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Social Media Week

8 mins read

Meet The Black Woman who Created The World’s Largest Tech Conference

Social Media Week Lagos is the largest and Blackest conference that you’ve probably never heard of until now.

SMW Lagos features a central stage for keynotes and panels, multiple rooms for workshops, masterclasses and presentations, and an area dedicated to co-working, networking and interactive installations.

SMW Lagos 2018 boasted an attendance of over 20,000 people in person,  an online social reach of 646 million and over 150 local and international organizations contributed to the conference.

If you’ve heard of a conference larger than that, anywhere, let us know. We’ll wait.

The Founder

Ngozi Odita is the founder of Social Media Week Lagos. She is a producer and a public speaker that works with artists and arts organizations to produce public programming that includes art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts & artist talks. She speaks to the unique opportunities that exist on the continent and “what’s next” on the horizon.

Social Media Week Lagos founder, Ngozi Odita

The Inspiration

Ngozi’s work has always centered around the intersection of art, culture and technology as it relates to Africa and the diaspora. After producing two SMW New York events, she decided that instead of telling people how dope Africa is, she would let them see for themselves by creating a platform on the Continent.

She got the license to create the conference in Nigeria and the rest is history in the making.

Challenges and Rewards

When asked about the most challenging and rewarding parts of creating this event, she stated, “It’s a challenge in general doing an event that’s this large scale. In Nigeria, there are unique challenges.

Certain resources and materials may not be readily available the way they are in the West. Getting people in Africa and abroad to see the vision has also been a challenge.

People asked why anyone would want to see a conference about using Twitter or Instagram. They told me that it just would not work.”

Ngozi says the most rewarding part of the journey has been providing new and life changing experiences for those who attend the conference.

“Last year, we had a yoga/meditation tent. Initially, people thought that wasn’t a good idea and that none would attend a yoga event first thing in the morning.

But it ended up being packed! Some of the people had never done yoga before.

I love challenging people to do new things that they never thought of doing. I enjoy providing an experience that they can’t get anywhere else.”

Why attend SMW Lagos?

“I really want Black people on the Continent and in the Diaspora to see that we are all alike. You don’t see yourself until you see yourself. Many people abroad see images of the super fly people and places in Lagos and they are like, “Whoa that’s in Nigeria? That could be Brooklyn, that could be Atlanta!”

That’s when the connection happens. We have to ask ourselves why we don’t connect, and why don’t we build more.”

She continued, “It is important for people on the continent also get a real connection with their brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.

We need to figure out what we could accomplish if we all work together. People say Africa is the future and it really is!  Every western country is trying to figure out (or has figured out) what their “Africa angle” is.

If we don’t figure it out as a people, others will figure it out for us and we’ll be in the back seat. We need to connect and people in the diaspora need to come over and see how we can build together.”

SMW is a great way to connect tech minded and business minded creatives and entrepreneurs.

“I love the fact that because of social media, youtube etc, we can see all the dope artists and fashion, but we have to be more than consumers, we need to own.We need to figure out how to own our own.

All these amazing African startups are getting investment from outside the continent. They end up being owned by people who don’t look like us. Jay-z and Nas and others are investing in tech.

Now, let’s think about investing in some African startups. We need to figure out how to get involved and make money moves and not keep watching from the sidelines.”

The Future

“My dream is that this time of the year will be like a homecoming, and everyone will have February blocked out to come to Nigeria to take care of business and turn up.

African countries are doing amazing things and we celebrate this, but we’re not moving the needle. Mad youth are unemployed and the government is a mess. Other people come out here and get paid, but most of them don’t look like us.

All the resources are there and we all know it but we’re not making the moves to take advantage of what is ours. We’re not talking to ourselves in a way that matters.

In the 50’s you would have leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, discussing Pan Africanism with Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria.

They both travelled to America with the intention of building with like minds. The idea of Blackness as a whole was different then than it is now.

Now, we don’t think as much about nation building, but we need to. There’s no way to do this if we don’t do it together.”

What to Expect this year

A few of year events include:

  • Re-Imagine Africa
  • Intro to Angel Investing
  • How to scale your business with Instagram
  • Digital Media and the Music Industry
  • Potential for growth:Digital sports in Africa
  • My F*ck Up Story – Sharing Stories Of Professional Failure

Visit the SMW Lagos website for more information.


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

1 min read

15 Things to do in Lagos for Social Media Week 2019

The last time I was at Social Media Week Lagos was in 2017. It was great to be back home, connecting with entrepreneurs, content creators and other bright minds from around the world. We shared ideas on how the Continent can use and is using social media in the areas of entertainment, business, education and activism.

On Feb 4th – 8th 2019, Social Media Week Lagos will be back, bigger and better than before. But don’t worry of you can’t make it, we’ve got our SHOPPE BLACK eyes and ears on the ground to bring the news, videos and pics to you.

