Sunday, 17 January 2016

I SEE YOU | Freedom Park

By now, to everyone in Lagos, Freedom Park is synonymous with Afropolitan Vibes, the once a month "free" concert using the amphi-theatre that the park holds every month. Having been to Afropolitan Vibes in December to see Brymo, the park is the fitting setting for the concert and has people from all walks of life around Lagos enjoying themselves for a few hours. However, it is clear that you are really unable to see the actual park at night. In trying to figure out what there is to do during the day in Lagos, I took my friends who were visiting Lagos there for a quick look. The park itself is smaller than I expected and it is easy to look at the various sculptures and pieces in around 15 mins.

The park was set up out of the ruins of the Broad Street Prison where political prisoners like Herbert Macaulay and Obafemi Awolowo were imprisoned at different points. Thus, it serves as a historical landmark and cultural site. You can still see the old Pergola cells where prisoners were kept which has been preserved. Whilst there, we saw that people used it as little pods to work on their laptops. I found the park to be quite serene and quiet during the day. We probably caught the park at a quiet time because it was a weekday. Nevertheless, it is quite nice to take a walk around the grounds and sit in silence for a few minutes. Also on site is a small gallery which you can view for free. On our visit, the exhibition was a look at pre and post colonial Nigerian advertising. There is also on site a food court and gift shop.

One small complaint I had was the poor state of some of the displays - some rusted and broken. I understand that when the park first opened up, they were in pristine condition but that just is not the case anymore. I believe that upkeep can continue to make a place worthwhile to visit more than once which is what I believe Freedom Park is lacking. Maybe it was due to the time I visited, maybe not but parts of the park were a bit unkept and bits of the sculptures were falling apart. Now passing its 5 year mark, daytime visits are the key to its continued success. If a facelift can be applied to parts of the park, I believe that it will continue to be the sort of place you would want to visit in Lagos.

Where? Old Prison Ground, Broad Street
How much? Just the gate fee of N200. 
How long should I spend there? An hour should do it

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