The sleeping town of Mojiang, South-West China’s Yunnan Province recently experienced unprecedented display of Nigeria’s cultural attire when Nigerian Twin Brothers, Oguntoye Taiwo and Kehinde, the only twins representing Africa continent joined other twins from Scotland, India, Russia, United States of America, Nepal among a host of other countries at the annual Mojiang International Twins Festival which is the largest gathering of twins in Asia.
Mojiang is the home to the Hani minority, an autonomous county of Pu’er occupying a pleasant position among subtropical mountains somewhat near the Vietnamese boarder is known for producing agricultural products such as tea, rubber and walnuts because of its year round warm weather. Mojiang is not a well known tourism hotspot because of the local architecture or traditional dances, except for its twinning phenomenon, the region’s exceptionally high percentage of twin births although far lowers than what is obtainable in Igbo-Ora, Oyo State, Nigeria. The yearly twins festival is certainly a time for fun and cultural celebration, but it is also a much welcome second source of income for the community. Twins birth in China is a legal loophole to over three decades of the country’s one-child policy. The significant of twins in china is much more than simple curiousity, it is a social status elevator for parents because special attention is given to parents with twins.
At the beginning of every month of May, during China’s three-day Labour Day holiday, Mojiang play host to thousands of twins from China and abroad that gathered to celebrate the twins festival. The presence of Oguntoye Taiwo and Kehinde at this year event gave a new look and glamour to the festival as the cultural display of Africa attire on stage as well as all featured activities was magnificent. The duo who are the world initiators of twins-tourism and the first twins in Africa to jointly co-host Tourism programme on radio, were adored by all at the festival which started with the Hani National traditional show and bonfire welcome party at the Sun Square.
The visit to the Twins Well is another significant attraction of the festival. Unlike Igbo-ora land in Nigeria where the high rate of twinning is attributed to a yam species (ikokoro agida) and Ilasa (okro leaf soup), Mojiang twins birth rate is attributed to drinking from twins well. This Twins Well is fully developed and had turned to a Mecca for scores of tourists who pay some amount to gain entrance and drink from the well and as such increases one’s chances of giving birth to twins in the future. Also, among other activities witnessed by all twins was the Hani Long Gourmet tasting otherwise called long table dinner at the Custom Walking Street. This was a chain of more than 1,000 set of long tables, which spans for about 1.3km in total length arranged end to end for a communal feast full of different varieties of assorted local foods and drinks for twins to dine with local families in good friendship. Visiting twins were expected to eat from all the foods and drinks provided on the table among traditional drumming, singing and dancing.
The climax of the festival which had earlier featured a black face wiping reveltry was on the final day when Nigerian twins as well as other twins from the world boarded festooned vehicles in a parade ride around the streets of Mojiang filled with crowds bringing vehicular traffic to a standstill. The parade led to climbing up of the small mountain after a group photograph to visit the shade of Tropic of Cancer Park, which commands nice views of the town. The event was concluded with a televised talent competition which featured an international cast identical siblings competing in front of a huge audience.
Hotel managers, Taxi drivers, and restaurant owners alike say the weekend was a boon for business as they smiles to bank their exploits in terms of sales which was about ten times their usual. According to one of the organizers, Mr Wang Dongping who adjudged the festival as the best ever event said “More than 1,000 pairs of twin attended 2016 event and were joined by an estimated 190,000 tourists eager to catch a glimpse of at least a few twins, triplets and quadruplets in addition to the attractive display of Hani ethnic minority traditions in Mojiang while the twins and massive crowds come and go for just a few short days, the town typically rakes in unprecedented benefits. This year we think total tourist revenue for Mojiang will surpass 30 million RMB (US$ 4.63million)” he concluded.
Oguntoye Taiwo and Kehinde said repeated in their various interview with the media “We are currently working on the World Twins Wonders as well as the World Twins Festival, a world largest gathering of twins with a Guinness Book of Records category among other projects. We are of the immersed opinion that Nigeria can derive a huge tourism benefits from our unique brand called Twins Tourism tailored at showcasing the multi-functional promotion of international twinning cultural heritage endowed on Nigeria”.