A YOUNG NIGERIAN STUDENT HAS CONVERTED HIS INSTAGRAM PAGE INTO A DIGITAL MUSEUM, CURATING AND PRESERVING ENDANGERED COLONIAL ARCHITECTURE AND STRUCTURES FOUND IN LAGOS, IBADAN, UMUAHIA AND BEYOND.
A visit to Kelechi Anabaraonye’s Instagram Page - Oc.wonder is like a time travel tour through Nigeria’s past, projecting the country’s rich architectural heritage and monumental structures from the colonial era. Passionate about Nigeria’s history and architecture, Kelechi who is a young Political Science student tracks stories and leftover marks on these colonial architecture in the country.
Spending most of his early years in Lagos, the chief economic hub and former capital of Nigeria he started falling in love with the ancient buildings and monuments found and scattered all over Yaba, Ebute-Metta and Lagos Island this he confessed in a post on lucidlemons saying
“My penchant for these type of buildings in a fast evolving world takes me back to my secondary school days at the foremost King’s College, Lagos, a school with striking colonial masterpieces situated in the heart of Lagos Island along Catholic Mission Street… Schooling in Lagos Island brought about the nurturing of a love that knows no bounds…”
Isale Eko popularly known as Lagos Island, the once commercial and administrative hub of the colonial Nigeria is a haven of magnificent buildings reflecting cross cultural external influence from Europe and Brazil.
This young enthusiast has consciously or perhaps unconsciously converted his Instagram page to a digital museum, guiding followers and visitors through history and historical sites in Lagos, Ibadan, Umuahia and beyond. With an evident display of research, Kelechi has placed himself on the spotlight through the years. Beyond taking awe-inspiring photos of ancient buildings and monuments, each picture on his page is accompanied with a story detailing on architectural history and style, mostly creating awareness on the need to preserve and protect these structures, a culture apparently almost nonexistent in today’s Nigeria. Condemning and advocating against some sad demolition of these ancient historical buildings, he alongside the Legacy 1995 Group which he is a student member of has had their voice heard online and offline, saving some important buildings from getting demolished. Buildings like Jaekel House found in the heart the railway compound have been saved through their advocacy. The Legacy 1995 group is currently working on protecting and preserving Illukwe house, an ancient building in the danger of demolition.
Ancient architectural and structural preservation plays a huge cultural role in preserving the future, as a matter of fact, keeping the old means securing the future. Because of their unique features, historical structures bring character and charm to every neighborhood where they are found making them of structures of tourist attraction.
Everyone likes to experience the spirit of a new place, which most often is represented through architecture and this why, Kelechi collaborated with Tripzapp earlier in the year to take interested groups through a physical city tour tagged, The Waka Tour. This tour which ran twice in the same month took citizens and visitors through the rich cultural heritage hidden in these ancient structures.