My poetry featured in Naija Langwej antoloji

Three of my pidgin/brokin English poems have been featured in a new anthology titled ‘IF YU HIE SE A DE PRIZIN’’ (Antoloji of puem-dem fo Naija) edited by Edwin Eriata Oribhabor

This anthology contains 93 poems and themes of the poems span all fields of human endeavour; love, politics, the environment, corruption and the Niger Delta discourse amongst others. Apart from the entertainment and didactic values of the poems, they are also of pedagogical importance since they teach the over 100 million speakers of Naija how to write and read the language.
The anthology of poems in Naija langwej; the first of its kind in Nigeria is a contribution to the pioneering efforts of members of Naija Langwej Akedemi (NLA) towards popularising the standardisation of Naija langwej in Nigeria.

Unfortunately the anthology is only available in Nigeria at time being.

Below are my contributions.
(Give it a try even if you don’t speak pidgin, and let me know if you were able to understand them?)

“Ghost” Man

Anoda pesin “ghost” don enta mai bodi
A no nou im nem
Bot a nou se na man
Fo di we a fil di “burn” fo front of mai leg fo nait
I bi laik se…
Fo monin we a wek si lait shain fo windo
Bifo a go rich mai wok fo oga kompaund

Luk mai fes insaid lukin glas
Mai “hair” we plet laik snel
Mai “teeth” we de shain wit fain gap fo senta

Mai bobi we im flesh soft laik bred
Mai yansh we raund an kom braun laik kokonot
An a fo sho, dat di pesin fo mai front na wuman
Na fo niat
Wen di onli tin a fit si bi di insaid of mai ai
Di won we vex pas di “moon”
Di red we ‘’sting’’ pas moskito
Na fo nait
A nou se na man “ghost” we don enta ma bodi
A wan nou im nem
Fo wen i tel mi mek a tek smol gon
Mek a go fo insaid kompaund
Mek a put pilo fo mai oga fes
Mek a pul smol gon
Mek a finish am
Mek a tek im moni
A wan tel dem se no bi mi
Na dis pesin
We enta mai bodi
Na im, we go kil gud man.

Yes Sa!

Yu bi big man
Oga man

A bi big biznes intanashonal hostlaman

Yu no respet wuman man
Shebi wuman komot fo yo big man bodi

No bi se yu no laik wuman dem
God sef sabi dis won
Yu laik dem wel wel

Bot yu de wonda hau big man

Fit de empti an notin notin
An a ask yu
Weda yu “reap as you sow”
An yu se no

So mi tu riplai
Yes sa!


A jos de tink hau i go bi
if a de get som moni fo mai puem buk
we a de polblish, bot pipul we de poblish
buk de tel mi se, pipul de onli laik puem we
dem rait wit konk Langwej an fo mai maind,
i go beta mek pipul we laik konk Langwej,
mek dem go rid di baibul oo di Koran
an a de tel dem se mek dem geraut
bikos onli mi go poblish dis buk bai maisef
if fo England pipul de laik buk we bi laik se
na God rait am, a jos de se, mi no bi God
so wai dem no go de rid laik se dem bi human bin
bot a go jos de wonda fo laif, a go de ask maisef se
wai a go de west ol mai taim de rait ol dis puem dem
wen i no go ivun fit mek mi get moni we a go tek
pe fo mai rent, mai fud an to bai klot, an ol dis puem dem
de mek mi no de fit wek op kwik fo monin wit laf fo mai
fes, an de hapi wit mai family pipul
so, a de pre to God we sabi rait koret koret puem dem
wai a no go wek op tumoro an kom de laik to stop
to de rait puem bikos, di tin no go mek mi rich
so, a de pre to God to helep mi stop to de rait puem.
an wen a wek op fo monin, an wen God kom ansa
mai preya, a kom de krai
a no nou wetin a go du.

© Minna Salami


  • Anna Renee

    Minna, I don’t understand Naija language completely, but I’ve heard it spoken. I wonder if it’s slightly different as its spoken here in America, than in Germany or even Nigeria? Different nuances?

    Then the second thing. I see huge similarities to Naija language and Jamaican patwa or “patois” language! I did a post a couple months ago
    THEN I did another post on black “substandard” english

    The post on Jamaican version of the Bible is so pioneering. They are doing the same type of work, to legitamize their Jamaican language by translation of the New Testament.
    Then the other post is the work of Dr. Lisa Green, She’s Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Director of the Center for the Study of African American Language. The work to legitimize our black language seems to be occuring everywhere across the globe!!! FANTASTIC!

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks for sharing the links, you always find those great clips! There are many similarities with patois, which makes the theory you speak of truly probable. The import of certain words like pickney/pikin, dem, dey…although we modify them differently they must share a cultural currency right!

      I have heard nuances amongst Nigerians depending on their region but not noticed whether it keeps developing outside the continent, would be interesting to ask friends actually…

      I think the patois Bible is great, and that we ourselves reject it is too sad (if I may include myself briefly through a shared African heritage:) ) !

  • Anna Renee

    THEN, my dear, I’m so proud of you that you have your own poetry in that anthology!! That’s major! Congratulations on that Ms Afropolitan. You put the Afro and the Politan in Afropolitan!

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks sis! Your encouragement means a lot. I’m very proud to be part of such a pioneering and important effort, love that it is unapologetically its own langwej

  • akau kuol

    I like this anthology