Makoko is a distinctive water-based settlement in Lagos, Nigeria, is known as the “Venice of Africa” and the “Floating Slum.”
Moreover, it rests on the banks of a sprawling lagoon, supporting its unique architecture.
Makoko’s geography, natural landscape, and residents create a unique community that thrives in a challenging environment.
The Architectural Marvel of Makoko
Makoko’s remarkable feature is its incredible architecture.
The community is built on stilts, with many structures using locally sourced materials like bamboo and wood.
These buildings rise above the water to protect against frequent flooding in this low-lying area.
Furthermore, houses are interconnected by an intricate network of canals, which serve as the neighborhood’s streets.
Meanwhile, the area is surrounded by lush mangrove forests, which not only enhance the environment’s aesthetics, but also play a crucial role in preventing erosion and providing habitats for various wildlife species.
Daily Life in Makoko
The majority of Makoko’s residents earn their livelihood through fishing and trading, skillfully adapted to their watery surroundings.
Fishing is the primary occupation, with the community supplying fresh fish to Lagos markets.
Furthermore, Makoko’s population estimates vary, but it is generally believed to be home to tens of thousands.
Renowned for its vibrant culture, the community has a unique dialect and traditions reflecting the heritage of the Egun people.
Consequently, the sounds of children playing, boats navigating the canals, and vendors selling goods along the waterfront are common.
Challenges and Resilience
Makoko’s residents face challenges, including overcrowding, poor sanitation, and limited access to clean water and healthcare.
However, the most notable challenge is the constant threat of eviction and demolition.
The Nigerian government has often considered Makoko an illegal settlement and attempted to evict and demolish homes.
Nevertheless, the residents fiercely protect their way of life, preserving their unique culture and traditions with incredible resilience.
The Origin Of Fishermen’s Settlements
Makoko’s history is deeply intertwined with the surrounding waters.
Initially founded by the Egun people, who migrated from neighboring Benin in the 18th century, its initial inhabitants were fishermen who settled on stilts along the Lagos Lagoon to make a living.
As time passed, Makoko transformed into a thriving community where fishing and trading played a central role in the daily lives of its residents.