Tuesday 18 April 2017


The Ijaw Water Home is cultural tie to the Ijaw people of Nigeria's Niger Delta region. Due to the riverine and swampy nature of their environment in the south south states, they have over the years, established a perfect relationship with the rivers that surround them.

Because of their attachment to rivers, the Ijaw cultural, social, economic and religious lives are defined and influenced by water.According to some Ijaw elders, "water is friendlier to the Ijaw people," however, every Ijaw is expected to be a good swimmer so he or she can survive capsizing of boats when it happens.

Everything about the Ijaws is interrelated with water. "Unlike in the north where they dance like antelopes, the Ijaws dance like fishes. Their dance steps are like the movements of the fish and the wagging of their tails in the waters.

The Ijaw masquerades usually wear heads of the fishes. All festivals have their origins from water. Ways of life are influenced by the environment which is surrounded by water."

The lineage of the Ijaw people is traced to Benin in Edo State, where they migrated from and settled in Yenagoa, where they fish in the region's waters and engage in little farming. "The Ijaw culture and customs are water dominated. This is because God has blessed them with water. They are fishermen and also do a little farming.

Yearly festivals are also water related. One of such festivals is the Obunem festival. It is related to the beginning of floods. It is the time farmers are bringing their food stuffs from the creeks and when the waters are overflowing farmlands," he said. The yearly Obunem festival, is celebrated from the 26th of June to the first week of July. It is characterized by the paddling of the Ijaw ceremonial boat regattas accompanied with all night singing and dancing, with women dressed in colorful attires and presentation of gifts to community leaders and clan heads.

The bigger event is celebrated by all the communities at a designated community with overall paramount rulers. Boat regattas as part of Ijaw festivities, symbolizes "the early days when their forefathers used to go to war in the waters so as to conquer neighbouring communities and make them their slaves. There are two types of boat regattas: the ceremonial boat regatta and the war boat regatta.

The Ijaw war boat regattas are painted black to attack neighbouring villages. The attackers are also painted in black charcoal as a form of camouflage.

"Canons are put in the boats. A small traditional pot is usually tied to the rear- end of the war boat, which dangles from one point to the other. As the boat passes by a community, the warriors challenge member of that community to dare them by cutting the rope that holds the dangling pot at the rear of the boat. Somebody from the community swims across to cut the rope signifying the beginning of the war. If you don't want war, they simply allow the boat to pass to the next communities,".

The ceremonial boat regattas on the other hand, are usually colourfully decorated and have a tail similar to that of the fish and are also used for marriage ceremonies, annual festivities and carnivals to showcase the culture of the Ijaw man.

Another event celebrated by the Ijaws is the Ogori (Leopard) festival. "There was an animal which was a spiritual leopard that had killed and tormented the Ijaw people in those days.

One Ijaw man killed that animal and today we do the Ogori celebration to commemorate the killing of the leopard.It is celebrated by jubilations in different communities, dramatization of the fight, boat regattas and shooting of canons and dances. The Ijaws have a lot of idioms and proverbs which are water inclined. One popular Ijaw proverb goes thus: "when you see a hippopotamus pursuing a canoe in the river, it is not actually interested in the canoe, but what is inside the canoe. As soon as the person insight jumps into the water, that ends the pursuit.

A common proverbial saying among the Ijaws is that: One does not get annoyed with a bad canoe when you are inside it. Meaning you cannot say let me do away with the canoe because it is bad in the middle of the sea until you have a replacement or else one risks going down with it.

It is used when the people in the Ijaw community are becoming something else. Another proverb is that: no matter how tall the okro tree is, it cannot be taller than its owner. This is because at whatever time the owner wants to harvest it; he will bend the tree to cut off the fruits. The Ijaws use this idiom at a point a child is trying to go astray.

The economic strength of the Ijaw people lies in the rivers. Apart from oil exploration in the Ijaw land that has defined the economic future of not only the Ijaw people but Nigeria and its place in the world, everything inside and around the Ijaw water is of huge economic value.

Monday 17 April 2017

List Of Ijaw Traditional Marriage Rites

List of Ijaw traditional marriage rite. In the first place, do they have a culture? This question is usually asked because of how scattered the Ijaws are, but the answer to that question is affirmatively Yes!

In case you don't know, the Ijaw culture is very unique and quite different from all others. For the very fact that they live along the coastlines, their traditions/customs are expected to be river related which is not far from the truth because they are in love with water as a people.

