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Journal article

E.H. Duckworth's Clean-Up Lagos Campaigns: The Political use of Ex-Centric Colonial Discourse on African Dirt


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Taylor and Francis
Africa | Western Africa

On April 3 1952, former colonial Inspector of Education, Edward Harland Duckworth (1894-1972) - founding editor of the cultural magazine Nigeria - announced the birth of a sanitation venture he christened "The Clean-Up Lagos Campaign" in a Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation radio programme. The initiative declared war on "squalor and filth" in Nigeria's colonial capital, Lagos. Duckworth urged Nigerian citizens to join his army of "volunteers" to wipe Lagos clean of literal dirt, and by extension, eliminate the moral stench exhaled by advertising bills plastered on buildings and monuments. The short-lived campaign was amply disseminated in the Nigerian press and (alongside its two encore performances of 1960 and 1967) featured in confidential Commonwealth Office papers of enormous political import at the height of the Nigerian Civil War. However, it was not Duckworth's first intrusion into Lagos' sanitary arena. This article examines Duckworth's ex-centric discourse on dirt as a...


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