Nneka Iwunna Ezemezue

‘The Vendor’ hones in on engrossed faces of daily readers across cities in Nigeria, otherwise comically known as ‘Free Readers Association of Nigeria’. Every day as they commute, irrespective of cultural or social background, they gather in public spaces (vendor stands) to peruse the newspaper headlines in order to be informed about the daily happenings from the local and international scenes, as well as topical cultural and social phenomena. These public spaces are mostly found at major bus stops, points of intersections and divergence. Due to the declining economic situation in the country, they are hampered by their inability to purchase newspapers every day, some pay N50 (30 cents) to read the content of the newspapers.

The series is also an insight into another noticeable trend of ‘accidental audience’ gathering which occurs whenever there is a public incident.  The ephemerality of this pop-up cultural phenomenon is common within the context of African public space engagement. The crave for information caused by a tensed polity and cynicism draws people, in unscripted performances, to these spaces of social, cultural and political re-engagements.

These public spaces promotes human interaction and brings information closer to the people therefore making them become important incubators of information/knowledge that helps to nurture the cultural, economic, social and political developments that challenge the way we think and live.