At the heart of it is the street vendor. The street vendor must of necessity be adept at multitasking if he is to make ends meet. The task requires that they dart around in traffic, chase their customers’ vehicles, make change and avoid getting run over while they’re at it. They sell anything and everything that can be carried, shouldered or trundled around in a push-cart.
The first offer is almost always the best price, the choice between angling for an uncertain hot pursuit bargain and making a quick sale is usually resolved in favour of the latter. The traffic is alive with their energy, with their sing-song calls, repetitive chirping and loud teeth kissing sounds that fuse with the honking and hooting of vehicles, producing an unlikely ensemble with a unique sound, the sound of the Lagos metropolis. Sounds which might be unintelligible to the uninitiated but which over time have become distinct and recognisable to the inhabitants of the metropolis.
And who is the street vendor? He is the frustrated graduate who can’t find work. The orphan, forced to become adult before his time. The runaway, fresh from the country – taking his chances in the city. The single mother trying to send her children to school, and her young daughter who has had to stay at home since last term. Mere details these are though, unnecessary. We’re just glad that we can snack and shop. That’s right, what would we ever do without the street vendor?