Ior Av,

It’s a wet Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria and I am glad it rained. People have been enduring the high weather temperature in the last few days. It is the day of relieve and we look forward to more relieve as the rainy season sets in fully. I have come in the similitude of a Tiv from Benue State, Nigeria saying, ‘My People’.

As a lad, there are names on my Grandmother’s arm, she told me it is called “Soju” and why she had different names written on her skin. When I got to Ilorin for my tertiary education; I came in contact with another intricate patterns drawn on women in the market and some corporate environment, I asked questions about it and I got to know this as one of the traditional fashion style called “Lali”. By the time, I got to Maiduguri, Borno State, before the Boko Haram days; I was used to seeing it on women. Interestingly, when I returned to Lagos, I came in touch with another set of patterns called tattoo. Let’s reflect on today’s Versus Series as we consider Tattoo vs Lali.

Tattoo is a cosmetic technique which involves the placement of pigment into the skin’s dermis, the layer of dermal tissue underlying the epidermis. After initial injection, pigment is dispersed throughout a homogenized damaged layer down through the epidermis and upper dermis, in both of which the presence of foreign material activates the immune system‘s phagocytes to engulf the pigment particles. As with tattoos, permanent makeup can be difficult to remove. Common techniques used for this are laser resurfacingdermabrasion (physical or chemical exfoliation), and surgical removal. Removal is more painful and laborious than the tattooing itself. Tattooing may have complications, such as allergies to the pigments, formation of scars, granulomas and keloids, skin cracking, peeling, blistering and local infection. The use of unsterilized tattooing instruments may infect the patient with serious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Removal problems may also ensue, due to patient dissatisfaction or regret, and they may be particularly difficult to remove.

“Lali” is drawing intricate patterns on the hands and feet of ladies. It’s Hausa tradition used to adorn brides – popular in Northern Nigeria and in Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups across West Africa. ‘Laali’, the dark ink called Henna made from the crushed leaves of the Henna plant, the dark ink (which turns from orange to dark red) has been used for centuries to paint body art in various cultures around the world. It can stay up to three months on the skin depending on the size and intricacy of the fashion pattern desired.

These descriptions are technical and scientific. I will want to narrow it down to other areas of our lives, most especially, our dealings with people. Let us be careful not to leave a scar on the heart of people. There are people that do hurt others badly and it never leaves their memories. There is a need to evaluate our decisions, which of these decision will leave permanent scars on us and which ones will heal over time and we can move on to other wonderful roles.

Contrarily, you have to be tattoo the skills of your craft on your skin, everyone must know you as a don of your competence; it must be oozing all over you.

It is a choice and not by force to know what we are doing and for what reasons we are doing it. Of what benefit is it to be act in a haste and start finding a very expensive way out.

Let’s reason deeply.

Have a smooth transition into May.



(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.