Monday, August 01, 2005


The use of English in Nigeria continues to perplex me. Like Joseph Conrad, there seems to be an underlying motivation to the language that distorts/obscures meaning. Sometimes this results in opacity, sometimes hilarity. Two recent examples:

The Ministry of Information launched on a 'rebrand Nigeria' campaign a while ago. I've learnt in the past 2 years in Nigeria that this is something that different groups of people do every few months or so. Unfortunately, the tagline they came up with was 'laundering the image of Nigeria.' Oh dear. They seem to have forgotten what most people associate the word launder with.

Even more hilarious was a PDP rally in Lagos a week ago (for those that dont know, most of Nigeria is run by the so-called 'People's Democratic Party') - the major exception being Lagos State. The name they gave to the rally? The 'PDP Tsunami'. Now why would a political party want to be associated with a force of nature that less than a year ago killed many thousands of people?


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