch and document the fight.
We decided to have a glimpse of their fight and we came to these interesting pictures.
Watch the video clips below...