Wrote an essay for Jalada, a writers’ collective I’m part of, in the bonus edition of The Language Issue. This piece has been rolling around my head for a few years now.
That phrase made me fall in love with pidgin right there in the backseat of a taxi in sweltering Lagos as I listened to an exchange between the cabbie and a mallam, a security guard.
I’d heard it before but it wasn’t until then that I realized the power in reassigning meaning. It called to mind radical feminist and writer, Audre Lorde’s belief that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Here was a challenge. Here was, in fact, a clever subversion of the Queen’s English.
Nigeria, like many other West African nations, managed to mutate what would become a bitter and crucial component of colonial rule to create a veritable new language. Remoulding the language until it rolled off their tongues to their taste.
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Ever since Just A Band released Hey! 7 years ago, I’ve felt a strong kinship with these guys. I loved them (and Hey!) so much I once designed for Boflo (the puppet in Hey!) a cousin called Shokolokobangoshe, a foul-mouthed diva. I’ve written about them a few times in my journalism career with the latest […]
I’ve always enjoyed solving problems and festivals flare up with so many little editorial and production fires that for some reason I really like putting out. I’ve been worked in and around literary festivals for the last eight years. With Storymoja alone I’ve happily bobbed around as a volunteer handing out programmes, worked as a […]
I’ve admired the political blog, Brainstorm ever since it was launched in 2013 by Kenyan writers and feminists Brenda Wambui and Michael Onsando. With the tagline, “Intelligent. Kenyan.” the site was launched to address the need for critical thought on the Kenyan experience. The goal was to “look at Kenya from the inside” and they […]
Dear Dr. Nyairo, Thank you for expressing your honest thoughts here about the state of Kenyan fiction but I take issue with several points in your article. The biggest one being that you would publish a piece titled, “An elegy on the death of Kenyan fiction” when Yvonne Adhiambo Owour’s searing debut novel, Dust was […]