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Story Titled 'Akpos and his Masters'

Background

Akpos, as a houseboy, usually sneaks into his Oga’s room and helps himself with whatever he can find. One day his Oga bought Pastis, a wine which changes

colour whenever water is added to it. Akpos was unaware of this, and when he sneaked

into the room again he drank some of the wine and added water to fill up the bottle.

Immediately, the wine changed colour and Akpos knew he was in deep trouble. Not

knowing what to do, Akpos ran into the kitchen.

Meanwhile his Oga and Madam were seated in the parlour.

When his Oga realised that his Pastis had been touched, he decided to question Akpos:

Oga: Akpos

Akpos: Oga

Oga: Who drank my pastis?

(No answer)

Oga: Akpos, Who drank my pastis?

(No answer. Oga went to the kitchen to look for Akpos and found him)

Oga: Are you insane or what? Why when I called, you replied me by saying

‘Oga’ but when I asked you a question you didn’t answer me.

Akpos: Oga, when you are in the kitchen you don’t understand anything except your name.

Oga: Is that so? Okay go to the parlour, stand beside Madam and ask me a question while I stand here.

(Akpos went and did what Oga said)

Akpos: Ogaaaa

Oga: Yes Akpos

Akpos: Who goes into the maid’s bedroom when madam is not at home?

(No answer)

Akpos: Ogaaaaaaa!!! You dey hear me, I say who dey sneak enter the house

girl room when madam no dey house. [Translation: Oga, you can hear me. I am asking

you, who sneaks into the house girl’s room when Madam is not at home.]

(No answer. Oga runs out of the kitchen)

Oga: Wonders shall never end. Akpos, it is true o, when one is in the kitchen, one does not hear anything except one’s name.

Madam: That’s not true. It’s a lie.

Akpos: Madam, do you want to be tested?

Madam: Yes

Akpos: Oya enter the kitchen [Trans: Ok, enter the kitchen]

(She enters the kitchen).

Akpos: Madam!

Madam: Yes Akpos

Akpos: Who is junior biological father? Me or Oga?

(Madam rushed out of the kitchen)

COMMENTARY:

An important aspect of the humour is the role played by Akpos, involving how he cunningly diverted the attention of his boss (Oga) from finding out who drank the wine, to “understanding nothing but only one’s name while in the kitchen”. Akpos’ trick is also targeted at his boss’ wife (Madam). The prank played by Akpos in the joke is to expose supposed secrets of his Oga and Madam (the couple’s infidelity to each other), when his Oga was attempting to uncover Akpos secret acts (stealing his master’s wine).

Another factor that contributes to humour in the joke is the surprises that come with the roles played by the characters in the joke and the propositions of Akpos, especially those that reveal the secrets of his master. The roles played by Akpos, Oga, and Madam bring up surprises by contradicting expectations, in that it is quite abnormal in the Nigerian context for a houseboy to dictate the decision of his master. In Nigeria, house servants are not allowed to call the shot in the homes where they serve. They are not meant to give suggestions to their bosses (Oga and Madam) and they cannot question the actions of their bosses. They are meant to be sseenand not heard. However, in the above story, we find Akpos suggesting that his Madam be "tested” and questioning both his Oga and Madam.

Who is wiser between Akpos and his masters?

Who Outsmarted who?

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Akpos Madam Oga Pastis

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