6.7 C
Friday, February 21, 2020

The Story of Nigeria’s first millionaire, Candido Da Rocha

Chief Candido Joao Da Rocha ( 1860 – March 11, 1959) was a Nigerian businessman, landowner and creditor who owned Water House on Kakawa Street, Lagos IslandLagos, and was the proprietor of the now defunct Bonanza Hotel in Lagos. He held the chieftaincy title of the Lodifi of Ilesa.

Born in 1860 in Brazil, Candido Da Rocha was the son of Joao Esan Da Rocha— a returnee slave from Brazil.

At age 10, senior Da Rocha who was from the Yoruba sub-group Ilesha was captured and sold into slavery in Brazil in 1840. After gaining his freedom, Esan would return to Nigeria in 1871 when most of the freed slaves in Brazil traced their roots back to the Yoruba tribe Ilesha.

Esan began a business empire upon his return. It’s said he bought two houses in Lagos on his return – the well-known Water House and one other. According to ‘The Torch Bearers or Old Brazilian Colony’ , Esan was a wealthy merchant.

Candido Da Rocha, who was said to be born in Brazil spoke only Portuguese and Ilesha when they returned to Nigeria, and attended CMS Grammar School alongside some famous Nigerians including Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus Macaulay, who was a Nigerian nationalist, politician, surveyor, engineer, architect, journalist, and musician and is considered by many Nigerians as the founder of Nigerian nationalism.

READ ALSO:  She Empowers Young Girls to live their Dreams, Meet Lilipearl Baaba Otoo.

After the death of senior Da Rocha on December 31, 1891, Candido filed for the administration of his father’s estates. That was in 1893 at the age of 25. He expanded his father’s business after assuming control of it into a huge empire, according to reports.

Candido ventured into water business, serving the whole of Lagos in the 20s. The colonial administrators were said to be paying Da Rocha for the supply of water to Lagos state and that his house had the first borehole and also the first water fountain. 

[penci_related_posts dis_pview=”no” dis_pdate=”no” title=”Other Profiles” background=”” border=”” thumbright=”no” number=”4″ style=”list” align=”none” withids=”” displayby=”cat” orderby=”rand”]

Candido made loads of fortune from the water business. However, his first ‘real’ breakthrough came in 1894 when a British gold prospector sold him gold bars for the sum of £6,000. Not having money, he approached First Bank, then the Bank of West Africa for loan which he got to purchase the gold bars.

Nigeria’s First Millionaire, Candido Da Rocha Sent His Dirty Clothes To Britain For Laundry

According to reports, Candido filed the gold bars into gold dust and sold it to the goldsmiths, making a profit of 200%.

He teamed up with J.H. Doherty and Sedu Williams in 1907 to establish Lagos Native Bank. The bank was said to have given other big banks a healthy competition until Candido was duped. He, however, established the Lagos Finance Company which lent out money to people.

READ ALSO:  Changing lives through Skateboarding, Meet Jackson Mubiru from Uganda
READ ALSO:  Meet the 22-Year-Old Who Plans to Make African Women the Face of Finance & Technology

Speaking to Punch in 2017, Angelica Oyediran, granddaughter of Candido Da Rocha, said of her grandfather: “Candido Da Rocha was quite close to the British and the western world then. He was highly respected and highly disciplined. He didn’t like dishonesty and lying. I stayed with him in this house for about three years when my mother moved in here to look after him. I was very close to him. He loved me and I was very fond of him. I learned a lot from him. During the Second World War, Da Rocha offered one of his properties, Bonanza Hotel, to the British government to protect some Nigerian students at King’s College, who were initially in a boarding house at Race Course.

“The school was run there until the war was over. Among his close friends was Herbert Macaulay. Da Rocha refused to be a politician. When he was nominated to contest an election and people approached him requesting money to support his electioneering, he said, ‘If you want Da Rocha you vote for him, and if you want Da Rocha’s money don’t vote for me.’ Twice, when Macaulay was arrested by the British colonial government for speaking out against them, Da Rocha paid (a fine) on his behalf to prevent Macaulay from going to jail and warned that he would not come to his rescue the third time. Da Rocha was a staunch catholic. He respected God.

READ ALSO:  Meet Rebecca Delali Dadson, The Nurse making the Best Wigs in Ghana

“He was very rich – he was a millionaire in those days and very generous. The elite in those days sent their dirty clothes to Britain for laundry. The Da Rochas, Johnsons, Dohertys and the Olowus, were foremost wealthy people. They didn’t wash their clothes in Nigeria. They sent them abroad for laundry. Some of them had about five dozens shirts, five dozens vests, five dozens pants, and everything they could afford.”

Despite not officially marrying, Candido had three women who had children for him – a son called Alexander and four daughters.

He had a great dispute with Alexander in 1920 and never saw again till his death. Alexander moved to Ghana to be with his mother after the falling, explaining why there is a noticeable presence of the Da Rocha family today in Ghana.

READ ALSO:  Changing lives through Skateboarding, Meet Jackson Mubiru from Uganda

In 1959, the great Lagos businessman passed away and was buried at Ikoyi Cemetery.





Related articles

Leave a Reply

Latest article

2020 United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists from Developing Countries

Application Deadline: Friday, March 6, 2020 The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists was established as a not-for-profit organization more than 55 years ago by journalists...

British American Tobacco (BAT) Global Graduate Programme 2020 (Finance) for young Nigerian graduates

Application Deadline: Unspecified BAT Global Graduate Programme (Finance)enables you develop exceptional commercial skills, equipping you with a deep understanding of the dynamics of the market...

Apple issues revenue warning due to slowdown in China

General Lamine Cissé Women, Peace and Security Research Fellowship 2020 for young African women ($USD 3,000 Grant)

Application Deadline: March 15th 2020 April 19, 2020 will mark the first anniversary of the death of General Lamine Cissé, a renowned figure in West...

Anzisha Prize 2020 for Africa’s top young Entrepreneurs

Application Deadline:April 30, 2020 If you are a young African Entrepreneur trying to grow a small business or you’ve created something that makes your community...

Popular Posts

He Wanted to be A Musician or Doctor but He is now Ghana’s Best Blogger, Meet Ameyaw Kissi Debrah!

The world is going digital and those who master the digital way of doing things are surely ahead. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the...

He is championing the fight against Revenge Porn in Ghana. Meet the ‘Chief Blogger’, Barimah Amoaning Samuel.

Revenge porn is the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos of a person posted on the Internet, typically by a former sexual partner, without the consent of the subject and in order to cause them distress or embarrassment. It may refer to all sexually explicit videos and images of a person by former partner, old friend, hacker, blackmailer or whoever for whatever motive. One man has decided to stand in the gap and end the act and his name is Barimah Amoaning Samuel.

From A Broken Home to Being the Inspiration of Many in Nandom; Meet Jacob Kuutuome.

Jacob Kuutuome was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kuutuome Tang and Marciana respectively in Kumasi and spent all his early childhood development and education...

Meet Mojolaoluwa Olaifa, The Young Law Graduate Championing Peace in Nigeria.

Just like Mirabelle Morah and Feyisayo Adanlawo, Mojola is also a young Nigerian making waves in her small corner to make sure peace becomes a...

Meet the Award Winning Health Journalist Providing Free Hygiene Kits for Girls in Nigeria

When Yecenu saw school girls who couldn't afford sanitary towels, she decided to find a solution and that solution is the reason why Wundef.com considers her a game changer. Today we are looking at the motivation and works of a young game changer in Africa's most populous country, Nigeria. I believe her story will inspire you to do greater things for your community, country and Africa as a whole.