Personal Histories, Collective MemoryHistory is always subjective. It is this realization that focuses scrutiny on versions of accounts, on the alleged facts and evidences underpinning any one story. Personal Histories, Collective Memory is about recognizing this tension between canonised chronicles and the nuanced phenomenon of human experience. It brings to the fore the role of the individual in shaping history and the relevance of his/her experiences to the collective memory.

Programme activities will include gathering materials from private collections and family archives. Our research targets will incorporate unconventional entries to the more traditional objects of documentation and generate digital reproductions. The overarching goals of the programme are to begin building in-house databases, to consolidate and preserve historical accounts, and finally to structure public access to private collections and other knowledge resources.

Image: Ore Disu


The Memory Project Nigeria

The Memory Project Nigeria is an oral and visual history project developed by Nsibidi Institute to archive Nigerian history through the people’s voices. Centred on living memory, our ambition is to gather rich and diverse material on personal accounts from as early as the 1940s, using audio and video recordings to make content widely available for research, educational and public use.For more on The Memory Project Nigeria, Please visit or take a look at our Facebook page.


A Conversation with Efuntunde Etomi

Efuntunde Etomi shares personal account of her childhood and her experience during the biafran war. For more personal stories click here


Personal Histories

The Personal History of Blessing Bassey-DukeAs part of our Collective Memory programme, we have produced a number of documentaries focused on specific families in Nigeria. The latest in our personal history series centres on the life of “the General” Blessing Bassey-Duke, the matriarch and oldest surviving member of the Bassey-Duke family. It is also an effort to trace the genealogy and early history of the Bassey-Duke family. It is based primarily on Blessing’s own personal account of her life and features narratives from other family members.

Between Memory & Modernity

From the dancers at Independence Ceremony in Tafawa Balewa Square to the officials who scoured the country in search of performers for FESTAC ’77, there are numerous examples of individual contributions to the consciousness and resulting cultural products of this era. Between Memory and Modernity is an oral and visual history project enriched by real voices and stories to uncover where our collective experiences diverge and intersect. Working alongside historians and other prominent observers, this multimedia retrospective traces elements of Nigerian identity over the first few impressionable decades post-independence.

To kickstart the project, we’ll be launching an online interactive space where all can explore, share and celebrate their personal and family histories. Entries will be guided by recollections of music, dress, ceremony and other cultural expressions of the latter half of the twentieth century. The platform will also provide useful tips on personal projects, such as family trees, oral histories and photography compilations.

Click here for more on Between Memory & Modernity

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Notable Nigerians

Chinua-Achebe-in-1967-MIchael-NealFor decades, Nigerians have made many valuable contributions to society at home and abroad. The Notable Nigerians series traces the journeys of some of the most remarkable Nigerians, from their formative years to their wide-reaching accomplishments, noting the societal pressures they faced along they way. Little known and thus uncelebrated, these handpicked personal histories equate to an unofficial Who’s Who spanning over the last 120 years in Nigeria. Without disregarding the presence of many naturalised ‘locals’, the Notable Nigerians series presents a colourful array of key personalities and contributors in politics, foreign relations, religion, science and social relations.

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Entry 1: Dr. Curtis Adeniyi-Jones

Entry 2: Stella Thomas

Tracking Captain Savage: The Forgotten Pioneer of African Military History

Sparked by a single clue from WWII Burma, Ed Keazor recounts the hurdles and dead-ends in his quest to uncover the identity of a mysterious military doctor amidst reservations regarding name, ethnicity and the discrepancies between the history books and official records.

Collective Memory