Black venice

Black venice

August 1, 2017

Makoko slums are located in a lagoon on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, literally next to modern buildings, Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria and the main commercial and industrial center. In these slums, stretching along the coastline for several kilometers, thousands of people live in fragile wooden huts. There are no official records and censuses, but an estimated 150,000 to 250,000 people live here.

Among others, here are some photographs of the legendary photographer Jan Artus Bertrand.

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Makoko used to be a small fishing village built by fishermen from Benin more than a hundred years ago. After some time, it turned into illegally built slums and grew to enormous size. The population now consists mainly of migrant workers from West African countries trying to make a living in Nigeria. Oily black water is no longer suitable for fishing, it emits a pungent odor, and a thick layer of white foam is collected around the shacks.

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Buildings on the water are made of wood and supported by wooden piles that go deep into the water. In each such shack there live 6-10 people, who most often rent it. Residents use homemade canoes to move through the canals for fishing and trade.

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For many decades, residents in Makoko did not have access to infrastructure, including clean drinking water, electricity, and waste disposal, which caused the threat of an environmental crisis. All waste and sewage is discharged directly into the water. The only way to get drinking water is to buy it from vendors, since the government does not provide free water to Makoko residents. The government does not recognize them at all. In July 2012, the government decided to take drastic measures and destroyed many floating buildings and other illegal structures. In the end, protests and the media forced the regional government to announce housing for 250,000 people and employment opportunities for another 150,000.
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Nigerian Cities: Lagos: Makoko- Water Town. Portfolio design by Neon Sky.
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Nigerian Cities: Lagos: Makoko- Water Town. Portfolio design by Neon Sky.
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