She sets forth at dawn every day. Olajumoke Orisaguna, the then 27 year old hair stylist from Iree (Osun state), steadies her tray of Agege bread and butter on her head, walks the crannies of Sabo, Yaba (Lagos) and environs from dawn to dusk looking for patrons. Every day!
That Tuesday, February 2, 2016, was no different for the mother of two young children who made between N300 and N700 gross profit after a full day’s drudgery.
She had relocated to Lagos on the advice of a friend’s brother, following the long strike in the polytechnic town of Iree where her salon was planted. Students and lecturers and allied staff had vacated the town. And her business was at a standstill.
She needed money to survive and extra to upgrade her salon. And hawking bread in Lagos, which she tried in 2011, was an option.
Olajumoke Orisaguna moved to Liberty Bakery in Sabo (Yaba) early January 2016, where she shared the floor at night with her 16 month old baby (Precious) and scores of disadvantaged hawkers who survive on pittance.
Early in the morning, with dozens of loaves, she hawked around the area as far as her energy could go. Artisans and petty traders were her regular customers.
This Tuesday, February 2, she was decked in a red and white dress and colourful tights, prancing around Yaba area looking for patrons.
At another location, TY Bello, famous singer and photographer and mother of twins, was shooting superstar rapper, Tinie Tempah for a ThisDay spotlight.
The photo-shoot was going on well in one of the streets of Yaba. And the atmosphere was as charged as it was exciting. The theme was not your typical street scene.
And after hours of shoot, fate brought the hawker, photographer and rapper together.
At a point during the shoot, Olajumoke swayed with her wares into the scene, and her image was frozen in the background in the shoot. When the spotlight appeared in ThisDay, many thought she was part of the set.
And as the pictures attracted more attention, TY Bello launched a search party for Olajumoke. She strolled near TY’s house shortly after, and the security man invited her to see madam.
Eventually, a special story and photo shoot was organised for her – after Azuka Ogujiuba persuaded ThisDay Style to do a feature on the bread hawker who was transformed with make up and beautiful clothes.
Once the feature hit newsstands, attention rained on her in torrents – and she quickly got a modelling contract.
Well wishers and brands lavished her with money. And her life took on new meaning in less than two months…