Onye Igbo ka Nbu

                                               Chukwurah

Filip Emeagwali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Ichoputaghari Ihe Banyere Umu Igbo Furu Efu

Ozi Nkwado Ndi Igbo nke Ma'zi Chukwurah Filip Emeagwali degara Igbo Cultural Association of Calgary, Canada n'oge emume afo ncheta Igbo

August 23, 2003 na Calgary di na obodo Canada

Ndi b'anyi ndeewo nu O!

Obi bu m so an~uli oge Ma'zi Kene Ufondu kpokurum ka m bia buru onye obia puru iche na emume ncheta Ndi Igbo 2003 na Calgary. Ya mere nji were si ka m'gwa unu okwu nkwado.

Iji kwado emume unu, ana m akpoku nwa Igbo obula ka ochee echichi ma lotakwa ihe iriba ama puru iche Umu Igbo gara mba imilikiti afo gara aga megasiri ikwado oganiru madu.

Ewerem ubochi Icheta Igbo were lota Ma'zi Jubo Jubogha nke ana etu "Ja Ja," onye nke atoro na oru nafo iri na abua ma gbagide mbo we buru Eze Igbo n'Opobo. Ndi ulo ikpe Britain kpurulu Ma'zi Jubogha ga n'ulo ikpe ha ebe ha noro maa ya ikpe na odara iwu site na imebi "nkwa udo okwere" na kwa "igbochi nnukwu uzo azum ahia". Na itaya ahuhu, achupuru Ma'zi Jubogha nobodo ya, buru ya ga n'obodo anakpo Barbados na kwa mba nke St. Vincent, di na West Indies.

Iji kwanyere ya ugwu ruru ya, ndi mba Barbados etinyena akuko maka ndu ya na akuko iro ha, makwa na ukwe.

Ozo, ewerem ubochi Icheta Igbo were kene Ma'zi Olaudah Equiano, nwata ozo dikwa afo iri na abua erepulu n'oru onye nke jiri aka ya dere si: "Abu m Igbo". Ewerem ukpa ekene bunye Ma'zi Equiano onye nke mere ka anyi nwee akuko edere ede banyere odinani na omenani ma kwa emume Ndi Igbo oge gboo. Ekenekwasim Ma'zi Equiano ka osi were mee ka uwa ghota ijo ihe din a igbo oru, soro nua ogu iji kwusi ya, ma dekwa akwukwo banyere ajo agwa di na igba oru.

Abu na esota bu abu nke ejiri were kwaa obere nwa anyi Olaudah furu efu:

"Obu Onye ka anyi na acho? Obu Onye ka anyi na acho?
Ikwuano ka anyi na acho.
Obu iyi ka ochulu? Biko nya nata.
Obu ugbo ka ojelu? Biko nya nata.
Ikwuano ka anyi na acho."

Ma'zi Ikwuano bu ichie, burukwa nna-mmuo. Ndi ogu akwukwo dum, iji bobe ya ndu anwu anwu, nyere ya aha otutu: "Nna akuko banyere ndi ojii."

Ewerem ubochi Ncheta Igbo were kponite mmuo Umu Igbo nwoke, nwanyi na umuaka ndi Georgia's Sea Islands ndi nke miri rigbadoo oge ha siri na ugbo oru manye na miri iji gbanari agbam oru. Akuko ndi anakpo n'oyibo ndi Sea Islands nerota etu "Oru ekwe ekwe Umu Igbo", ndi anya miri juru anya siri buru iga akponyere ha na olu makwa na ukwu, kwa akwa alili, were otu olu were tie nkpu akpata oyi na asi:

"Oshimiri butel'anyi, Oshimiri g'ebu anyi laa"

Omume dike nke Umu Igbo, makwa inupu isi ha nupuru banyere agbam oru madu ewerela onodu anwu-anwu na akuko makwa abu ndi bi na ikpere miri Georgia, ndi anakpo ndi Gullah.

Ka mmuo Umu Igbo furu Efu soro unu n'akuku n'ije unu, gbanyere unu izu okwu, makwa dube unu na ochucho amam ihe na ako n'uche unu.

Ma'zi Ikwuano kowara onwe ya sin a ya bu "obia na obodo oghotaghi" Dika ndi obia na obodo Canada, ajalum unu ike na nnukwu oghere nke a unu weputara maka umu Igbo iji makorita onwe ha.

