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Somebody or nobody!

Pa Ikhide

In America, all men are believed to be created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. But Nigerians are brought up to believe that our society consists of higher and lesser beings. Some are born to own and enjoy, while others are born to toil and endure.

–        Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The Nigerian writer, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is at it again. Her February 9, 2013 op-ed piece in the New York Times (In Nigeria, You’re Either Somebody or Nobody) in which she referred to some Nigerian house helps as “smelly” and “feral” is living rent-free in my head. I wish it would just go away. Nwaubani’s piece, on the fate of “househelps” or “servants” in Nigeria, is a profound commentary on how the West continues to view much of Africa, with the active connivance of many African writers, who traipse the West, hawking tales of…

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Development and policy analyst with a strong interest in the arts and inclusive social change. Dabbles occasionally into poetry and literary criticism!

5 thoughts on “

      1. Susan, my sense too! We have had house girls. and we never looked down on them – indeed one of them progressed with our funding assistance to obtain a diploma in catering!


      2. Noel, I know you and your family would never treat anyone as less than human. I am so glad you were able to offer her that opportunity. The concept of help around the house is alien to me, but that does not mean all “help” are treated the same way everywhere–any more than we are all “equal” over here. I found her views shockingly simplistic and dare I say contorting themselves unnaturally to lick some western boots. Ugh.


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