1. South Africa
Patrick Awuah left Ghana as a teenager to attend Swarthmore College in the United States, then stayed on to build a career at Microsoft in Seattle. In returning to his home country, he has made a commitment to educating young people in critical thinking and ethical service, values he believes are crucial for the nation-building that lies ahead. Patrick Awuah makes the case that a liberal arts education is critical to forming true leaders.
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Of recent I have become more naijacentric in my thinking. Someone asked me if I am not engaged in ‘stinking thinking’ as (I hate to admit) characterized by some Nigerians. I boldly refuse! I am tired of wringing in the apron strings of a deep subservience to a mental imperialism that still obtains even in my generation, to the effect that we cannot even be uniquely identified by certain words assorbed into international conversations.
The French have so guarded their language jealously and imputed some words in even the English conversations. A word like ‘precis’ is a French word that is tolerable in even English writings. The Spanish word ‘Loco’ has also been accepted into usage. Several other languages including Japanese and Chinese have some words borrowed into accepted use as a universal word. I ask myself, what is Africa‘s own contribution to global conversation? There are some local words uniquely created by Nigerians. I try to ensure I use them when conversing even with non-Nigerians so as to impress on others that we have some colour to our palaver.
This note is an attempt to cheer within us certain words that we use in Nigeria, which have gained common understanding across different cultures in the country. I reckon that if we learn to celebrate our own, with time, considerng the vast influence Nigerians have globally, our locally invented lexis will be globally appreciated. This list is by no means exhaustive, but just to outline as much as I can remember and I expect you to also contribute those words which you know. So let’s begin……. I hope you find this interesting. Please do make corrections where you think I went off point. Ha ha ha.
1. Naija: a local variation for Nigeria
2. Obodo: an local word for village which has become widely used such as Obodo Oyinbo.
3. Oyinbo: A youruba word for Caucasians
4. Kpafuka: to spoil something. I heard a friend of mine coin another word from this – ‘Kpafucate’, used when a person dies. Eg. The old man don kpafucate.
5. Owambe: used to refer to partying.
6. Wahala: used to refer to much troubles.
7. Tufiakwa: used to exclaim a spitting action. Can also mean ‘God forbid’.
8. Isho: a sort of subtle deception.
9. Chilax: a concactenation of ‘Chill’ and ‘Relax’.
10. Bam: used to refer to something in a good state.
11. Kampe: similar to the word above, but usually used when referring to a persons’ wellbeing
12. Gbosa!: an exclamation of some action such as Hurray!
13. Egunje: a bribe.
14. Fisi or Jara: an extra portion added to a purchase.
15. Efizzy: used to refer to some form of special effects.
16. Jand: a local word for England.
17. Konk: used to refer to the hardness of a thing. Also used to refer to a hard knock on the head.
16. Chook: to pierce with a sharp object.
18. Jam: to meet someone.
19. Nack. A local word for knock. Also has a very obscene usage( don’t ask me).
20. Shakara or Yanga: meaning to pose or make a showoff.
21. Lepa: a very slim person. Another word could be ‘Lenge’.
22. Orobo: a fat person. Some even say ‘Orobolicious’.
23. Gorimakpa: a well shaven head, without any hair left.
24. Mess: to release fowl air from the outlet behnd a person.
25. Bomful: a local word for Buffoon.
26. Ogo: the projection back head.
27. Akpola: a heavy shoe with a massive sole.
28. Sisi: a young woman very current in fashion.
29. Timedify: a word widely used among the Efiks referring to scattering something.
30. 404: used in reference to Dog meat.
31. Wack: to eat. ‘Wackis’ also means food.
32. Kabu Kabu: means a Taxi.
33. Danfo: a commercial mini bus.
34. Okada: a commercial motorcycle.
35. Akanawan Baby: An Efik word for an old woman still trying to be sexy.
36. Aje-Butter: a spoilt child or one raised in affluence.
37. Aje-Kpako: one raised in hard circumstances.
38. How far: What’s up.
39. Kolomental: an insane person.
40. Magomago: a form of cheating.
41. Expo: any form of leakage or aid for exam malpractice.
42. Fashi or Bone: to forget about somethng, or treat as insignificant.
43. Orijo: a local term for original.
44. Sawdust: a secondary school term for Garri. Some call it Garrium-Sulphide.
45. Tie-fling: a word used for a wrap of shit in a nylon bag in the absence of toilet facilities. Usually in some remote secondary school.
46. Jabo: to abandon a person.
47. Badoski: a person really skilled at his profession; good or bad.
48. Paddy or Pally: a pal or close friend or associate.
49. Pepper: used in reference to money.
50. Shaks: referring to hard drinks.
51. Lailai: never.
52. yarn: to talk aimlessly.
53. Okpas: a nonsensical talk.
Oya, make una write una own…me I don tire before I yarn okpas… ha ha ha!