Ndi ba anyi si na njiko ka, mmadu ka e ji aba.

Igbo Kwenu!

[Chukwurah nwa Emeagwali bu onye onicha. Ma'zi Emmanuel Chinyeaka Okoli de re nka na asusu Igbo. Udo di ri gi, nwannem.]

 

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AZIZA GBASARA IHE IDERENA INTANET ...

Anwum nwa igbo. Ama ighm ma ibu kwa onye igbo ? Na egbu yioge achor m ka m ken gi maka ihe buru ibu i mere na ala America. Kama acho kwara m ka imara na onye bula chukwu kere eke ma kwa ihe. Otu ndiuwa siri cho i kowa amamuife ahu site kwa na ebe onya ahu si ya na omenala ndi ahu.
Onwere na ata ihe unu ga ekwu ka ata ka nkwere na otu ndi oca si eme ka otu ndi igbo si eme ihe nma.
Ebi gom na obodo oybo aro ise kita.
Nsogbu anyi no nime ya tata ma obu na
Nigeria ma obu na Africa ma obu ndi isi ojii no na America bu ihe ndi ocha kpa acha anya mee. Odi ha nma na anya otu ahu.
O kwa anyi ka odiri ime ka otu ihe di gbanwe. O wu ihe siri ike. Mana nkuzi ri ndi mmadu ya na iji
kota onwe ayi onu ga eyere aka nke ukwuu.
Ekele m gi nke ukwuu.

Emeka Nwagbo
Czech Republic, nnaemeka@terminal.cz



http://emeagwali.com/photos/archive/random/photos-2/philip-emeagwali-ma-mamie-baird-agatha-emeagwali-charles-baird-dale-emeagwali-baltimore-maryland-august-1984.jpg[MSOffice2] 

 


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nwanne mmadu ejim ezigbo oge were na asigi ma jisie ike na olugi nke ukwuu imego ka mba nigeria na mba uwa marakwa umu igbo nwere mmadu nigwagi eziokwu obiuto na egbum ka mmanya chineke ga edobekwagi ogologo ndu kenekwa ijeoma nnwagi na nwunyegi. ka emesia. obu nwa biafra afam bu ndubuisi........

November 8, 2003
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http://emeagwali.com/photos/archive/random/photos-2/dale-emeagwali_prime-ministers-suite-hilton-kingston-hotel-jamaica-march-17-2001.jpg[MSOffice3] 

 

 

 

 

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Daniel Ochonma  

d.ochonma@web.de

Location:

Munich,Germany

3. October 2003

 

Dike eji aga mba k'ibu, obu ihe oma, burukwa ihe anuri na ibu nwafo Igbo.

 

Asim oseburuwa gozie ma nyekwa gi n'ezinulogi ogologo ndu,amamihe n'ahu isike.

Cheta na ndigbo si gidigidi bu ugwu eze.

 

[MSOffice5] 

Daniel Ochonma

P.R.O, Igbo Contact Forum

Munich,Germany 

 

ndewo okachamara filip nwa emegwali! aguo lam nno ihe gbasara gi nke ukwu. amagi ama n'uwa ninie. aha gi n'eje n'abata abata. iwu okacha mara n'computa. ele nu otu aga eji amamihe gia nyere alaigbo aka taa. onodu ebe ahu di njo ugbua. ugwu onye igbo ara aja. ihe anyi choro wu ekwueme. owuru kwanu ma ighola onye ocha hmm ekele dikwara chukwu. ya gazie ra gila ezinulogi.

 

owum onyewuchi nwa obirieze nwafo igbo

 

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Mazi Emeagwali,

dike ka i bu. Great hardwork, dedication along with a high degree of thinking have been yielding wonderfully in Igboland. This is despite the fact that 'ndi-iro gbara anyi gburu-gburu.'

 

Mazi Emeagwali,

your name and wonderful performance continue to pierce spaces in Igboland, in Africa, globally and otherwise. Your achievements are indelible. And forever shall our Rising Sun be expanding its great light.

 

Obum Ekeanyanwu,

biafraland.com, Jan. 6, 2002

 

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Igbo Kwenu!...



I read a lot about you in Nigeria and it's quite an honour having to send an email to a man like you. Keep it up....."IGBO KWENU!"