The Ijaw traditions are usually centered on water with beautiful display of their cultural values such as in meals, burial rites, festivals, and in marriage ceremonies.

Their uniqueness involves all aspects of their lives, from their day-day ways of life down to their tasty traditional dishes which makes even a non native to always salivating for more after being served.

Their foods usually contains almost all types of sea fishes both cooked and smoked, shrimps, crabs, and prawns. Merely putting these down here is already making me feel like going for that Ijaw tasty meal.

Anyway, let's not get sidetracked with that as our focus on this article is marriage related. Good!. Ijaw tradition marriage ceremony goes beyond uniting of two people in love to also bringing two families together in some unique special ways which is different from other ethnic groups as far as their marriage traditions is concerned.

The Process Of Marrying An Ijaw Lady Are Outlined Below:

*Just like every other tribes, after an Ijaw man meets a lady he likes to marry, the usual friendships ensued which serves as courting giving them opportunities to know themselves better.

*At a stage when it's clear that the friendships deserves extending into marriage, the man informs his family about his intentions and arrangements would be made to visit the bride's family. The  date for them to come would be given to him along with the list of things to come with.

* He is expected to come with some quantities of local gin and other alcohol beverages, Kola nut are usually not permitted because it is against their traditions to break kola nut for prayers. This visit affords both families to meet each other, socialize together and have some free reign of drinks together.

* At this meeting even though it is somewhat informal, both families have a spokesman to have things properly coordinated and it is during this visit that the date for traditional marriage is chosen.

*The bride's family have upper hand in choosing the date after this, a proper list containing the comprehensive list for the traditional marriage is then given to the groom's family for them to through and have some necessary adjustments made.
At the end of every other things comes the proper list for the traditional marriage without which the groom has to go back and reorganize himself to meet up.

Ijaw Traditional Marriage List Are As Follows:

(1.) Money for the bride's waist and for the brothers

(2.) Money for parents of the bride, tobacco, and for their attires

(3.) Mortar and Pestle

(4.) Box of clothes

(5.) A Canoe and fishing net

(6.) Lantern

(7.) 20 litres of dry gin (Ogogoro)

(8.) Salt.

If you have read the above list clearly you will discover that apart from salt, no other food item is found on the list and that should make you ask some questions why? Well it is just one of the uniqueness of their cultures.

A typical Ijaw person will tell you that it is better to give him the instruments for farming than giving you some finished products and which I believes, there is enough sense in.

While going through the list you may also have noticed some things that are not all that relevant to urban living such as canoe and the fishing nets, and even as that, there are also traditionally not neglected but are monetized to make up for the lack.

The bride price varies from clan to clan, family to family, but mostly depends on the financial abilities of the groom. When the day for traditional wedding finally arrives, people and relatives from far and wide are invited after the bride's parents and her people had made sure that every necessary requirements has been taken care of.

At the marriage celebration, the Ijaws usually add one spec to liven up to the occasion by presenting other maidens dressed in the same attire and instead of the groom, asks his family members to choose their bride and this is to confirm that the bride is not only known by the groom alone but also his family members as well.. and that to me, has some additional meaning to what real marriage is all about and should be.

As the occasions draws to a close with every necessary customs duly observed, the gifts accepted, the groom and his bride would then be blessed traditionally.

Finally, with all sorts of merriment and dances, the newly wed is escorted to her husband's home by friends and women in the family along with gifts of various types.

culled from www.constative.com

Thursday 13 April 2017


The Yewa clan is a multi-ethnic, multicultural diverse sub ethnic group of Yoruba people located in Ogun State, South west region of Nigeria with an estimated population figure of 1.8 million people spread across the present day five local governments of Yewa South, Yewa North, Imeko Afon, Ipokia and some communities in the present Ado-Odo Ota and Abeokuta North local governments areas of Ogun State. The Origin of the people is linked to the cradle history of Yorubaland of the popular Ile-Ife and Oyo traditions.

According to early history as enunciated by the accounts of Samuel Johnson, Anthony Asiwaju and Kola Afolayan, the early Yewa settlers were great warriors, hunters and princes who were said to have migrated from Ketu, Ile ife and Oyo in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries . Another migration also took place in the 18th and 19th centuries as a result of Dahomey and Egba invasions of some Northern Yewa towns. These migrations of different groups largely resulted in settlements of independent kingdoms and chiefdoms of diverse ethnic and sub-ethnic groups that constitute the various Yewa towns and villages.

