The mention of magicians in Nigeria’s socio-cultural space readily reawakens memories of con artists and the criminal escapades of money doublers who swindle unsuspecting citizens and rob them of their hard-earned fortune.
But Babs Cardini, a Lagos based 19-year-old, is gradually edging towards the spotlight as he signals a move away from money-oriented sleight of hands that could see him join the ranks of late Moshood Peller, a Nigerian professor and renowned magician, in the showbusiness.
According to BBC, the most popular trick he is asked to perform is to turn objects into money.
From a quick change of outfits and growing an extra finger to making drawings come into reality, Babs talked about his career prospects and his 3-year-projection which he hopes would make him one of the greatest magicians in the world.
He said he had loved the thrill of magic as far back as when he was five but only started out officially at 16 by watching veterans renowned for their dexterity in the art and adding what he has learned to his vast collection of tricks.
“When I’m performing, many ask me if I’m using jazz, voodoo, any sort of trick, or sleight of hand. I’ve loved magic ever since I was five. But I officially started it when at 16. Everywhere I go to, I get wows. People have been contacting me, trying to be my friend and know me more,” he said.
“The way I am right now, I’m magic myself. I can just see a performance on television or anywhere and know how it was done. The, I just do it and add it to my list of tricks and stuff. Me and magic, we’re like 5 and 6. It’s kind of self-taught and gifted. At the same time, it’s more practice.”
“I go on YouTube to look at people who are greater at magic and see what they do. It’s not like I watch tutorials because, if you’re watching tutorials on YouTube, you don’t get to go far. I don’t like being optimistic but, in the next there years, I hope to see myself as one of the greatest magicians in the world.”
This Nigerian magician wants to be the best in the world.🧙🏾♂️
19-year-old, Babs Cardini wows audiences by performing tricks on the streets of Lagos. He showed us his most popular trick – turning objects into money. pic.twitter.com/9T2uDDMw7X
— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) September 16, 2019
While stating that he has received numerous calls from both people who seek friendship and others who look to get certain tasks accomplished, Babs lamented that majority of the request he gets from Nigerians is to turn objects to money.
“I’m just a normal teenager. But one thing that makes me exceptional is magic. People didn’t really know I was a magician. Those who knew were those I liked playing with. Like, when I want to buy something, I do a trick where I turn paper into money.
“And the Nigerian mentality, once they see you as a magician, all they ask you is ‘can you turn this to money?’ Most of their requests are about money,” he said.
Although Babs’ father had expressed doubts about him taking the art as profession, the young magician stated in another interview that he intends touring states in Nigeria and, thereafter, going international to showcase his skills on a much larger scale.
“I’m going to take this big because it’s very rare in Nigeria. They don’t really go out to perform because of the Nigerian mentality and the way people think you’re using voodoo. I’ll love to go to every state in Nigeria, making people know that I exist. From there, I’ll love to take it international,” he said.