Andy Ajukwu
aajukwu@primanet.com

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Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh  

ogbunwezeh@yahoo.com

frankfurt Germany

17. November 2003

 

Dear Dr.Emeagwali,

 

You are the tallest African in the Pantheons of science. Your roots and ancestry is an august one and I am proud to come from the same roots as you. I bu onye Igbo and I am glad that the world can at least hold its collective breath whenever you yawn, because you command a name which rings a bell in all circles. Those who think that nothing good can come out of our Biafran 'Nazareth' can now bury their thoughts in shame, for a star that is as constant as that that rises from the East has arrived to illumine the world of science. The roll of the creators of worlds would read names like that of Newton and Einstein. But by God, you have joined the rolls of the creators of Universes. Emeagwali as a name will forever grace the lips and circles of all whose stock in trade is greatness. I bu nwa afo anyi. May the sun never set on your shore. You have taken a shot at immortality.

 

Ride on Brother

 

I am a Nigerian of igbo extraction presently working on my Ph.d in Social Ethics at the Wolfgang Goethe Universitat, Frankfurt Germany. My Dissertation topic is : christianity and the Scandal of African Poverty.

 

I am proud of trailblazers like you, who saw the world a palace of bricks and left it an empire of marble. 

 

 

 

emeagwali-family-in-uromi-nigeria-december-1962[MSOffice9] 

 

Ethelbert Akwuruaha  

noblebrite@yahoo.com

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

20. November 2003

 

Dear Emeagwali,

 

You are a role model to us Igbos, Nigerians, Africans, and the Black in Diaspora. As Chinua Achebe would say: You have washed your hands, thus you can now dine with the great minds and celebrities of our time.

 

If Albert Einsten and Isaac Newton were alive today, they would have come to "worship" at your scientific alter for more light and inspiration.

 

I prophesy that one day - very soon, you will be honoured with the Nobel Prize for Physics and for service to humanity.

 

Ride on brother. 

 

You make Nigerians proud & more importantly all marginalised people around the world. A Nobel Prize is simply not enough ... Do consider coming back to Africa more often...imagine how many Emeagwalis can be inspired with just your physical presence. You are truly, sincerely, & beautifully GREAT!!!

 

mathethe sehume,

eastern cape, south africa,

March 15, 2002

 

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MAZI ACHOLONU CHUKWUEMEKA  

emekaacholonu@yahoo.com

PORT HARCOURT

11. October 2003

 

Dear Dr. Philip,

I am very much in awe of your great inventions. I am very proud to be an Igbo man I have this dream that one day I shall be free. Not only me but all the Ibos. I hope you will contribute to getting us freed. The price we have been paying so far is enormous. The burden is becoming unbearable. But as the Igbo adage says, "the darkest part of the night is that closest to day break. Do not forget how Albert Einstein used his talent to secure the Jews a state and a place in both the geography and map of the world. You the Albert Einstein of the Jews called "Ndi Igbo" in Nigeria. Please, we are always on our knees praying that GOD will use you and your connections to free Ndi Igbo.

 

I also do hope that you have a plan to help the deprived Igbo children to grow technology wise. I hope you have a plan to assist the down-trodden Igbo man rediscover his destiny. Ihope you have plan to prevent future Igbo generation from suffering and passin through the same hardship that you passed through in life. You can help us, brother. You have beaten many odds. You can also beat this. Please, do something to help.

 

I will write you again before long.

 

Extend my deepest homely greetings to your beloved family, especially your wife who has stood by you all these years.

 

Thank you, sir.

 

Your in Igbo Spirit,

Emeka. 

 

 

 

 

http://emeagwali.com/photos/archive/random/photos-2/james-dale-ijeoma-emeagwali-district-heights-maryland.jpg

 

Higher than Bill Gates ...

I wish the media would let us know more about you, because you are on a higher level compared to the likes of Bill Gates.

 

NNA, IMELA, more grease to your elbow, between you and your wife, quite impressive!!!! I wish God will give us youths the will power to achieve success like you have.

 

You are not even finished yet, you're still on your mission of conquering the odds. I'll have to tell my father to check out your internet, because he can relate to you, having accomplished so much at such a young age. I know we'll be hearing more about you in the years to come.

 

NNA, I BU NNO ONYE IGBO.

