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2 Oct 2016
Ethiopians drive cars you won’t find in Nigeria
Fashion promoter, Lexy Mojo-Eyes shares fond memories of his recent trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Why did you travel to Addis Ababa?
We just had the Africa Fashion Reception in partnership with the African Union. The reception took place at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. The Africa Fashion Reception is aimed at empowering women and youths through various fashion vocations. It featured exhibitions, the first African Fashion Business Summit and a welcome gala event where collections from participating designers from around the continent were presented.
Was that your first time of visiting Ethiopia?
It was not my first time of visiting Ethiopia. That was my 12th trip to Addis Ababa, so I am always on a familiar terrain whenever I go there.
What are some of the things a first-time visitor would find fascinating about the country?
The people are very friendly. The weather is always cool all-year round and the country is organised.
Are there similarities between Addis Ababa the capital city and Abuja?
From what I have observed, both cities are still developing their basic infrastructure.
Tell us more about their food and culture.
Ethiopians have a rich culture and it is the only African country that was not colonised by any western country. As such, you can say that their culture is still intact. That includes their language, music, festivals. They have lots of traditional foods that I like. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice when it comes to food when you are in a foreign country. It’s the same in Ethiopia and I enjoyed their food.
What would you consider the most interesting activity that you engaged in while in Ethiopia?
For me, it was all about the preparations towards the successful hosting of the Africa Fashion Reception. That was the most interesting activity I engaged in. Nonetheless, I also took time out to visit the National Museum of Ethiopia where I saw the remains of one of the earliest apes on earth called Lucy. The relic is about 3.2 million years old from what I gathered. Ethiopians have been able to preserve their rich cultural heritage for centuries.
One of my VIP guests from Nigeria for the event was Dr. Wanle Akinboboye, President of La Campaigne Tropicana, Atunda Entertainment and Motherland Beckons. After seeing the opportunities in Addis Ababa, he decided that he wants to invest in the tourism sector in Ethiopia. Together, we decided to have a feel of the city, so we went to a popular spot called 2000 Habesha where we ate real local food and enjoyed traditional music in a rich cultural Ethiopian environment. We were in company with two artistes signed on with Atunda Entertainment – OloOmidan Bata and Anu, the Lady Ekwe.
How accommodating are Ethiopians?
Despite the fact that I looked nothing like them, they were warm and friendly. Most of the time, they were curious and wanted to know where I came from. They were also fascinated by the way I dressed, so I had to answer a lot of questions.
As a fashion promoter, what would you say about the style of Ethiopians?
In the course of my work as a fashion promoter, I do not know of any country that its citizens are more fashionable and flamboyant than Nigerians. However, Ethiopians take their traditional outfits very seriously, so you’d always find them wearing them.
What local language do they speak in Ethiopia and how were you able to communicate?
The local language spoken by everyone in Ethiopia is Amharic but English is generally spoken in the country too.
What are some of the odd things you noticed about the country?
They still use very old cars in Ethiopia. When I say old cars, I mean cars we used to see in the sixties and seventies in Nigeria. You don’t even see such cars in Nigeria again. I found that very odd.
How informed are the people about Nigeria?
Yes, some of the people that I encountered knew a bit about Nigeria. They asked me if I was Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba. They also asked if I resided in Lagos or Abuja.