The don of Pérignon

A year ago (February 2010) I met, in Lagos, Nigeria, Pascal Pecriaux, “Ambassador” for French champagne brand Moët & Chandon. The profile below provides insight into Pecriaux’s life – in and out of wine-tasting – and the Nigerian obsession with champagne. Nigeria ‘discovered’ champagne in commercial quantities (by importation, of course) following the oil boom…

Half Time

By Tolu Ogunlesi At a beer parlour, patiently waiting for Nigeria to put Argentina on the flight back to Buenos Aires; loud discussions on everything from ash clouds to Diego’s immortal hand of Goddamit! The TV proudly wears dark glasses, drawing technicolour mockery from the crowd, booze swirling in our brains like a million Messi…

Between Wole Soyinka and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

By Tolu Ogunlesi Lamenting the presence of Nigeria on the US government’s list of “countries of interest” (in the war on terror), Nigerian writer and first African Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka told British journalist Tunku Varadarajan, at the Jaipur Literary Festival in January: “[Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab] did not get radicalized in Nigeria. It happened in…

WE ARE ALL AFRICANS

by Tolu Ogunlesi To the outside world, we are all “Africans”. ‘Africa’, that continent of “colourful emergencies” (a term coined by novelist Helen Oyeyemi in a 2005 essay); ‘African’, that oversized brush dripping a paint handy for tarring every living thing found within a thousand-mile radius of the Sahara desert. As Africans – and by…