In Search of Ezekiel Akpu-nku, Nigerian Bought As Toy for a 13-year-Old
”Rich Man Buys 51-year-old Nigerian Man as Toy for His 13 year Old Son” is the news story making the round on the Internet. Here is it in summary: Wallace Turnquist told WSB-TV how he took his 13-year-old son, Skyler, on a hunting safari to Africa, and was fascinated by the African people. “How funny they were, how they were always smiling and so eager to please.”
Wallace is so rich that he can buy for Skyler whatever he wants, and Skyler wants an African man for a toy. He buys Ezekiel Akpu-nku, a Nigerian. Ezekiel is then given “a five-year employment contract that pays $1,000 per year plus room/board, one day off per month and unlimited snacks.”
This is Akpu-nku’s job description: “This one time I made him stand on one foot for the entire day,” Skyler Turnquist said. “I also made him eat a spider. He does whatever I say. He’s the best toy ever.”
And Akpu-nku has no qualms going about his job of being Skyler’s toy. He says he is very happy with it since in “Africa I was starving, here, in the land of opportunity, my belly never go hungry.”
I read the story first on Okmzansi, an online media in South Africa. As a Nigerian I was outraged. Any story that projects a fellow Nigerian in the most horrifying form of denigration will obviously be nuaseating. I decided to dig in, to go in search of Ezekiel Akpu-nku.
The world-famous servant-toy is definitely a Nigerian; his last name gives him away as Ibo. Still there is something about the name that does not ring true. For someone who speaks Ibo fluently and understands the nuances of the language, there is something about the name that gives it away as a coinage for a slapstick humour. Akpu-nku (literal meaning “strong (fire)wood”), Akpu-nwa (“strong child/person”), Baba-Uwa (“man of the world”) are Ibo names reserved for characters in humorous tales, Ibo nick-names contrived strictly for laughs and entertainment.
In spite of my initial doubts, there is a photo that appears to convince me. Two photos actually. One is that of Ezekiel Akpu-nku, a blackman and looking every inch a Nigerian. The other photo is a young white boy. It seems then that Mr Akpu-nku is real. That there is indeed a 51-year-old Nigerian earning a cool 1,000 American dollars a year, working as a fanciful toy for an over-indulged 13-year-old American.
I needed to locate this Ezekiel Akpu-nku or any of his relatives. There is a photo, a face to match the name and there is only one place to begin my search: the Internet. The world has been brought within reach just by the tip of the finger.
First, a thorough search on WSB-TV’s website found no result. I then go on Google to get as much information about Ezekiel as I can find. Nothing new turns up. Same story being recycled in Nigerian blogs and social media… Nairaland, Gistpartner…it is very surprising had escaped Linda Ikeji. Nothing also on Bella Naija. I’m particularly more disappointed that the story of Mr Akpu-nku had also escaped the journalistic eye of serious mainstream media. It did not make the headlines in CNN, The Mirror, The Guardian and The New York Times.
And this is why. The news originated from Stuppid.com. It is a website, writes International Business Times, “notorious for its hoaxes and satirical news stories”. This stupid news from Stuppid.com was apparently contrived out of a popular 1980s movie, The Toy, played by Richard Pryor. And it is built around the stereotype of Africa being a poverty-stricken continent and America being an Eldorado where riches and all good things abound.
These are the kind of stupid and hilarious news stories you will find in Stuppid.com: Naturopathic doctor Benji Robbins claiming that eating three wild snakes per week stops hair loss and even leads to permanent hair growth; Dead Mother of a Texas Woman Reincarnated as a balloon; a 49-year-old Alaska man who attempted to have sexual intercourse with an ATM machine; a dead woman Gives Birth birth to a 5-pound 2-ounce baby In a Coffin – 23 hours after she died.. In Stuppid.com you find stupid stuffs told to idiots in such a believable manner. And if you are wise enough, these stories will make you laugh so loud until your stomach aches.
This is not the first time Nigeria will be the butt of Stuppid’s jokes. First Humanzee (Chimpanzee/Human Hybrid) Born In Nigeria centres on Adisa, the first chimpanzee/human hybrid created by a group of Nigerian geneticists, biologists and medical doctors.
“We know we will take much ethical criticism for the creation of Adisa, but this is a huge step forward for science,” Dr. Okar, who led the research, said. “She is a sweet girl and we’re curious to know the division of human and chimpanzee traits. Will she be able to talk?” The message is that Nigerians and indeed the black race are “hybridized animals,” half human, half chimpanzee – humanzee!
Another bizarre news about Nigeria is a purported Nigerian Daily Times News report, which claimed an Adult Humanzee (Human/Chimpanzee) Found Living In Nigeria. 26-year-old humanzee named Azi is said to be living in Lagos, Nigeria.
Azi even gave a press statement: “My father was human, my mother chimpanzee. My mother was killed for meat and my father killed by a falling tree. I was born in a fertility clinic under the supervision of a medical doctor conducting breeding experiments. Unfortunately, I was born HIV-positive and need medical help as I’m very sick. My stomach hurts very badly, I have loose stool. I would like to come out of hiding to get a doctor.”
The stories of Adisa and Azi run parallel to that of Akpu-nku in that they are all laced with Stuppid’s racist overtones. There is no humanzee in Nigeria called Adisa, nor Azi nor is there an Akpu-nku eking out a living as a toy for a 13-year-old American. These characters are figments of the imagination of twats and hacks in Stuppid!
- Dr Anny-Nzekwue is the publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Xclusive Magazine. Follow him on twitter: @iPanzek