The first Social Media Week on the continent took place earlier this year in Lagos and it will be in full effect again February 17-21 in 2014. If you made it, you understood the impact of this historic event and will want to get on board again. If you didn’t participate, tough luck. But, hey, wipe your tears because you have another chance. Travelers and locals alike Pelu Awofeso of Waka About and Folarin Kolawole of Naija Treks gives you seven reasons you’ll want to visit Lagos for Social Media Week.
If you somehow fell asleep in World Music 101, afrobeat is a mix of jazz, funk, highlife and other West African music. Fela Kuti is considered the father of afrobeat. Awofeso says a trip to Lagos isn’t complete without diving into the music. He recommends the New Afrika Shrine, a music venue run by Fela’s son Femi Kuti. You can also check out the Kalakuta Museum that houses collections and resources related to the music.
6. Freedom Park
A former colonial prison, the park now serves as a place of meditation, arts and entertainment. It includes an amphitheatre, museum and the Wole Soyinka Art Gallery.
5. A Foodies Delight
“For foodies, your visit to Lagos isn’t complete if you haven’t had a taste of the spiced barbecue meat known locally as suya,” says Awofeso. He also says trying pepper soup is essential. Kolawole adds a must-try is fish barbecue. Not to fear if you’re vegetarian. Awofeso says Lagos is increasingly becoming a food destination, home to international cuisines. Vegetarians will be able to find fare as well, including vegetarian suya, in restaurants. Both recommend a taste of palmwine.
4. To Market, To Market…
Experienced travelers need only apply for this one. Kolawole encourages a visit to the Balogun Market, one of the largest in West Africa. He says bring cash to experience the Nigerian style of haggling prices while afrobeat blasts from the massive speakers, leading to an unforgettable experience.
3. Beach Party
If you have a day to spare and want to travel a bit outside of Lagos, Kolawole recommends beaches like Eleko or Lacampagne for some pre or post-conference relaxation.
2. Awesome Panels and Events
Let’s not forget the reason you’re coming. Attending SMW Lagos is a chance to up your game in the social media and tech space, network with peers and finally meet those folks with whom you’ve been tweeting. Awofeso remembers the panel Publishing in the Age of Social Media as giving him practical tips for his work. Kolawole agrees recalling musical acts like Bez and 2Face Idibia at the Live Series Music Concert
1. A Life-changing Experience
Think about it. You’ll be at an event with like-minded individuals and expanding your mind to be the best you. And you’ll make partnerships and friendships that go beyond the conference. With social media being able to connect the continent and the diaspora, it’s easy to keep in touch with your new found contacts. Kolawole says of a panel he was on for travel bloggers, “We shared our dreams, our future plans and also discussed how we could collaborate, while connecting real-time with other travel bloggers in other parts of the world. We all kept in touch after the Social Media Week.”
His words sum up the theme of the next Social Media Week Lagos: A Connected Africa is the Future.
This is just the beginning of blog posts to help you see what you’ll be missing if you don’t come to Lagos. Seriously, watch this space for the intersection of travel, tech and Africa and how you can get involved.
If you have any questions about traveling to Lagos for the conference, contact yours truly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, I hope to see you in Lagos.
Written by: Roxanne L. Scott