The Yewa people in the contemporary history, are predominantly farmers and traders largely found in the western part of Ogun State, Nigeria. It borders Lagos to the South, Oyo State in the North while its close location to the international Border of Nigeria and Republic of Benin in its Eastern border has considerable effect on international commercial activities. It must be mentioned that the area was a major slave trade route to the coast which made it subject of external attacks by slave merchants in their bids to force open the slave routes to the sea.

Essentially, the Yewa people as a multi-ethnic language community consists the Sabe, the Ije (Ohori), Ifonyin,Eyo, Egbado, Ketu, Anago and the Egun speaking languages.

On the Northen part of Yewaland are Ketu towns of Ijaka, Ijoun, Owode ketu, Igan-Alade, Egua, Tata, Ilara, Imeko, Idofa etc. In the South are the Yewa other towns of the Ketu and Ije (Ohori),Oja-odan, Obele, Pobe, Ibeku, Iselu while further south are the Ifonyin, Ikolaje, Ihunbo, Ilase, and Ifonyintedo. Located in the Eastern part are communities' refered to as "Egbado". These includes Ilaro, Ibara, Ilewo, Imasayi,Imala, Ilobi, Ibese, Isaga, Iboro, Joga, Ayetoro, Idofoyi, Tibo, Keesan, Oke-odan, Igan-Okoto, Sawonjo Erinja, Igbogila, Ajilete among others. South of the Egbado are the Anago, Eyo and Egun people who settled in Ipokia, Agosasa, Ijofin, Maun, Tube, Ibatefin etc. It's people also includes the Egbado and Awori towns Ado odo, Igbesa,Ikogbo, Agbara, Alapoti etc.

Like other communities across the globe despites its multicultural orientation, the Yewa community has a relatively good history of peaceful co-existence among its people and neighbors, perhaps because of its well coordinated community relations and high respect for native authority residual in the Obaship Institution and native authority which plays significant roles in native administration, native laws, peace and security including societal norm and values. A typical Yewa man is a symbol of a quintessential personality and a good example of Omoluwabi.

The Yewa Traditional Council otherwisely referred to as "Council of Obas" is a veritable Institution in this respect. The complimentary roles the Council is playing in conflict management and resolution has great impact in enduring peace and peaceful co-existence in the Community. The Council is headed by the Olu of Ilaro, who since 1993 became the President and Paramount ruler of Yewa land following a consensus agreement among the crown- heads of Yewa towns and Communities.

The various sub ethnic groups that is today known as Yewa were administratively grouped under the Egbado Division of the then known Abeokuta province. In 1995, following a report of research conducted by the "Yewa think tank", (a group of prominent educated elites and leaders of thoughts) it was unanimously resolved that the people formerly referred to as Egbado be forthwith known and called YEWA . The change according to Anthony Asiwaju was "motivated by the need to tackle an identity problem of correcting a double misnomer that had applied to the wider multi-ethnic and the particular sub groups formerly labeled as "EGBADO" and more significantly for self determination of the entire people who not only share cultural but also geographical affinity over the Yewa River to explore new ground for Unity and Progress"
Significantly, the Yewa people are notable for their very rich cultural heritage. Its popular type of music includes bolojo, agasa, ajangbode, ponse etc while the people are traditional worshipers of Egungun, Gelede and oro cults.

Dapo Oke, the Ajiroba of Imasayi in Yewa North of Ogun State, writes from Ijebu Ode

•Culled from www.nigerianecho.com

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Bayimba International Festival

Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts is held every year in kampala, Uganda's capital and is organized by the Bayimba Cultural Foundation since 2007. This exciting three-day festival takes place annually during the month of September and provides a platform for known and upcoming artists from Uganda, the African continent and beyond to showcase their artistic talent to an ever increasing and varied public.

The mission of Bayimba Cultural Foundation is to uplift music and arts in Uganda and East Africa by promoting original cultural exchange and creativity, contributing to making Uganda and East Africa a significant hub for music and arts in Africa. To achieve its objectives, Bayimba Cultural Foundation organises a number of activities on an annual basis. The Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts – of which the first edition was organised in June 2008 – is the most visible activity of the Foundation. The Foundation firmly believes that the planned activities offer an attractive and irresistible programme of music and arts to a wide and diverse audience. The Festival and the other activities of Bayimba Cultural Foundation are set to add value and to expose the music and arts of Uganda locally, regionally and internationally. 

