A Brief Documentation For Owelle FM 99.5
Written by Ossy on September 15, 2020
The Igbo are the second largest group of people living in southern Nigeria. They are socially and culturally diverse, consisting of many subgroups. Although they live in scattered groups of villages, they all speak one language.
The Igbo have no common traditional story of their origins. Historians have proposed two major theories of Igbo origins. One claims the existence of a core area, or “nuclear Igboland.” The other claims that the Igbo are descended from waves of immigrants from the north and the west who arrived in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Three of these are the Nri, Nzam, and Anam.
European contact with the Igbo began with the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-fifteenth century. At first the Europeans confined themselves to slave trade on the Niger Coast. At this point, the main item of commerce provided by the Igbo was slaves, many of whom were sent to the New World. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British companies pushed beyond the coastal areas and aggressively pursued control of the interior. The Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, created in 1900, included Igboland. Until 1960, Nigeria remained a British colony, and the Igbo were British subjects. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation structured as a federation of states.
Igboland is located in southeastern Nigeria, with a total land area of about 15,800 square miles (about 41,000 square kilometers). The Igbo country has four distinct areas. The low-lying deltas and riberbank areas are heavily inundated during the rainy season, and are very fertile. The central belt is a rather high plain. The Udi highlands are the only coal-mining area in West Africa.
It is difficult to obtain accurate census figures for either the Igbo or for Nigeria as a whole. The Igbo population is estimated to be between 5 and 6 million.
The Igbo language belongs to the Niger-Congo language family. It is part of the Kwa subfamily. A complicated system of high and low tones indicates differences in meaning and grammatical relationships. There are a wide range of dialects.
|Hello, how are you?||Keku ka imelo?|
|What is your name?||Kedu ahagi?|
The Igbo have a system of folk beliefs that explains how everything in the world came into being. It explains what functions the heavenly and earthly bodies have and offers guidance on how to behave toward gods, spirits, and one’s ancestors.
The Igbo believe the world is peopled by invisible and visible forces: by the living, the dead, and those yet to be born. Reincarnation is seen as a bridge between the living and the dead.
The major beliefs of the Igbo religion are shared by all Igbo-speaking people. However, many of its practices are locally organized, with the most effective unit of religious worship being the extended family. Periodic rituals and ceremonies may activate the lineage (larger kinship unit) or the village, which is the widest political community.
The Igbo believe in a supreme god who keeps watch over his creatures from a distance. He seldom interferes in the affairs of human beings. No sacrifices are made directly to him. However, he is seen as the ultimate receiver of sacrifices made to the minor gods. To distinguish him from the minor gods he is called Chukwu—the great or the high god. As the creator of everything, he is called Chukwu Abiama.
There are also minor gods, who are generally subject to human passions and weaknesses. They may be kind, hospitable, and industrious; at other times they are treacherous, unmerciful, and envious. These minor gods include Ala, the earth goddess. She is associated with fertility, both of human beings and of the land. Anyanwu is the sun god who makes crops and trees grow. Igwe is the sky god, the source of rain.
In addition to their gods, the Igbo believe in a variety of spirits whose good will depends on treating them well. Forests and rivers at the edge of cultivated land are said to be occupied by these spirits. Mbataku and Agwo are spirits of wealth. Others include Aha njoku (the yam spirit) and Ikoro (the drum spirit).
The Igbo attitude toward their deities and spirits is not one of fear but one of friendship.