Cantas...a Nigerian Story

Growing up back home in Nigeria, kids were so  innovative. Can’t afford toys? No wahala (translation: no problem). We would make use of what we had around us, what was thrown away and turn it into something exciting. What was created held more value than purchased toys because it sparked creative thinking and it brought kids together either for the thought process, tournaments or to take turns. It also created a safe space for kids to interact with one another and of course, it was fun! It was always something to look forward to after school or after helping our mothers with trading. Few of these innovative toys/games include -empty tin cans as heels: kids would extract glue from mango trees and glue tin cans to the sole of their feet to catwalk. -Toy cars made out of plastic bottle caps & empty paper boxes with a string attached to drag it along.

-My favorite to play with my brothers was the bottle soda caps which we called “counters or cantas” as we used them to learn how to count in math. We would use these counters to play finger-soccer by pushing the counters against a tiny paper ball through our index finger/thumb. 

My goal for this series is to show the beauty of reinvention and how we can turn what is usually considered trash into something spectacular.

Credits:

Creative Director: Chioma Obiegbu

Photographer & co-director: Learon Coleman

Models:

Nas'tassia Simpson (earrings)

Magdelene Barjolo (headpiece)

Zaawadi Kalema (hat)

Chioma (hair accessories)

All pieces were made by Chioma. To rent or customize a piece, go to www.chiioma.com/rentals