The Festival will also build public awareness for domestic tourism, social responsibility and understanding the role of creativity within society.
To successfully achieve its objectives, Bayimba Cultural Foundation has established partnerships with numerous actors in and outside Uganda (e.g. Oxfam GB, HIVOS, Club Rouge, Sarakasi Trust/Kenya, Sauti za Busara/Zanzibar, Timitar/Morocco, Mundial Productions/Netherlands, Kampala City Council, Minister of Tourism, the Department of Culture, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Civil Aviation Authority Uganda, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation). Our partners are not only willing to help in networking and mobilising the public, but play a major role in creating the Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts as a brand that is genuinely aiming at developing music and arts in Uganda and the region.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Epe-Ekpe (New Year) Festival In Togo

Voodoo has a special place in the life of the people of Togo. The nature-based belief system emerged at the end of the 16th century in the town of Tado on the Mono river, which separates the country from Benin to the east. 

Followers worship a single god, the Mahu or Segbo-Lissa, through more than 200 deities who are represented mostly by clods of earth.

Every year in the village of Glidji, 30 miles from Lome, Togo's capital city, members of the Guin people of Aneho, gather to celebrate the annual Epe-Ekpe or Ekpessosso festival in September marks the start of the New Year The festival attracts pilgrims from across Togo to worship, sing, offer sacrifices and seek blessings. Increasingly, followers from Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria come to worship, and it has become a tourist attraction for many Western visitors.

Amongst the various activities involved in the celebration is the presentation of the sacred stone which is collected from a sacred forest and whose color would be interpreted by the high priests and communicated its meaning to the worshippers. About 100 metres away from the high priest of the sacred forest, thousands of pilgrims gathered in the public square to sing, dance and recite incantations.

The traditional "taking of the sacred stone" ceremony was started in 1663 by settlers from the former Gold Coast — modern-day Ghana — and has now taken place 353 times.

The colour of the sacred stone is believed to indicate what the future holds for the coming year ahead. The interpretations are along these lines:
Blue means abundant harvest and rains
Red means impending conflict and war
Black means famine, disease and devastating rain fall
White means peace, goodluck and abundance.

This year, the stone was blue colored. The mystical stone was passed around the public square under the watchful gaze of voodoo elders and about a dozen police officers. Bare-chested and with leaves wrapped around their necks, a small group of voodoo worshippers emerges from a dense forest in southern Togo.

The oldest among them, a man in his sixties with decorative beads around his neck, carefully holds up a blue stone and closes his eyes.

"We started the ceremonies six months ago," says Nii Mantche, the high priest of the sacred forest, from his position on a wooden stool. Today is the climax — the release of the sacred stone. I am the only person to take out this stone from the depths of this forest."
"The stone is turquoise blue," a Guin dignitary and elder Togbe Kombete declared into a microphone.

Some followers (mostly females of all ages), wearing cloth wrappers up to their chests and long multi-coloured beads around their necks and arms, would dance vigorously and many fall into trances as the singing and dancing erupted around them. All covered women who attained the 'trance stage' were relieved of their beads and tops, baring their breasts as the music climbed to a fever pitch and dances became wilder to celebrate the good news.

*culled from www.cp-africa.com

Monday 10 April 2017

EVALA, One Of The Biggest Cultural Events In Togo

Every year, the second half of July is dedicated to the celebration of Evala in Togo. Traditional festival at first, the event has taken an international scale attracting thousands tourists and curious people worldwide.

Evala is an initiation rite for Kabyè people (Ethnical group in the North of Togo). For about two weeks, young people from the various areas of the Kozah prefecture are engaged in a traditional wrestling. The objective is to prepare these young men for adult life.

The myth that surrounds the event attracts every year many people and creates liveliness in this part of the country usually quiet. Hotels are overcrowded by visitors and storekeepers seize the opportunity to realize good business.
During the periods of Evala, the numerous places of interest of the locality (zoo, national museum, Tamberma castles…) are also visited by curious people.

For the edition 2014, it is planned several events among which huge concerts, operations of raising sensitizations on the HIV / AIDS and sessions of free screenings. The President of Republic of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé, government members as well as diplomatic representations accredited in Togo all usually travel to the Kara region during the periods of Evala.

Sunday 9 April 2017

Celebration of people, lives, history and culture of Badagry

The Badagry Festival began its humble beginnings in 1999, as a remembrance for the slave trade era and the significance of the town in the era. In 1999, AREFO organized the first Badagry Festival. Throughout the years, AREFO has spent hundreds of hours organizing the festival and have been instrumental in evolving it into the festival that we know today.

