Salone ‘Suffer-Posh’


One thing very interesting about any language is how over time it takes onboard new words, phrases and colloquial expressions depicting changing reality.

The latest compound word that has entered into the Salone vocabulary is ‘suffer-posh.’ The phrase which started gaining currency during some part of last year has its origin amongst the young women folk from observing the attitude, behavior and lifestyle of their fellow females who pretend to a good life when in actual fact live from hand to mouth.

‘Suffer posh’–note the amusing juxtaposition of suffer and posh–which clearly depicts the meaning of this new phrase in the Salone dictum. You know people close to you or in your neighborhood who are very fond of pretending to live very good lives. However, when you take a closer look; you find out that underneath that posh lifestyle, they subsist on ‘gari’ and sugar or ‘gari’ and palm oil. At best, they can only afford ‘wan pot.’ The irony is that you will see them parading the streets, holding very expensive mobile phones – some costing more than US$1, 000 but ask them for Le10,000 they do not have it nor have they airtime in them. Suffer-posh!

This delusion of grandeur is very common these days among female folks who come from the lower classes that want to, at all cost, show to others that they come from rich sophisticated backgrounds. You will see them dressed to kill going into expensive boutiques to ask for dresses that cost anything above Le500, 000 without buying. When you check, you will most likely find out that the expensive dress the pretender is wearing is borrowed from a friend.

‘Suffer-poshers’ are mostly found in the cities where the competition to be on top of the social ladder is very aggressive amongst both men and women. They fall into many classified categories. You have ‘suffer-poshers’ who suffer themselves by renting houses that they know they cannot afford and spend the entire year stressing and over-working themselves to pay the rent just to keep up with the Joneses next door. This class of suffer-posher; to impress others, enroll their children in very expensive private schools which fees they can hardly afford and pay the price in starving their homes out of much needed essential necessities. Suffer posh!

You have other suffer-poshers – mostly female – who go to high-class restaurants frequented by socialites, buy the cheapest item on the menu or a bottle of soft drink and sit down waiting for somebody they know has money to come in and offer them more food and drinks. Other suffer-poshers are those who cannot afford it but make very expensive elaborate marriages, ‘awujors’, ‘pull-nar-doe’, birthday parties and graduations for their children and are left to pay the debts months, even years after the event. To host these expensive showoff events, ‘suffer-poshers’ will harass family members and friends for contributions.

Among the young wannabe socialites, there are ‘suffer-poshers’ who to impress a girl would rent a jeep to visit her and to take her places. You will see them in the jeep for a few days or weeks and later you see them riding a taxi or ‘poda-poda-ing.’ When you ask them what happened, they will lie to you that the vehicle is in the garage for repairs or maintenance.

Social media is the front where ‘suffer-poshers’ love to pose most. You will see them, both male and female, taking and posting pictures standing by or sitting on very expensive vehicles or in very expensive houses and compounds as if they own them. But go and look at where most of them live. It is this same class of ‘suffer-poshers’ who will rent very expensive public venues for their birthdays and the next day return to eating ‘gari’ and palm oil. ‘Suffer-poshers!’

In the same way, many people have said that SLPP is a “suffer-posh” government. According to many people, whilst the government keeps saying that it will improve on the lives of the people, the actual fact is that things are getting harder and more difficult for the majority of the people. Since the government came to power in early April, the value of the Leone has plummeted from around Le7, 500 to over Le8, 000. This has had a very corrosive effect on the purchasing power of the average ordinary Salone man and women that lives on or below US$2 per day.

Against the wishes of the people, since this government came to power, the cost of a bag of rice has risen by almost Le50, 000. The same is true of the prices of provisions, medicines, and all other basic essential consumer goods. To add one more burden on the back of the already overburdened Sierra Leonean, last weekend the government approved an increase in the price of fuel from Le6, 000 to Le8, 000. This, the people fear is going to have a ripple effect on the prices of all other goods and services bought and sold in the country. More suffer posh for many.