Author: DR

Moustaches and Marking: An Academic in Africa

Saharan dust that turns the air a shade of orange and covers everything (including the inside of your lungs) in a thick layer of grit. And the sunsets are amazing. ...

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Childishness and Cockroaches: An Academic in Africa

Just as we were about to start, Andrew appeared on the other side of the fence, waxing wroth. Why had we broken into his field, who did we think we were, we had no permission to play there etc.,...

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Stereotypes and Swiss Interns: An Academic in Africa

You move to a country like Nigeria, and you instantly don’t want to conform to, or believe any of the stereotypes that your pinko-lefty-post-colonial-post-modern-feminist-queory-post-structuralist...

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Malaria! An Academic in Africa

I never did do the conference in the end.  I’ve spent most of the last week, including all of the weekend, feeling rough as hell.  Like having bad flu but without much in the way of a...

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Students and Strops. An Academic in Africa

'she was overtaken with flouncy teenage indignation'. DR meets the students. The students are turning out to be the usual mix of committed, disinterested, pleasant, arrogant and outright...

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‘Offensive’, ‘Repugnant’: An Academic in Africa

'the senators asked to vote on this bill must have been mystified', DR reports on the fight to make homosexuality in Nigeria even more illegal. I read an interesting story the other...

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Slimey Guys and Cuddling Homophobes: An Academic in Africa

'when she walked out she did so limping heavily and ostentatiously, when she’d walked in not limping at all'. Things get a bit 'domestic' in Nigeria. In other news, Julius has...

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An Academic in Africa: Red Lights and Runarounds

Last week I almost got arrested.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  It would be more accurate to say that I drove a policeman around for about half an hour asking him to arrest me...

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Prayers and Promises: An Academic in Africa

Our resident screamer has been upping the ante of late and I heard a live performance for the first time the other night.  George had just finished moving to the third bedroom (a saga in itself,...

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‘Someone who has seen the world, and doesn’t much like it’ : An Academic in Africa.

Trebuchet's Academic in Africa is amazed by the talents of Nigeria's ambulatory merchants and sedentary guardsmen. Plus nostalgic reflection on Wine Gums. There are a huge number of things...

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An Academic in Africa: Plagiarism

Second week of term, and we start to acclimatise ourselves to having all of these damn students around.  Although the first intake (ie. the 17 that have already done one term) have been pissing...

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Decapitation: An Academic in Africa

I’d like to share a story with you.  It comes from an online newspaper here. Suspected ritualists on Tuesday in Lagos beheaded an unidentified man and chopped off his manhood. Residents of...

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Wikithink: An Academic in Africa

The first week of term has arrived, and with it about 100 students.  Frankly, this is a bit of a shock to the system.  And not just mine, the whole delicate ecology of the university is...

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Cockroaches, Clubs and Clocks: An Academic in Africa

I have missed being here, and it is good to be back.  I think I have missed the life and the people rather than the place itself though.  The familiarity which has made it so easy to settle...

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Fight! An Academic in Africa

I did not really understand about how he owed N20,000 to some sort of workers’ co-op on campus. ...

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Riots and Rods of Iron: An Academic in Africa

It is both a curse and a blessing that we don’t know what other people think of us. I am much better than I used to be, but I know that I still spend much of my time in conversation with an...

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Driven to Distraction: An Academic in Africa

The rage has been building. For the last few days I have been incapable of driving here without the stupidity of it all getting to me.  This morning, for example, I was genuinely nearly...

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Monkey Kung Fu Fights – An Academic in Africa

“So who would win, a man who knew kung fu, or an adult male chimp?” “The chimp would kill you.” “Even if the man knew kung fu?” “It would not matter if he...

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Abdul’ll Fix It – An Academic in Africa

For the last six weeks I have lived in Nigeria as an illegal immigrant.  My visa (which I don’t think ever technically allowed me to work here anyway) expired on the 6th of June, and no...

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Servants, Scrapes and Situations – An Academic in Nigeria

Deprived of cultural stimuli we appreciate every cultural artefact in a much more intense way.  Saturated with cultural stimuli that intensity, in one sense, is diminished. That’s not to...

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Anglicanism, animism, atheism and assessments. In Nigeria

News of my atheism seems to have spread.  I’ve not exactly been evangelical about it – in fact I’ve barely mentioned it.  But when a colleague with whom I have never even...

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Features and Speeches of Nigeria

“The matriculation ceremony really isn’t about the students,” David said, and boy, was he right.   The whole thing took around 3 hours and of that their part took about two and...

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Fliers for Nigeria

Last Saturday I was supposed to hand out fliers for my university to students taking their JAMB tests.   This is the Nigerian equivalent of SATs, and you have to take it to get into college....

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Damned Mosquitoes, Damned Frailty

Ill again. After 2 and a half months I hadn’t been sick once, and now it’s twice in two weeks. This time I think it’s a mixture of something I ate and the fact that I got eaten...

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Matriculation and the Turning of the Soil

We are having a matriculation ceremony on Thursday, and suddenly the university is a hive of activity. I swear more has been done in the last week than in the previous two months.  Most if it is...

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The ‘13’ Rules of Left and Learning.

When strange rituals become rules, and rules become superstition.  I have a list in my head of things that make a good man.  The ability to play a good F chord, all frets barred, no muted...

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Slum

The university hostels back on to a slum.  This is in the “Life Camp” area of Abuja.  I have no idea why it’s called that, but apparently it’s where all the workers...

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Patrolling the Edges of Panic Town

An academic navigates the great and small encounters of Ex-Pat life in Nigeria. Yesterday, I loaned my car to Joy and Julius.  She said it was her birthday, and it seemed like a good idea at the...

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The Loneliness of a Long Distance Academy

The university is open, and the experience has been, somewhat predictably, a mixture of the shambolic, the absurd, the vaguely promising and the outright perplexing.  We have a programme for the...

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“The Problem With Nigeria…”

eith and I have decided that the problem with Nigeria is the finish. Or, as Peter would put it, the last ten percent.  Now, I (to borrow from Said) am temperamentally and philosophically opposed to...

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