Ora: Home Away from Home

In any Ora town or village, a stranger needs not yearn for home. As thousands of non-indigenes, who have had to live in the communities of this major tribal group in Edo State, have found out over the years, Ora towns are ever a home away from home. The people of Ora take pride in this fact. The average Ora man's sense of hospitality is not only exemplary but also well known. It is often said that among the major communities in Edo State, of which Ora is one, none could boast of harboring more strangers than Ora. Ora communities consist of six major

In Defence of Edo Womanhood

The expanded form of the word Ogiso is Ogie-iso, which when tranlated in Edo means, king of the sky. The word Ogie means king, Iso means Sky or Heaven. Thus the Edo people believe that thieir kings come from the sky or more appropiately, from Heaven or from God. It is belief which explains why the Oba or king is the embodiment of the culture of the Edo people. The story of the people of the people cannot be written without reference to their king or Oba. Indeed, everything revolves

Love and Courtship in Igbo Marriage

Love and Courtship in Igbo Marriage

Anybody who has the misfortune of having to define love finds himself in a great difficulty. This is because the word 'love',, like 'justice' is subject to many bewildering and often contradictory interpretations or connotations. Many a murder, many an abortion and other crimes and shocking sins have been committed in the name of love. Here our

Women In Africa

From Egypt in the north to South Africa in the south calls for the recognition of the rights of women in each of the countries in Africa are urgent and insistent. Statistical data supports what the eye plainly sees, women throughout Africa do much more than their share of the work in many spheres of daily life. They maintain households, fetch firewood and water, work the fields, sell goods in the marketplace, and more. And yet the irony is that this work remains so invisible and undervalued that a chapter entitled “Women in Africa” still seems appropriate in a book such as

African Tribes

Europe over more than two millenia of over devestating conflict has organized itself along ethnic and linguistic lines. This has not occurred in Africa. Most modern African states reflect the boundareies drawn by European colonial powers in the 19th century during the scramble for Africa. The Europeans commonly ignored tribal and linguistic afinities among African peoples. This mean that tribal groups were often fracrtured and separated by the European imposed boundaries. Thus modern

The Role of Women in Post-independent Africa

1. Overall status of women in Africa

African women have always been active in agriculture, trade, and other economic pursuits, but a majority of them are in the informal labour force. In 1985, women's shares in African labour forces ranged from 17 per cent, in Mali, to 49 per cent in Mozambique and Tanzania (World Bank, 1989). African women are guardians of their children's welfare and have explicit responsibility to provide for

Role of Women

The role of women in traditional Judaism has been grossly misrepresented and misunderstood. The position of women is not nearly as lowly as many modern people think; in fact, the position of women in halakhah (Jewish Law) that dates back to the biblical period is in many ways better than the position of women under American civil law as recently as a century ago. Many of the important feminist leaders of the 20th century (Gloria Steinem, for example, and Betty Friedan) are Jewish women, and some commentators have suggested that this is no coincidence: the respect accorded to women in Jewish tradition was a part of their ethnic culture.

In traditional Judaism, women are for the most part seen as separate but equal. Women’s obligations and responsibilities are different from men’s, but no less important (in fact, in some ways, women’s

African art masks, African paintings and African art patterns

African art masks, African paintings and African art patterns

The mask plays a very important role in traditional African art and life, particularly spiritual life. Masks are used during special events likeceremonies and celebrations and their purposes range from honoring and entertaining to initiating or blessing, while at the same time serving as both disguise and protection for the wearer. Usually, African masks are carved of wood but some are made with other materials such as cloth or clay, and they can also be painted and decorated with other things like

(ii): The "Négritude" Movement and "African Philosophy"(3: The Third Phase)

3: The Third Phase

(i): Cultural Setting
By the early 1980s it was apparent to some African scholars that out of the process of revaluation of ATR a certain tension arises. Some have begun to voice concern that much of the work is being done in a vacuum, for it does not fit the every-day context in which most Africans now live. The modern African reality is one in which many traditions and customs have died out to the extent that they cannot now be properly recovered, while "modern" and western ways have not been fully established. In a context neither wholly modern nor wholly ancient, a majority of Africans live with a daily reality of grinding poverty in which clean water, food and the basic

(ii): The "Négritude" Movement and "African Philosophy" (2: Second Phase: "Incarnation)

2: Second Phase: "Incarnation"
The next phase of African theology sought a Christianity more deeply and authentically rooted in African soil. One of the ways this task was undertaken was to research the traditional African religions of the various ethnic groups from which the African theologians arose. Since many of them were second or third generation Christians by this time, it necessitated a considerable adjustment process and the pursuit of research methodologies more familiar to anthropologists than to theologians, but in contrast to anthropologists the African theologians had the advantage of knowledge of the indigenous languages as their own mother tongues.

(ii): The "Négritude" Movement and "African Philosophy"

In 1928, the young Léopold Sédar Senghor left his home in Senegal to study in Paris. Disillusioned by the ill-treatment of Africans in France and its colonies, he joined with his friend Aimé Césaire in 1929 to found a review called L'Etudiant noir, which proclaimed the principle of «négritude» (Guibert 1962, 15). The «négritude» movement sought to revalue the thought and culture of traditional Africa (see Mudimbe 1988, 83). Disenchanted with the racism they experienced in the French Communist party in Paris, the négritude group eventually broke with many aspects of

Benin Moat: Neglected Monument In Search of A Rescuer

culled from GUARDIAN

Mr. Osahon Edobor lives on first East Circular Road,
just some few kilometres from the ancient Benin City
walls and moat. He recalls how his father built the
family house in 1964. As a boy of 15 then, he joined
in the excavation of sand from the moat walls, which
was used for the foundation of the building.

