Dear EKP Fans,
Sorry I left you! I had an operation ten days ago and was too busy recovering to post my last Record of the Week. But I am back with another thought-provoking Friday special! I hope you will like, comment, share, and of course, record your family history with the Ekopolitan Project. Future generations will thank you and so will we.
Source: This photograph was taken in Lagos in the mid-1970s. It was shot by either the Brazilian anthropologist Marianno Carneiro da Cunha or, more likely, by the French photographer he was traveling and collaborating with at the time, Pierre Verger. The photo was later published in DaCunha’s 1985 book, Da Senzala ao Sobrado (From the Slave Quarters to the Townhouse), which was a bi-lingual and comparative study of architecture in Brazil and what art historian Ikem Okoye calls “New Way” architecture in West Africa.*
The photo features a headstone for two women—Mrs. Rosa Munis and Mrs. Francisca Adedoyin Fereira. We are told that Mrs. Rosa Munis died in 1950 and lived to be 110, which would mean she was born in 1840. Where was she born? Lagos? Whydah? Badagry? Further beyond? What was her family name? Who were her people? How did she meet and marry Mr. Munis? The things I wish I knew…
Mrs. Francisca Adedoyin Fereira is also a fascinating character. She passed away on April 14, 1940 but alas, we don’t know how old she was at the time. Was she relatively young, and that’s why her alias was “Auntie,” by contrast with Rosa Munis’ “Yaya?” Hr name is also interesting. Francisca plus Adedoyin seems like a rather modern name combination. Was she given the name Adedoyin or did she take on a Yoruba name for herself?
Finally, two names, one headstone. And the headstone is in very good condition. It was probably recently made in the 1970s. Why did the person who commissioned it put the two names together? Who were Mrs. Rosa Munis and Mrs. Francisca Adedoyin Fereira to each other? Who are they to you? Comment, e-mail, like, share! And record your family history with the Ekopolitan Project. Future generations will thank you and so will we.
* Okoye, I. S. (2013) African Reimaginations, in A Companion to Modern African Art (eds G. Salami and M. B. Visonà ), John Wiley & Sons, Oxford.