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Nigeria’s Premier Photographer, Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, Poses With His Volkswagen Beetle (Throwback Photos)



Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge was one of Nigeria’s premier photographers. He was also the first official photographer of the Palace of the Oba of Benin Kingdom.

Alonge was born in Benin City in 1911. His photography work spanned half a century and recorded the reigns of Oba Akenzua II (1933–1978) and Oba Erediauwa.

Alonge’s photography preserves an important historical record of Benin arts and culture during the periods of British colonial rule and the transition to Nigerian independence during the 1950s and 1960s.

Until his death in 1994, the illustrious photographer operated a famous photo studio in Benin City called Ideal Photo Studio.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, in the United State, have archives of some of his photographs.

Below is the photo of Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge posing with his Volkswagen Beetle in front of his studio in 1960.

Volkswagen Beetle

The iconic Volkswagen Beetle goes by several nicknames. In Nigeria, it was fondly referred to as “Tortoise Car”, or “Ijapa” (Tortoise).

Adolf Hitler played a role in the birth of this two-door, rear-engine economy car. He wanted a “people’s car” that German families could afford.

The production of the VW Beetle spanned from 1938-2018.  A total of 21,529,464 were already built as of 2003. This made it the longest produced vehicle in history!.

German automaker Volkswagen (VW) was the manufacturer and marketer of the Beetle.


Below are some popular events captured by Chief Solomon Alonge.

Visit of the Earl of Plymouth (right) to the Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II, Benin City, Nigeria. Oba Akenzua II holds the coral regalia of Oba Ovonramwen, Oba Ovonramwen, which the British took in the Benin Punative Raid 1897 and returned in the late 1930s. Sir John Macpherson, Governor-General of Nigeria, stands on the left, (1935). Glass plate (Chief S. O. Alonge Collection, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives)  1 January 1935. Photo Credit: Solomon Osagie Alonge

Oba Akenzua II meeting the Queen of England in 1956, while Chief Obafemi Awolowo looks on. Photo Credit: Solomon Osagie Alonge.


Oba of Benin, Oba Akenzua II, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, in the ancient city of Benin in 1956. Photo Credit: Solomon Osagie Alonge


Solomon Osagie Alonge is an authoritative car blog in Nigeria. Its objective is to get Nigerians and a wider audience to be more informed about automobiles, the automotive sector and transport infrastructure. Over the years, we have been instrumental in creating immeasurable public awareness about automobiles and their maintenance, safety and traffic laws, amongst others. ...Your mobility, our priority. NK

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