All around the world, everyone goes broke getting hitched. In Nigeria, it’s a day that signals alliances of families and the start of an economic union. And sometimes love too.
Lagos is home to anywhere form 15 million to 30 million people, and one in every five Africans is Nigerian. The value added annually from this wealthy oil-producing nation makes it the biggest country in Africa by many measures. Weddings can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of Naira, the high value local currency. Money trickles down from Oil and Gas; the best jobs are government jobs; and the rich here are richer than most people outside of Nigeria could ever imagine.
Naira Wedding is about what it costs to get married in Nigeria: the scale of money spent on lavish weddings as well as the emotional costs to families and individuals visible in the few quiet moments amidst frenzied ceremony.
Families give gifts to guests too: from gallon sized dishwashing detergents with the couple’s face on the label to electric teakettles to cheese graters. Everyone always needs another teakettle because the power grid fails so often that the cheap Chinese imports break down all the time.
Despite and because of Nigeria’s enormous wealth, things here break down: cars, phone networks, transport options, payment systems. Years of military dictators, coups, human rights abuses, strikes, and environmental disaster mean that many in this massive and fractured country just don’t trust each other. Not even man and wife.