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.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Women and Ofo in Igbo Tradition

Photo: A titled woman wearing ivory leglets, bracelets, and locally woven cloth. Nsuka area. Photo: K.C. Murray, ca. 1940.
... Nearly all the afore-mentioned classes of Ofo are generally in all parts of Igbo land the preserve of men. Men only could handle such ritual objects without profaning them. Some of these Ofo symbols considered rather very sacred and powerful may not even be seen by women. Such is the Ofo-Ataka found in Nnewi, a special titular Ofo.
... But this is not the whole story. ...
Ritual experts who happen to be women, such as diviners, native doctors, etc. and the category of married women known as the Umu-Ada/Umu-okpu in the north-western sub-cultural zone, as well as married women from upwards of middle age in areas like Nsukka, Arondizuogu, etc. possess small-sized Ofo twigs which they use for few events, such as in meetings and settling of disputes among their ranks. Ordinarily, the small-sized Ofo which the groups of women keep is known as Ofo-Nkiti. Some keep theirs at their Chi shrine. Some carry their sticks about in their hand-bags.

– Christopher I. Ejizu (1986). “Ofo: Igbo Ritual Symbol.” pg. 52.

No comments: