May 1, 2007
@ 06:02 PM

Yesterday I got a reminder that I've been gone from Nigeria a bit too long. I posted the following photograph and caption to my Nigeria 2007 Trip Photo Set on Flickr

One of the servants sitting down on the bed of his one room apartment.
You can see the entire apartment in this shot.

This photo and caption caused a bunch of outrage on certain Nigerian blogs leading to posts like A Presidential Servant and OBJ's Cribs as well as an angry comment on Flickr condemning me for calling the person in the picture "a servant". The person in the picture is a member of the domestic staff in my father's private home (not the presidential villa which is owned and staffed by the Nigerian government) who's responsible for serving guests, cooking and cleaning. The common term for this kind of job in Nigeria is houseboy. However since this term has been taken over by the gay community to mean something totally different (don't go to I went for a non-ambiguous term that most of my readers would understand. From the definition for servant 

ser·vant (sûr'vənt) pronunciation
  1. One who is privately employed to perform domestic services.
  2. One who is publicly employed to perform services, as for a government.
  3. One who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another: your obedient servant.

[Middle English, from Old French, from present participle of servir, to serve. See serve.]

What I forgot is that calling someone a "servant" is a derogatory term in Nigeria. I remember hearing the phrase I'm not your servant more times than I can count when growing up. So I've edited the caption and replaced "servant" with "member of my dad's domestic staff". I hope my Nigerian readers appreciate this change.

It's weird to experience culture clash when you're clashing with the culture you were raised in.