Monday, 2 January 2017


My mission to Kwali was to meet with and present a copy of my book "100 PIONEER/REMARKABLE WOMEN OF THE CENTURY" to the family members of Lady Kwali. The book was eventually presented to Alhaji (Dr) Shaban Nizuzzo Audu III who is a step grandson to Lady Kwali.

Ladi Kawli at the back of Nigerian 20 Naira currency

Ladi Kwali is the pottery woman at the back of the Nigerian 20 naira note. She learned to make pottery as a child by her aunt using the traditional method of coiling. After the establishment of the Pottery Training Centre in Abuja in April, 1952 by Michael Cardew, Ladi Kwali became the first female potter to join the center. Ladi Kwali's pots were featured in international exhibitions of Abuja pottery in 1958, 1959, and 1962, organized by Cardew. In 1961, Kwali gave demonstrations at the Royal College, Farnham, and Wenford Bridge in Great Britain. She also gave demonstrations in France and Germany over this period. In 1972, she toured America with Cardew. Her work was shown to great acclaim in London at the Berkeley Galleries. The Abuja Pottery was renamed the Ladi Kwali Pottery in the early 1980s. in 1962 she was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire); in 1977, she was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria; in 1980, the Federal Government of Nigeria invested on her with the insignia of the Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA); in 1981 she received the national honor of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
I also visited the abandoned Ladi Kwali Centre and I wept for Nigerian history. We don't take care of our yesterdays, so it will be hard to understand our today and predict our tomorrow.

Dr James in front of ladi Kwali center

Dr James is presenting a copy of his book to to Alhaji (Dr) Shaban Nizuzzo Audu III

Ladi Kwali as a young woman

Ladi kwali in her later years

I am using this opportunity to call the federal government as well as the FCT government to rehabilitate the Ladi Kwali Centre in order to preserve the cultural heritage of the Gbagyi people and Nigerian heritage by extension.

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