25 Years Of An Oba

culled from GUARDIAN, March 29, 2004

It is not just the silver jubilee of the reign of Oba Erediauwa the Edos celebrate. They celebrate survival. They celebrate continuity, they celebrate stability amongst other events. March 23, 1979 merely marked the day the reigning Oba ascended the throne of his forebears soon after the immediate past Oba Akenzua II joined his ancestors. On this day, both the burial and succession rites were completed.



The book of Omo N' Oba N' Edo,Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa II, the Oba of Benin, has stirred an unending controversy between the Benin and Yoruba people. As a matter of fact, I have been following the ongoing discourse, in the cyber world I should add, but have been unable to participate by way of retort or rejoinder due to the time factor in human nature. One thing about the book is that the presentation of the Oba of Benin is so compelling that it has pricked some of the traditional rulers, historians, writers, and others to come to the stage to add their voices or make their views known about the subject. Among them are the Ooni of Ife, the Oba of Lagos, Dr. Dele Adeoti, Prof. Ajayi, even Ganiyu Adams, and many other others.

The Benin-Ife Connection - The Missing Link -

culled from VANGUARD Sunday May 23, 2004

Nigerian newspapers have been awash with commentaries on the Benin-lfe connection since the public presentation of Omo nOba Erediauwas Memoirs on April 29. The high and the low; historians, the

The Benin-Ife Connection

May 2004
      It is during the preparation for his coronation that the future Oba chooses the title or name he is to be known as at his coronation.

      How and where this is done began with the arrival from Ile-Ife of Prince Oranmiyan, the son of Oduduwa of Uhe, about 1170 years ago according to modem historians. Briefly, this is the account. Before the advent of Qranmiyan, the "kings" that ruled the people that came to be known as Edo or Benin were called "Ogiso". The title is said (by local tradition) to have derived (and


It seems rather abrupt to move from myths and myth makers to modern theories of management and organization. But there is a warrant for it. While monotheists, and ideologically correct defenders of secular culture may be hard put to allow a discussion of the gods within their paradigms, theories are emerging from the most unlikely sectors which suggest that a knowledge of the gods may be more of service today than is usually supposed. The knowledge is steeped in religiosity, but as part of a way of engaging


Following the myths to their source in history is a labyrinthine pursuit. It takes more than education and hardwork -  it takes some element of luck - to pluck the gem out of mushy mythology. It is such luck that I think is not pressed home in the book AFRICAS OGUN:Old World And New  edited by Sandra T. Barnes(Indiana University Press, 1989). In  a chapter Ogun, the Empire Builder, Sandra T. Barnes and Paula Girshik Ben-Amos, traverse the mytho-historical landscape of the Edo, Fon, and Yoruba in order to locate the god and to solve the riddle of the deity in terms


Historically, a 15th century King of  Oyo, Sango was deified as god of thunder and lightning after he did not hang himself in shame or regret arising from the destruction wreaked on his own house and family by his own experiments in lightning conduction. He apparently wished to punish his adversaries by invoking the elements hence he is also now viewed as a god of retributive justice. Hid


Given my interest in genealogies, I have tried to avoid  playing the chauvinistic game of art critics who interpret Pablo Picasso's originality without even an allusive reference to his debt to the anonymous fashioners of  African masks; or Henry Moore without his beholdingness to pre-Colombian American sculptures. Whether the focus is on Soyinka's progress as a mythopoeist who happens to be an African writer, or an Africa writer who happens to be a mythopoeist, I believe there are kinks in his biography which indicate his debt to occidental predecessors which ought to be factored into an appreciation of his works. True,  mere

Lessons for Contemporary Nigeria from the Anglo-Benin Treaty

Although Nigeria won its sovereignty and political freedom from the British colonialists nearly 50 years ago, it is a matter of regret that the British left only in order to stay behind. The ‘middle class’ solution to Nigeria’s decolonization, to borrow Chinweizu’s characterization,49 ensured that, at independence, power passed to the more reactionary or conservative faction of the ruling class.50 The implication of this, among others, was that our political leaders, like the Bourbons of old, simply put, learnt and forgotten nothing. The neo-colonial structure put in place in the

A Critical Analysis of the Treaty

As earlier indicated, the Treaty was the standard one used in consolidating the British stranglehold on different parts of the Oil Rivers Protectorate which the British had proclaimed on June 5, 1885. in fact, Galway had signed the Treaty as ‘Deputy Commissioner and Vice-Consul, Benin District, Oil River Protectorate,’ in other words, a vice-roy performing routine functions within his area of jurisdiction!

The Treaty of Benin with the British of March 26, 1892

Pursuant to the expansionist designs of the British in the Benin area, in particular, and the Oil Rivers Protectorate, in general, it was felt that Benin should be brought speedily within the ambit of the protectorate.25 Not only did the British frown at the overlordship of the Oba of Benin in the hinterland in the Urhobo and Itsekiri areas, the sphere of influence of the Oba, especially in relation to trade and other matters was sufficiently irksome to the British that they decided that it was time for flag to follow trade. The appointment of Henry Galway as Vice-Consul for the entire area in 1891 signaled the intention of the British to plant their feet firmly on ground.

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