If you are one of the lucky ones who WILL be in Lagos in February or plan to attend between now and next year, check out this updated version of where to go to get a taste of the culture, entertainment and history.


Black Olive

The Ice Cream factory

Danfo Bistro and Dives

Labule Restaurant

The House Cafe


Terra Kulture

Omenka Gallery 

Rele Gallery

Nike Art Gallery

Thought Pyramid Art Centre

Freedom Park


Tarkwa Beach

Ilashe Beach


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)


6 mins read

Do Lagos Like This During Social Media Week

Lagos City

The Centre of Excellence. The beating pulse of Africa’s most populous nation. Located in the southwestern point of Nigeria, Lagos is home to approximately 18 million people. The city has a relentless energy that hardly ever disappoints. From February 27 to March 8, Lagos will host Social Media Week and an influx of visitors from around the globe.

We put together the ultimate guide to Lagos so your stay in this majestic African city is one for the books. 

Safety First

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. It’s no secret that Lagos has, in certain areas, a tad of a criminal touch. Make smart decisions. Connect with local friends who are willing to serve as hosts. Move around in registered transportation. If it doesn’t look or feel right, then it most likely isn’t. 

Where to Sleep

There are a plethora of hotels in Lagos that meet international standards and are closely located to the Landmark Centre on Victoria Island (venue of Social Media Week). With the current currency fluctuation, the rates are pretty favorable for out-of-towners. Let the Nigerian-owned travel site Wakanow spoil you with choices based on location, price, ratings, recommendations, and reviews. 

Owned by the Nigerian business conglomerate, The Chagoury Group, the Eko Hotel & Suites is safe, affordable and convenient.

Eko Hotel

Moving Around

It’s the dry season now so it’s hot like Hades. Bring loads of sunscreen. For those coming in from out of town, look no further than Uber or Ryno (The official transportation option for #SMWLagos) for a clean, reliable and air conditioned vehicle that is also safe and inexpensive. These companies have been in Nigeria for a couple of years and they have revolutionized the taxi game in Lagos.


For the adventurous, you can risk it all on a mini motor bike otherwise known as okadas. Rider beware: this is not your mom’s Harley. You’ll be seated behind the driver and whisked anywhere for next-to-nothing. Highly innovative tricycles have been transformed into passenger vehicles known as “Keke Napep”. They are a step-up from the okadas and “safer,” said with air quotes.


Places to Grub

With such a large population, feeding Lagos is an industry of epic proportions. You can get anything from a five-star meal at Tolindos Steak House to a freshly made plate of local delicacies on the side of the road. Grab a cheap meal at the local fast food joints, Chicken Republic and Tastee Fried Chicken. For an international flare, eat at Bungalows, Samantha’s Restaurant, Casper & Gamibini’s. 

If you are looking for a truly Nigerian experience with high quality food, we set these three places to our watch:

  1. Yellow Chilli
  2. Natives Restaurant
  3. Jevnik Restaurant 

When your schedule is tight or you’re unable to move about freely, order freshly made meals that are delivered to your door from Akoni Kitchen. Their burgers, wraps, and hot dogs are delicious. Daily menus are posted on their Instagram @AkoniKitchen.

Yellow Chilli

Places to Shop

The fashion scene in Lagos is booming and retailers are almost exclusively stocking made-in-Naija wares. Your best bet for high brow stores are at The Palms Shopping Centre, Mega Plaza, Ikeja Mall, and The City Mall. Stop in Da Viva for luxurious African fabrics.

If you really want to stunt, we recommend finding a local tailor to custom fit a Naija outfit to your specifications. The FIA Factory (women) and Jaxn Wears (fellas) are our top choices. 

You’ve NEVER been to a market until you’ve been to Balogun Market. First off, wear comfortable shoes and a negotiators spirit. Secondly, go with a local guide. Third, and most important, there are no rules. You were warned.

To step up your African art game, take in the equally wondrous Nike Art Gallery and Lekki Market. You’ll spend all of your money.  


Last, but Most Important…..NIGHTLIFE!

Lagos rivals New York as the city that never sleeps. For a younger crowd (or if you don’t mind being the old-head at the club), our top three picks will get your life right: 

  1. Quilox Nightclub
  2. Vapors
  3. Likwid 

If you’re looking for a low-key and quiet evening by the Lagoon, go to the Radisson Blu Anchorage, Sailors or Casper & Gambini’s. 

quilox night club

Final Words

Photo Credit: Cognitio Studio Photography

The best way to experience Lagos is to roll with a local. Lagosians are very friendly. Use Social Media Week as an opportunity to network your way into some fun. As the local saying goes, “Eko O Ni Baje”. Lagos will not spoil.

Nwaji Jibunoh & Jo-Ann Enwezor