 

Obianuju Nnama
Michigan State University
, onnama@hotmail.com



 

 

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25 Feb 2003
"nick k. ezewuru" <nezewuru@yahoo.com>

congratulation my big brother
 

dear phillip

     

i,m very happy for your effort, and what you have

achieved in computer, i read interview granted to you and in your interview you did not forget igboland. you still show that you’re an igbo man. i,m happy because of you. you have shown the world that igbo man can develop something. I,m not educated. I,m a 30-year-old business man in Onitsha, from Ideato, Imo state. I love to see people who are intelligent. In fact, I love great people.

 

Please may I ask you: are you from what town because t.but in all i will like you to be

my pal. I admire you because you have made me to be proud of what Igboman can achieve. I pray that God will grant you more wisdom to achieve more things. Thanks and remain blessed.

 

From your Igbo brother and fan.

 

Regards

Kaycee.

 

james-and-philip-emeagwali-christmas-day-1996[MSOffice12] 

 

 

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Rediscovering Our
Lost Igbo Brethren


by Chukwurah Emeagwali
at Igbo Cultural Day celebration
at
Calgary, Canada on August 23, 2003.

Ozi nkwado Ndi Igbo nke Ma'zi Chukwurah Emeagwali
degara Ndi Igbo bi na obodo Calgary,
Canada n'oge emume afo ncheta Igbo.

 


Emeagwali

Ndi b'anyi ndeewo nu O!

I felt honored when Ma'zi Kene Ufondu invited me to say a few words to you.

As part of your celebration, I urge you to reflect and remember the contributions of tens of millions of Diasporan Igbos (ndi bi n'Igbo Uzo, nwanne di na mba) that left Ala Igbo a few centuries ago.

On Igbo Day, I remember Ma'zi Jubo Jubogha alias "Ja Ja," the 12-year-old slave-boy that became King of Opobo (Eze n'Opobu Igbo). Ma'zi Jubogha was summarily tried in a British court and found guilty of "treaty breaking." For "blocking the highways of trade," Ma'zi Jubogha was permanently exiled to Barbados and St. Vincent, West Indies. He is now immortalized in Barbadian folklore and song.

On Igbo Day, I salute Ma'zi Olaudah Equiano, another 12-year-old slave-boy, for proudly writing: "I am Eboe" (Abu m Igbo). I thank Ma'zi Equiano for providing us the earliest written account of the culture and customs of Ndi Igbo. I thank Ma'zi Equiano for chronicling the horrific injustices of slavery.

The following chant mourned the loss of young Olaudah:

Who are we looking for, who are we looking for?
It's Equiano we're looking for.
Has he gone to the stream? Let him come back.
Has he gone to the farm? Let him return.
It's Equiano we're looking for.

Ma'zi Equiano is an ichie, nna-mmuo (revered ancestor, great spirit). Scholars immortalized this nwa'afo Igbo (true son of the soil) with the title: "father of black literature."

On Igbo Day, I invoke the spirits of the ten heroic "Eboe" men, women, and children of Georgia's Sea Islands who jumped off a slave ship and drowned themselves to escape slavery. Sea Islands folklore recalls how ten defiant and courageous "Eboe" slaves, shackled at their ankles and necks, with tears in their eyes, chanted in unison, the eerie refrain:

"The water brought us; the water will take us away."

The act of courage and fierce resistance of the "Eboes" to the condition of bondage is immortalized in the folklore and song of the Gullah people of coastal Georgia.

May the spirits of those "Lost Igbos" walk beside you, whisper to you, and guide you in your quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Ma'zi Equiano described himself as a "stranger in a strange land." As strangers in Canada, I commend you for providing an opportunity for Umu Igbo to know their brothers and sisters. Ndi b'anyi si na njiko ka, mmadu ka e ji aba.

Igbo Kwenu!
[Chukwurah nwa Emeagwali bu onye onicha]

 

 

Emeagwali

Chukwurah Emeagwali dropped out of school at the age of 12, served in the Biafran army at the age of 14 and came to the United States on scholarship in March 1974. Emeagwali won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize, computation's Nobel Prize, for inventing a formula that lets computers perform their fastest computations, work that led to the reinvention of supercomputers. He has been extolled by Bill Clinton as "one of the great minds of the Information Age," described by CNN as "A Father of the Internet," and is the world's most searched-for scientist on the Internet.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

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Ja Ja of Opobo



Birth: c. 1820
Death: 1891
Nationality: Nigerian
Occupation: politician, nationalist, slave
Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

JaJa of Opobo (ca. 1820-1891) was a political and military strategist, brought to the Bonny Kingdom as a slave, who was perhaps the most troublesome thorn in the flesh of 19th-century British imperial ambition in southern Nigeria.

