Few months ago, 40-year-old Nigerian craftsman Ojo Obaniyi worked on his inspiration and launched the first ever raffia hand-woven car in the world. This is ingenuity at its peak. Who would have thought that a basket-like looking car would be a functional reality, enough to be on the Nigerian road.
The talented Ibadan-based artisan uses raffia to make baskets, chairs, mats, vases, amongst other craft works. But more than these common raffia end products, none has as much aesthetic value as the raffia hand-woven car.
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Ojo who has his workshop in Ibadan, the south-west region of Nigeria gave an innovative perspective to his original raffia designing work; and so it was that with a step-by-step weaving in of the raffia, he ended up finishing both interior and the exterior features of the car in a ‘raffia’ style. Every part of his Volkswagen pick-up truck, the spur of the inspiration, was totally covered with woven raffia, down to the wheels.
I bet it never crossed your mind that raffia could ever be listed as a related raw material in car production. It cannot be said enough that the future of Africa lies not only in certificates and formal education but in skill acquisition and talent development as well; as it is becoming more and more evident in the society.
“I wanted to prove a point that it is not only the educated elite that can make positive changes in society. We, the artisans also have talents to effect a change and make a positive impact in the society. That is why I decided that I too must do something that will make people to recognize me and know me across the whole world and by extension prove to the world that Africa and indeed the entire black race have very talented people.”- Obaniyi
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If it were just hearsay, then it would have been a tricky report but the images speak for themselves.
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