Nigerian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, Harrison Okiri, popularly known as Harrysong, shares fond memories of his trip to Duisburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
When did you visit Duisburg and what was your mission there?
I visited Duisburg two years ago, during my European tour and it was very successful. The reception I got was massive.
Was it your first time visiting Duisburg?
Yes, that was my first time of visiting the city.
Did you travel alone or in company with people?
I travelled with my team. It was a tour so my team was present.
What are some of the things that fascinated you when you arrived in Duisburg?
I was fascinated by the beauty and freshness of the city. The people are happy and cheerful. They easily accept visitors. The reception I got was breathtaking and my songs are so big there. As a matter of fact, we had two performances and the response we got was great. It received so much love and it was a very good experience.
How would you describe the culture of the people there and what are some of the things that stand them out?
They don’t discriminate; there is mutual love and understanding. They believe in oneness, appreciate themselves and are very free with one another. They are also very humble people who respect themselves.
What are some of the food that tickled your taste buds while you were there?
Although they have great meals, I didn’t taste any of them. I didn’t want to take the risk of eating something that would upset my stomach. While I was there, I was just feeding on fruits and water.
Were they receptive towards you as a Nigerian?
Of course, they were. They are very receptive and respectful people.
How informed are they about Nigeria?
They are very informed about Nigeria. They have good records about Nigeria and they love Nigerians.
What were some of the tourist sites and attractions that you visited during your stay in Duisburg and what did you take away from there?
I didn’t really go out because there was no time to visit anywhere. It was from the airport to the hotel where we lodged and from the hotel to the venue of the events. Everything happened at the venue of my show.
Were there downsides to your trip?
No, there wasn’t. I enjoyed every bit of the tour and everything went smoothly.
As a musician, how would you rate the music industry over there compared with what is obtainable in the Nigerian music industry?
They are sophisticated and informed because they have a platform that is working. Unlike the Nigerian music industry, we are still struggling to build a platform.
Which other places would you like to visit?
I don’t know. I am not really a travelling person. I don’t travel for fun. I only travel when it is business-related.
What is the best travel advice you can give?
Travel comfortably and be sure of the purpose of your trip. You should have a good reason before embarking on any trip.
Did you buy any keepsakes during your trip?
I don’t remember buying anything because it’s been a while.
In terms of security of lives and properties, how would you rate Duisburg over Nigeria?
We cannot compare Nigeria and Duisburg in terms of security. There is no security in Nigeria at all. The only people that have security in this country are politicians because they have security men guarding them. The masses are on their own because their lives and properties are not secure.
Did you observe any similarities between Duisburg and other major Nigerian cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt?
There was nothing of such. Duisburg is not similar to Nigeria and nothing I saw there reminded me about Nigeria.
What was the weather like when you travelled?
It was a bit cold but I was okay. We went prepared because we carried out research on what the weather was like before leaving Nigeria. We went there properly dressed.
Is there anything you saw in Duisburg that you would love to see replicated in Nigeria?
I would love for everything to be replicated in Nigeria. The people in Duisburg are happy; they celebrate with you when you are celebrating. For them, it is not about culture or where you are from.
They have love and respect for each other. In Nigeria, most times it is about Yoruba, Ijaw, Hausa and Igbo etc. There is a lot of tribalism and culture discrimination.
Sometimes, some people even say it to your face that you are not from their tribe so they cannot help you, and that is very wrong. If we continue with this, then we won’t move forward as individuals and as a country.