The story of Ja Ja recounts a man of servile status hurdling intimidating odds to attain wealth and power, and founding in the latter half of the 19th century the most prosperous city-state in the Delta area of Nigeria. Information regarding his parentage and early childhood, derived from uncertain and speculative oral tradition, is scanty and unsatisfactory. According to informed guesstimates, Ja Ja was born in 1820 or 1821, in the lineage of Umuduruoha of Amaigbo village group in the heartland of Igboland, Southeastern Nigeria. He was sold into slavery in the Niger Delta under circumstances which are far from clear. One version of the oral traditions says that he was sold because, as a baby, he cut the upper teeth first, an abominable phenomenon in traditional Igbo society. Another version claims that he was captured and sold by his father's enemy. Regardless, he was bought by Chief Iganipughuma Allison of Bonny, by far the most powerful city-state on the Atlantic coast of Southeastern Nigeria before the rise of Opobo.

To follow the Ja Ja story or, indeed, revolution, an explanatory note is necessary. Until the end of the 19th century, the Delta communities played a crucial role in European and American trade with Nigeria. Acting as middlemen, these communities carried into the interior markets the trade goods of European and American supercargoes stationed on the coast and brought back in exchange the export produce of the hinterland, basically palm oil. As the Delta is dominated by saline swamps and crisscrossed by a labyrinth of creeks and rivers, the canoe was indispensable for trade.

The Delta society was organized in Canoe Houses. A Canoe House was the pivot of social organization and also, notes K.O. Dike, "a cooperative trading unit and a local government institution." It was usually composed of a wealthy merchant (its founder), his family, and numerous slaves owned by him. A prosperous house could comprise several thousand members, both free and bonded, owning hundreds of trade canoes. In this inte

 

 

nsely competitive society, leadership by merit--not by birth or ascriptions--was necessary if a house was to make headway in the turbulent, cut-throat competition that existed between houses. Any person with the charisma and proven ability, even if of servile birth, could rise to the leadership of a house, but could never become king. Ja Ja would achieve this, and much more.

Finding young Ja Ja too headstrong for his liking, Chief Allison made a gift of him to his friend, Madu, a chief of the Anna Pepple House, one of the two houses of the royal family (the other being the Manilla Pepple House). Ja Ja was slotted into the lowest rung of the Bonny slave society ladder, that of an imported slave, distinct from that of someone who was of slave parentage but born in the Delta.

As a youth, he worked as a paddler on his owner's great trade canoes, traveling to and from the inland markets. Quite early, he demonstrated exceptional abilities and business acumen, quickly identified with the Ijo custom of the Delta, and won the hearts of the local people as well as those of the European supercargoes. It was unusual for a slave of his status to make the transition from canoe paddling to trading, but Ja Ja--through his honesty, business sense, and amiability--soon became prosperous.

For a long while, Ja Ja turned his back on Bonny politics, concentrating his immense energies on accumulating wealth through trade, the single most important criterion to power in the Delta. At the time, Bonny politics were volatile as a result of the irreconcilable and acrimonious contest for supremacy between the Manilla Pepple House and the Anna Pepple House to which Ja Ja belonged. Coincidentally, both houses were led by remarkable characters of Igbo slave origins--Oko Jumbo of the Manilla House and Madu (after him Alali his son) of the Anna House.

Ja Ja Rescues Debt-Ridden House

In 1863, Alali died, bequeathing to his house a frightening debt of between £10,000 and £15,000 owed to European supercargoes. Fearing bankruptcy, all of the eligible chiefs of the house declined nomination to head it. It was therefore a great relief when Ja Ja accepted to fill the void. With characteristic energy, he proceeded to put his house in order by reorganizing its finances. Conscious that the palm-oil markets in the hinterland and the wealth of the European trading community on the coast constituted the pivot of the Delta economy, he ingratiated himself with both sides. In a matter of two years, he had liquidated the debt left behind by his predecessor and launched his house on the path of prosperity. When less prosperous and insolvent houses sought incorporation into the Anna House, Ja Ja gradually absorbed one house after another.

