Between Culture and Poverty: The Queen Mother Phenomenon and the Edo International Sex Trade
How valid in contemporary times is the reproduction and re-enactment of a glorious cultural past when such has the capacity of masking the material conditions of contemporary existence? This is the main question addressed by this research. The study attempts to evaluate the interface of cultural nationalism and prevailing social and material conditions in a particular Nigerian society. The city of Benin in Edo state of Nigeria has become the hub of the international sex trade in Africa's most populous nation. On the premise that the issue of prostitution and how to solve the problem transcends sentimental attachment to a glorious past, this work proposes to interrogate the following questions as a way of understanding the problem. Should the ‘Idia Renaissance' project be seen as an attempt by the privileged class to advance, project and protect its status, rather than a genuine attempt to find solutions to an endemic social and economic problem? Are the girls engaged in prostitution really interested in being ‘saved from themselves'? How plausible is the attempt to re-invent the Queen Mother in the face of present realities?
Humanities Review Journal Vol. 5 2005: pp. 28-46