If you have the privilege to go to Warri, the former “oil city” in Delta State coastal Southern Nigeria and ask about the organisation that calls itself “Escravos” it will not take too long for you to find out who they are and where they assemble constantly. In fact, you will be told a lot of stories unless you happen by sheer serendipity to meet a member who would either not tell anything or who will inform you of the astronomical greatness of the group including its “proud” anti-colonial, pro-democracy and freedom fighting exploits.
Escravos in Portuguese means “slaves” (a plural word). The name is confusing though. Would an elite intellectual group call itself “idiots” or a collective of rich kids adopt the name “wretches” or an ensemble of the spiritually liberated assume the identity “demons”? Two things must have happened here; either those who chose the name did not know what “Escravos” really meant, they just liked the sound of it or they unwitting opted to be identified by a secret “reverse-meaning” name without realising society will one day know it and take it literally.
(Originally published on February 12, 2015)