Annually, on the 3rd week in August, hundreds of thousands of people converge at Badagry, Lagos to be part of the action that is The Great Badagry Festival. Badagry is completely transformed and is
filled with fascinating sights, smells and sounds as hundreds of fine artists, musicians, dancers, exhibitors and food vendors take part in this one week celebration.
The Badagry Festival features differing acts and performances.

On our acts and performances includes Liberation Day Celebration, Football Competition (Oba Akran Cup), Arts & Crafts Festival, Nature/Water Sport Activities, Vothun Henwhe Festival, Zangbeto Exotheric Masquerade Festival, Gbenepo Royal Carnival, International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and Its Abolition, Carnival Day and more!

Sunday 2 April 2017

The Udje Dance In Urhobo Land

Pic by Google : Udje Dance 
The Art of combining vocal or instrumental sounds to produce beauty to form harmony and expression of emotion is music.

Dance is an art form which is the rhythmic movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music. The Urhobo, numbering about three million people, occupy mainly the western and northern fringes of the Niger Delta River of the present Delta State. Large pockets of Urhobo people also live in the contiguous states of Bayelsa, Rivers, and Edo, and as immigrants in many Yoruba-speaking areas such as Ife, Lagos, and Okitipupa.

Large communities of Urhobo migrants are now settled all over Nigeria, including Jos, Kano, Maiduguri, and Yola. Many have also settled in C6te d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Liberia. According to Tanure Ojaide, "The Urhobo in their present environment are said to be an amalgam of different waves of migrating groups and an indigenous group that absorbed them. 

The main group migrated from the Edo region, where they had settled in a space called "Aka" (associated with Benin) and had been forced to migrate at different periods during the tyrannical Ogiso dynasty.

Oral history and myths are still replete with stories of Urhobo people being selectively used for human sacrifice by the Obas, which led to their escape by land and rivers through areas like Abraka, Ologbo, and along the Niger River. At least one group migrated from the Ijo area through the Amasuoma clan. There also appears, from Urhobo vocabulary, some remote Igbo connection, which could be because of the period of migration along the Niger River and proximity to the western Igbo group of Ukwuani. Onigu Otite's The Urhobo People has a detailed historiography of Urhobo, taking into account Hubbard's colonial work, Egharevba's study of Benin and neighboring groups, and Obaro Ikime's study of the Niger-Delta peoples".

The Urhobo people presently in the central part of the state, enjoy making and listening to music which is predominant in all their ceremonies. Music is employed to reflect many moods; drumming can signal the emergence of war and even the beginning of festivals.

The Urhobo now occupy some twenty-two clans/kingdoms that can easily be divided into southern and northern terrains. The southern Urhobo border on the Ijo, Isoko, and Itsekiri. These live across mangrove swamps and very luxuriant rain forests.

The major occupations of these groups of Urhobo are fishing, hunting, and farming. Those to their north, far from the wide rivers but still riverine, also farm, hunt, and fish. Nowadays, many Urhobo live in urban areas such as Sapele and Ughelli and form the overwhelming majority in the politically contested town of Warri. The urban Urhobo are mainly traders.

An Urhobo musician is expected to be dexterous with the use of various drums as well as be a Poet. He is expected to be poetic in his songs creation. Example is the "Udje" songs which are long poetic renditions, is an example of the peoples' expectation of their music maker. The songs and drumming are fused into a harmonious blend. The songs make use of repetitions to create a desired poetic effect on the listener.

Dancing and singing, is ever so lively and they range from the vigorous "Udje", "Ikpeba" and "Opiri" to the gracefull "Ikenike". Udje dance is a rythymically vigorous and well appreciated Urhobo dance.

Udje is a unique type of Urhobo dance in which rival quarters or towns perform songs composed from often exaggerated materials about the other side on an appointed day. Udje songs are thus dance songs sung when Udje is being performed. In traditional Urhobo, major crimes were punished either by selling the offender into slavery or by execution. Minor crimes were, however, punished by Satire.

Udje Dance Songs are Satire:

The songs strongly attack what the traditional society regards as Vices. There are blatant lampoons as when barrenness, ugliness, and other natural deformities of a person are sung. The singers want what they consider to be positive norms of the society to be upheld. Thus, central to the concept of udje dance songs are the principles of correction and determent through punishment with "wounding" words.

The songs are very relevant as societies everywhere continue to fashion means of protecting their ethical and moral values. In the udje dance song tradition, excesses are checked since there are sanctions against falsehoods as well as lampoons against natural defects.
The songs maintain a delicate balance between the general good of the society whose ethos must be upheld and respect for the law-abiding individual.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...