One of our correspondents from Nigeria sent us the following comment about our use of the word “palaver”:
The term “palaver” has evolved from the Portuguese and Spanish word "palabra" meaning roundhouse discussion and dialogue. In Nigeria however and in many other English speaking countries of Africa, “palaver" now has more to do with trouble, crisis and disturbances than with dialogue. That sense of the terminology has been strengthened in the past by a very popular song of a high class, iconic Nigerian singer FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI. The song, which many years ago he entitled precisely "palaver", packed so much power, describing what happens when a rat goes to bite the tail of a sleeping cat and other similar analogies. Certainly the outcome of such an encounter is not the dialogue that you intend by the word "palaver".
Kindly take this comment into consideration when reading the texts in this dialogue and know that we are using the word “palaver” to refer to the African consensus-building tradition.