South Florida Nigerians Plan Museum, Cultural Center

Aug 13, 2013

Debola Olaigbe and other Nigerian women wear colorful head pieces called geles at Christ Apostolic Church near Opa-locka.

On a barren piece of land in Miami Gardens enclosed by a chain link fence, South Florida’s Nigerian community envision a cultural anchor, an African museum that will showcase the richness of their homeland and continent.

The goal is to build an institution that will debunk misconceptions and educate visitors about Africa but also to leave a permanent mark in South Florida.

“Since we are here, we might as well bloom where we are planted,” said Joseph Obadeyi, chairman of the Nigerian American Foundation. “We are trying to leave some type of legacy for our kids, something we can point to in the future and say, ‘Yes, we were here.’ ”

The Nigerian American Foundation, a nonprofit group, led the effort to lease the Miami-Dade County-owned parcel at Northwest 207th Street and 32nd Avenue. The foundation expects to spend $5 million to $6 million to build the center. Under the lease, it will pay $1 to the county per year.

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