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Slum aspirations

Adolphus Opara/Twenty Ten

A feature from the Soccer World Cup 2010: Nigeria

Location: Makoko, Nigeria

During 2008 humankind reached an historic milestone: for the first time ever, half of the world’s population were living in urban areas. Of the 3 billion or so urban dwellers today, UN Habitat estimates that around a third live in slums.

Makoko, an 18th century coastal settlement, is situated off the mainland in Lagos, Nigeria. The conventional population projection is estimated at 85,840 people. However, population estimates extrapolated from the 2007 census exclude data for this part of Lagos.

This is a story of an ambitious 17 years old young boy, Taiwo Shemede, who was born and lives in this Lagos slum on stilts with his parents and siblings. The hope for an opportunity to play pro soccer not only makes his days more enjoyable, but makes for a tomorrow full of possibilities and thus he’s not deterred by the predicaments of being born in this slum and not being able to do anything about it for now. But rather he remains focused and is positive that one day he can play for a foreign soccer club and be as accomplished as his football icon, Lionnel Messi, who presently plays for Barcelona FC.


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