Chief Zebrudaya as an Archetype of Molièresque Persona: A Satire of Nigerian Postcoloniality

Richard Oko Ajah


The Nigerian comedy series, “The New Masquerade” or “Masquerade”, remains “one of the Nigeria’s longest running and most watched television show as transmitted by Nigerian Television Authority in the 80s and 90s. The episodic representations, although full of caricatures and farcical qualities, express serious disillusionment, becoming an indictment of the postcolonial Nigeria. The sense and science of humor in The New Masquerade are informed by its postcolonial linguistic appropriation. The language of the soap is full of heterolinguistic permutations, modifications, transfigurations and total transgressions of conventional English structures, recreated and manipulated with local parlances and dialects as raw material for the service of the viewing masses. The character of Chief Zebrudaya is typically encapsulated in the persona of the classical French dramaturge/playwright, Molière. This study is comparative. It shows in what ways Nigerian Zebrudaya shares some artistic and socio-cultural features with the French Molière or his characters, despite their spatial, temporal and artistic differentiations. The paper also evaluates thematic and structural relationships of Zebrudaya and Molière. It goes further to demonstrate how the Nigerian comic character dismantles European language to enable him ‘write back’ to the Center. This paper strongly affirms that Zebrudayan English is not a sign of ‘destruction’ of Standard English as critics purport but a deconstruction that produces a postcolonial linguistic particularity that oscillates between Standard English, Nigerian Pidgin and Ibo dialect.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n9p599

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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