The Igbo Culture is one of the oldest cultures in Africa. The Igbo Culture has been affected by: (a) Ugwuele Civilization, (A Stone Age Culture) 500, 000 B.C. (b) Nri Civilization, (A ritualized Kingship System) 800 - 1700 A.D. (c) Border Civilization (Slave trade and colonial era) 800 - 1900 A.D. (d) Aro Civilization, (Slave trade and colonial era) 1700 - 1850 A.D. (e) External Civilization (Slave trade and colonial era) 1700 - 2000 A.D.
IGBO CULTURE: In this “Second Edition” of the Igbo Culture, the author has granted a significant upgrade, done with love and appreciation for the blessing of being a son of the Igbo Nation. He has greatly upgraded the book, after years of new and careful research work, and collection of readers’ opinions on some of the issues in the book.
Additional information on some of the issues discussed has been included to assist the reader understand the message of the author and to better accommodate the readers’ views. The book has its grammar and punctuation reedited with dates and periods of events updated. Most of the Igbo vernacular words are in bold print, so that non-Igbo readers can distinguish between English and vernacular words.In the first edition, the author presented his book “Igbo Culture” in a most convincing way by quoting expert opinions on most of the issues he discussed in the book. Through his carefully researched work and detailed analysis of facts, he showed in the book that Igbo youths working hard like their ancestors can reform Igboland into a new and better civilization by sifting the good aspects of Igbo culture into today’s way of life. He started his book by making a brief reference to the possible migration route of Igbo ancestors from their earliest settlements in the forest region of Central Africa to their present-day settlement in Southeastern Nigeria of West Africa.
He also made a brief reference to the development of the Igbo civilization through the period covering the Stone Age and Iron Age civilizations. He painted a clear picture of the cultural background of the community where he was born and brought up and lived in for more than sixty years before he traveled to the United States of America. He traced the more than twenty-six generations-deep lineages, beliefs, concepts, customs, and history of Ihe Shikeaguma in Ntuegbe clan of Enugu State in Southeastern Nigeria as a sample core Igbo culture community. He also delved into the historical links and social formation of this community, with emphasis on genealogy, religion, settlement, language, government, law enforcement, defense, seasons, festivals, and residential structures. He took his readers to Igbo thought on God, self, family, human life, birth, death, spirit, human mind, and reincarnation.
He clearly documented the cultural products of Igbo thought, which can be seen in the formulation of Igbo institutions with special reference to marriage, the extended family system, the social status structure and title system, festivals, informal education, traditional law, community service, religion, divination, and health-care services. He explained that the symbolism of various articles and some spoken words in Igbo culture are products of Igbo thought. He referred to ofo stick, kola nut, alligator pepper, spears, tribal face marks, body paint, white chalk, and the young palm frond as symbols or instruments of Igbo philosophical expressions and concepts.
He showed how Igbo culture and philosophy have been affected by the cultures of Igbo neighbors in Nigeria and by other foreign cultures with special references to the following: (a) Ugwuele civilization (a Stone Age culture)-1,000,000 BC-500,000 BC (b) Nri civilization (a ritualized kingship system)-AD 800-AD 1700 (c) Aro civilization (slave trade and colonial era)-AD 1700-AD 1850 (d) Border civilization (slave trade and colonial era)-AD 800-AD1900 (e) External civilization (slave trade and colonial era)-AD 1700-AD 2000. The author concluded his work by making an evaluation of Igbo culture. He carefully examined the oriented values of the Igbo and highlighted those areas of Igbo culture that should be refurbished and re-infused into Igbo life by the Igbo themselves in order to transform Igboland into a big theater of modern civilization.
A SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM: The author gives a brief insight into the family formation and social protection of the Igbo people. He maintains that the Igbo family system was instituted several centuries B.C., by Igbo ancestors as a social security system; and was charged with the social obligation to establish cultural measures that would among other things:
(a) Supervise and protect the marriage institution through inbuilt fundamental traditional safeguards to avoid marriage breakups and the consequent exposure of children to parental abuses.
(b) Provide through the marriage institution a legitimate and socially secure home for every child in his/her father’s home where adequate parental upbringing would be assured.
(c) Ensure that through the marriage institution there was an alternative but temporal home in the maternal ancestral family for every person in case of a serious social misunderstanding, dispute, or social disturbance in his/her paternal family.
(d) Provide humanitarian assistance through family connections to all members of the extended family faced with the problems of bereavement, orphanhood, poverty, disability, illness, old age, or retirement.
(e) Provide physical protection and economic assistance to all through community service. The author made brief comments on the ethnic orientation and civilization of the Igbo people of Southern Nigeria.
WHO ARE THE IGBO? The Igbo are the Igbo-speaking ethnic group of Southern Nigeria and one of the earliest and largest ethnic groups in Africa. Through the research work of Archaeologists and Anthropologists, it is established that the earliest ancestors of the Igbo ethnic group settled at Ugwuele in Okigwe Division of Abia State of Southeastern Nigeria as far back as 200,000 BC (Onwuejeogwu 1987).
The Sangonans were forest dwellers occupying the great lakes of Central Africa, the present-day Congo andAngola, and around the Zambezi river. They probably spread into different areas in the forest zones of West Africa. This resulted in the development of variants of stone cultures found in West Africa of different ages as shown by the Archaeological findings in Ugwuele, 55,000 BC (Anozie 1980) Nsukka 2,555 BC (Hartle 1967 and 1972) Iwo Eleru 7,250 BC (Shaw 1965).
For millions of years beginning from the early Stone Age to the early Iron Age civilizations, the Igbo had consistently settled in thatched mud-houses at Ugwuele and its environs; in the highland areas of what has come to be known as greater Okigwe, Awgu, Udi, Nsukka and Awka divisions of Southeastern Nigeria.
One finds in this region a continuity of cultural development illustrated by the fact that the Afikpo pottery of about 3000 BC resembles the pottery of present-day Afikpo, while the ‘ichi’ face marks found on terra cotta heads of nineth century AD Igboukwu resemble the ‘ichi’ face marks of present- day Umunri. (DC Ohadike 1994. Page 10).
From the Ugwuele Stone-age Settlement, the Igbo community has developed into one of Africa’s most economically, politically, and physically vibrant nations. Today the Igbo can be found in all the cities of the world doing business.
Retired teacher, Titled Community Elder, Former president of Ihe Shikeaguma Council of Elders and a great grandfather.
Retired teacher, titled Church Elder, secretary of IHE, YWCA and Great grandmother.
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