The Shakara Woman

Jabi Lake - Carelle

Short and sweet, shakara is a Nigerian term meaning to show off but it is not always associated as a negative. Nigerian women take great pride in their appearance and have no qualms showing off a bit. It's funny the contrast with somewhere like Britain, where self-deprecation is essence of culture and showing off is viewed badly. For example, being house proud or happy with your appearance is discouraged and even considered snobby. Growing up, I was a superbly shy kid and living in the UK meant that I soaked in some of that self-deprecating attitude. Compliments given would be quickly countered by me pointing out a negative and  while I have always been fashion conscious it would be within the constraints of what is socially was always more about fitting in than standing out. But my mother has always been an advocate for shakara, always encouraged me to put a bit of spiciness in my life and to be proud of the person I am including my hard work, my appearance, my home... basically my life. As such I've come to realize that actually a bit of showing off can be elegant. When people compliment me I say thank you and I no longer fear being stared at because I've dressed up. Don't get me wrong, I do spend most of my days rocking that homeless chic look. It's hilarious when I go to work without makeup and wearing a hoody (which is most days btw), all the Nigeria women make a fuss over me saying it's important that I make a bit of an effort and flaunt what I've got. My mum came with me to this shoot and it was great to have there supporting me and for her to see me doing some shakara too. Plus she wanted me to do in in Nigerian gear so she was loving it! So basically that's the message from my mother and I to you all, that a bit of shakara never hurt anyone so do you ladies :) 



Local Nigerian Bubu

ASOS Cateye Sunglasses 

Guiseppe Zanotti Sandals


*Title from Shakara by Fela Kuti


Photography by Tope Brown