Igbo names and spellings for various settlements
Abakaliki is Abankaleke; Afikpo is Ehugbo; Awgu is Ogu; Awka is Oka; Bonny is Ubani; Enugu is Enugwu; Ibusa is Igbuzö; Igrita is Igwuruta; Oguta is Ugwuta; Onitsha is Onicha; Owerri is Owere; Oyigbo is Obigbo... any more will be added.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Chi nà Ekè

Interior of Chi shrine at Nkarahia, an Isiokpo Ikwere settlement. Photo: P. Amaury Talbot, early 1910s.

An interview of an Urata man about the High God:

“Chineke molded the world; then Eke divided the world. Eke came out of the hands of Chi, so they became the same. They are the same mother. It is like the creation of the world: the world is one. That is the way Eke came out of the hands of Chineke. But they are the same.
If it were only for the hands of Chineke no one would die a violent death. It is Eke who divided the world and after that people died in power [probably transliterated from ‘ọ́nwụ́ íké’, literally meaning "powerful death”, but metaphorically a painful suffering death]. Eke is the tricky one who portioned out these things. Chineke is straight and long, and he [no gendered pro-nouns in Igbo] made the lives of the people upright and good. Eke played this trick we are now inside.“ [in notes: (Parts of creation stories related by the cult priest of Afo at Umuoye Etche)] [Igbo group in southern Imo, northern Rivers states of Nigeria].


Chineke (or Chukwu) [in notes: (In many parts of Igboland, as in Owerri, the high god is also called Chukwu, an ellision of chi and ukwu ("great”), but in Owerri Chineke is the more common usage.)] is the creator, the high god. Though distant and not the object of images or direct sacrifices in Owerri, he is often addressed by name in prayer and does receive offerings indirectly. He knows what people are doing but does not himself intervene or punish. The etymology of his name suggests that he is both a deity and a concept, for “Chineke” is a contraction of chi, na (“and”), eke: chi apparently meaning “god” or “soul”, with eke approximating “creation” or “division”. Chi and eke are also personifications, as suggested by the quotations above and the words of another informant: “Chi and Eke represent male and female. Chineke—I don’t know if he is a man or a woman. He is up, up, up, and we don’t see him.”

– Herbert M. Cole. MBARI: Art and Life among the Owerri Igbo (1982). p. 54. Indiana University Press.

1 comment:

Courier NG said...

Hello, I am currently following your page on Twitter(@Chiamavano_) and I would like it if you help me with research in regards to the Igbo Culture - I am currently trying to write an extensive piece on the culture (I am Igbo as well). I was wondering if you could help me, especially in the Mythos (gods and deities) and Folklore (stories with lessons). I implore you to assist me, it will be heavily appreciated.

Keep up the good work, it is very important for if we don’t pass traditions down, they will disappear

Many Thanks