Candido Da Rocha, First Nigerian Millionaire Who Sends His Dirty Clothes To London For Laundry

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

Da Rocha, a native of Ilesha, was born to the family of Joao Esan Da Rocha, a former slave; his father was 10 years old when he was captured as a slave in about 1840 and Candido was born in the Bahia region of Brazil.

The popular Da Rochas mansion at the Island called the (Water House)

Candido attended CMS Grammar School, Lagos where he was peers with Isaac Oluwole and Herbert Macaulay.
Candido is the brother of Moses Da Rocha, one of the earliest Western-trained Nigerian doctors. He lived in Water House on Kakawa Street, Lagos, a house built by his father. The home was commemorated in literature by a novel, The Water House, written by Antonio Olinto.

Water House, different view

The house had a borehole and the first water fountain in Lagos Island; water was sold from his house to consumers. Some of his business interests included a restaurant called The Restaurant Da Rocha and Sierra Leone Deep Sea Fishing Industries Ltd.

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.

He collaborated with Lagos businessmen J. H. Doherty and Sedu Williams on a money lending business established under the name of the Lagos Native Bank.

He was a founding member of the Lagos auxiliary to the Anti Slavery and Aborigines Right Society which was headed by James Johnson and had Samuel Pearse and Sapara Williams as members.

Candido was so rich that he was said to be sending his dirty clothes to Britain for laundry.
Da Rocha died in 1959 and is buried at Ikoyi Cemetery. Among his children were Alexander Da Rocha, Adenike Afodu, Angelica Folashade Thomas and Louissa Turton.

Source: Nigeria Stories

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