As my pseudonym reveals, all things Calabar excites me. I literally go digging historical documentation to find something about my beloved city. Being a city that has a visible coloration of colonial foray, I literally drool over stories of the days when Efik men paraded themselves as the official mediators between the White man and black man.
I first came across this letter on an amazing group on Facebook called Nigeria Nostalgia. As hilarious as it seems, it opened a window into the years when the English language was separating the men from the boys in our colonial society. I recently came across it again while reading through other letters on the website called Letter of Note, and thought I should share the actual letter and also repost the transcript for those who might not be able to read the actual letter.
The letter was written in 1929 by a guy called Asuquo Okon Inyang to a government official in protest of his dismissal from work for laziness. His choice of words are quite hilarious, and I wonder if these words were actually permissible at the time.
So here we go:
February 2nd 1929.
On opening this epistle you will behold the work of a dejobbed person, and a very bewifed and much childrenised gentleman.
Who was violently dejobbed in a twinkling by your goodself. For Heavens sake Sir consider this catastrophe as falling on your own head, and remind yourself as walking home at the moon’s end of five savage wives and sixteen voracious children with your pocket filled with non-existent £ S D; not a solitudery sixpence; pity my horrible state when being dejobbed and proceeding with a heart and intestines filled with misery to this den of doom; myself did greedily contemplate culpable homicide, but Him who did protect Daniel (poet) safely through the lion’s dens will protect his servant in his home of evil.
As to reason given by yourself — goodself — esquire for my dejobbment the incrimination was laziness.
No Sir. It were impossible that myself who has pitched sixteen infant children into this valley of tears, can have a lazy atom in his mortal frame, and the sudden departure of eleven pounds monthly has left me on the verge of the abyss of destitution and despair. I hope this vision of horror will enrich your dreams this night, and good Angel will meet and pulverise your heart of nether milestone so that you will awaken, and with as much alacrity as may be compatable with your personal safety, you will hasten to rejobulate your servant.
So mote it be – Amen
Sgd. Asuquo Okon Inyang.