A Week in the Life is a weekly Zikoko series that explores the working-class struggles of Nigerians. It captures the very spirit of what it means to hustle in Nigeria and puts you in the shoes of the subject for a week.
In this week’s A Week in the Life, I talked with a content creator who works in three Abuja nightclubs. She walked me through what it’s like to meet celebrities and “Abuja big boys”, fend off creepy men and deal with sexism in the nation’s capital, all in a week’s work. Find out below.
THURSDAY – FRIDAY
I create content for a network of nightclubs in Abuja, so I work Thursday to Saturday because that’s when the clubs are in full swing.
I work at night, but my body cannot sleep past 9 a.m. To keep myself busy in the morning, I focus on my side hustle where I work as a virtual assistant for an online shoe store in Lagos. Between 9 and 11 a.m., I take orders and respond to inquiries. Then I get up from bed and go through the morning motions: brush my teeth, bathe and make breakfast.
By midday, I prepare my outfit for the night, pack my makeup and accessories and head over to my friend’s place. My friend is also my coworker, so we hang out in the afternoon to trade ideas, banter and mentally prepare for the weekend.
By 8 p.m., we start getting ready properly. We take a long time to prepare, so we have to start early. When we’re done, we’ll go to a lounge and chill until 1 a.m. when clubbers start to party.
My job as a nightclub content creator is to document the night’s events and share them on social media. I take photos of all the exciting moments and post them on social media. Is an Abuja big boy spending money while his guys cheer him on? I capture it. Is anybody ordering Azul? I record the procession and create visual content around it for Instagram. I even catch the occasional fight and anything else that can get people talking, and distribute them across our social media channels.
I work with a network of three nightclubs in Abuja. The first club starts around 1 a.m. Then, I head over to the second club. The third one is where clubbers end their night.
Abuja nightlife is weird because people leave the club at daybreak, change their cars and go to work. My work is super-stressful because I barely get any sleep. I finish from the clubs around 6 a.m, and for some reason, I can’t sleep past 9 a.m. I try to make up for the lost sleep from next Monday to Wednesday night, but I’m surprised I haven’t broken down since I started this job in January 2022.
FRIDAY – SATURDAY
The best part of this job is also the worst. I meet a lot of well-connected people. The networking aspect of Abuja nightlife is fantastic; one conversation can change your life. All the celebrities, Abuja big boys and upper-middle-class folk I would have needed to jump through hoops and hurdles to see on a typical day? They’re in the club. My boss occasionally introduces me to someone important who could give me an opportunity to create content for them and get paid.
Since I network a lot, I also get harassed often. Abuja men are a special breed. They’re built different, mehn. They don’t let me breathe. There’s always some guy who wants to talk even when I’m not in the mood, and they say the nastiest, most unprintable things. Abuja men no dey carry eye see person. They’re touchy-feely and just assume that when they see a young girl in the club at night, they can take her home. Oga, I’m just here to do my job. Free me.
Let me not even get started about all the men who think I’m a runs girl.
Sometime this night, I was moving around and making videos when a man as old as my father walked up to me and told me, “Come home with me,” in a cold, authoritative voice, as if he put jazz in his mouth. I’ve never cringed so hard.
The other thing that stresses me out is all the alcohol I drink at the club. I’m already sick of it. Also, I’m a content creator, so my job requires that I’m always on my feet. All that standing and moving about wears me out at the end of every night. My heels are constantly in pain.
But the salary is cool cash, and the perks that come with the job balance things out.
SATURDAY – SUNDAY
I got into a fight today.
Usually, I stay at my boss’ table, but one of my friends was visiting the club, so I hung out with him. My coworker tagged along, only for one weird drunk guy to start harassing her, trying to get her to go home with him. He was touching her and saying nonsense like, “I will fuck you well-well.” I noticed his antics and switched seats with my friend, but this guy didn’t leave her alone. He went around me and continued harassing her. When she resisted, he poured his drink in her face, slapped her and started yelling and pulling her hair. I saw red. All I could think about was defending her, so I jumped on him and started fighting back.
My friend grabbed the drunk fool, picked up a bottle of Azul and was ready to break the stupid man’s head. But the bouncers held him back and started begging him.
After things calmed down, the bouncers wanted to throw me out, but my friend who owned the table defended me. He argued that I was an employee of the club and should be protected rather than thrown out. The bouncers often treat ladies badly and use the slightest excuse to punish us just for being women.
The club world in Abuja is very sexist. Most times, women aren’t even allowed into clubs unless they are with men. It’s so stupid because why can’t a woman want to chill on her own? The only thing that saved me from being thrown out of my own workplace was that my friend is an Abuja boy, the manager of another big club.
It made no sense, but these are the kinds of rubbish I have to deal with.
By the time I got home this fine Sunday morning, I was exhausted. All that was on my mind was that I didn’t want to keep doing this every day. I want to get to a point where I don’t have to go to the club three times a week. I would prefer to visit the club once a week, take photos and videos, post them and get paid.
I’m thankful that I don’t have to work until next Thursday. I’ll sleep as much as I can, do my virtual assistant side hustle and mentally prepare myself for next weekend’s work.
Editor’s note: names of people and places have been removed to protect the identity of the subject.
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Hi, I’m Ama Udofa and I write the A Week in the Life series every Tuesday at 9 a.m. If you’d like to be featured on the series, or you know anyone interesting who fits the profile, fill out this form.