15 Facts you never knew about Ladi Kwali, the woman on 20 Naira note
1. Lady Kwali was born in the village of Kwali in 1925, the Gwari region of Northern Nigeria, where pottery was an indigenous female tradition.
2. Her pots were noted for their beauty of form and decoration, and she was recognized regionally as a gifted and eminent potter.
3. Several were acquired by the Emir of Abuja, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, in whose home they were seen by Michael Cardew in 1950.
4. She learned to make pottery as a child by her aunt using the traditional method of coiling.
5. She is the only Nigerian woman to be featured on a currency note – 20 naira.
6. She left an indelible legacy of her numerous works and a school of ‘students’ who inadvertently, picked up from where she stopped at the prestigious Abuja Pottery Training School center.
7. She died on August 12, 1984.8. A sculpture of her is being made by Ambrose Diala.
9. A road in Abuja has been named after her, named Ladi Kwali road.
10. Kwali was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1962.
11. In 1980, the Nigerian Government (from the Cabinet Office of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) invested on her with the insignia of the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award (NNOM), the highest national honour for academic achievement.
12. The Sheraton Hotel houses the Ladi Kwali Convention Center, one of the largest conference facilities in Abuja with 10 meeting rooms and four ballrooms.
13. In 1977, she was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
14. Ladi Kwali’s pots were featured in international exhibitions of Abuja pottery in 1958, 1959, and 1962, organized by Cardew.
15. 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.