By 1867, his remarkable success had become common knowledge throughout Bonny. The British consul to the area, Sir Richard Burton, had cause to remark that although Ja Ja was the "son of an unknown bush man," he had become "the most influential man and greatest trader in the [Imo] River." Predicted Burton: "In a short time he will either be shot or he will beat down all his rivals."

Burton's words proved prophetic. Ja Ja's successes incurred the jealousy of opponents who feared that, if left unchecked, his house might incorporate most of the houses in Bonny and thereby dominate its political and economic arena. Oko Jumbo, his bitterest opponent, was determined that such a prospect would never materialize.

Meanwhile, two developments occurred in Bonny, serving to harden existing jealousies. First, in 1864, Christianity was introduced into the city-state, further polarizing the society. While the Manilla House welcomed the Christians with a warm embrace, the Anna House was opposed to the exotic religion. Not surprisingly, the missionaries sided with the Manilla House against the Anna House. Second, in 1865, King William Pepple died and, with this, the contest for the throne between the two royal houses took on a monstrous posture.

Three years later, in 1868, Bonny was ravaged by fire, and the Anna House was the worst hit. In the discomfiture of his opponent, Oko Jumbo saw his opportunity. Knowing that the fire had all but critically crippled Ja Ja's house, he sought every means to provoke an open conflict. On the other side, Ja Ja did everything to avoid such a conflict, but, as Dike states, "Oko Jumbo's eagerness to catch his powerful enemy unprepared prevailed."

On September 13, 1869, heavy fighting erupted between the two royal houses. Outmatched in men and armament, though not in strategy, Ja Ja pulled out of Bonny, accepted defeat, and sued for peace with a suddenness that surprised both his adversaries and the European supercargoes. Peace palaver commenced and dragged on for weeks under the auspices of the British consul. This was exactly what Ja Ja planned for. It soon became doubtful if the victors were not indeed the vanquished.

Ja Ja had sued for peace in order to gain time to retreat from Bonny with his supporters with little or no loss in men and armament. A master strategist, he relocated in the Andoni country away from the seaboard at a strategic point at the mouth of the Imo river, the highway of trade between the coastal communities and the palm-oil rich Kwa Iboe and Igbo country. There, he survived the initial problems of a virgin settlement as well as incessant attacks of his Bonny enemies.

He Proclaims Independent Settlement Of Opobo

In 1870, feeling reasonably secure, Ja Ja proclaimed the independence of his settlement which he named Opobo, after Opubu the Great, the illustrious king of Bonny and founder of Anna House who had died in 1830. As Dike writes:

[I]t is characteristic of the man that he had not only a sense of the occasion but of history. . . . Kingship was impossible of attainment for anyone of slave origins in Bonny. Instead he sought another land where he could give full scope to his boundless energies.

Long before the war of 1869, Ja Ja had been carefully planning to found his own state. The war merely provided him with the occasion to implement his design.

In naming his new territory Opobo, Ja Ja was appealing to the nostalgia and historical consciousness of his followers while giving them the impression that he was truly the heir of the celebrated king. That this impression was widespread and accepted by most Bonny citizens may be judged from the fact that of the 18 houses in Bonny, 14 followed Ja Ja to Opobo.

To no avail, the British consul tried to coerce Ja Ja to come back to Bonny. Against the admonition of the consul, and in the face of Bonny's displeasure, many British firms began to trade openly with Opobo while others transferred their depots there. By May of 1870, the Ja Ja revolution had driven the death-knell on Bonny's economy. British firms anchoring there are said to have lost an estimated £100,000 of trade by mid-1870. The city-state fell from grace to grass as Opobo, flourishing on its ashes, became in Ofonagoro's words, "the most important trade center in the Oil Rivers," and Ja Ja became "the greatest African living in the east of modern Nigeria."

For 18 years, Ja Ja ruled his kingdom with firmness and remarkable sagacity. He strengthened his relations with the hinterland palm-oil producers through judicious marriages and blood covenants which bound the parties into ritual kingship. He armed his traders with modern weapons for their own defense and that of the state. He thus monopolized trade with the palm-oil producers and punished severely any community that tried to trade directly with the European supercargoes.

Queen Victoria Awards Ja Ja Sword Of Honor

In 1873, the British recognized him as king of independent Opobo, and Ja Ja reciprocated by sending a contingent of his soldiers to help the British in their war against the Ashanti kingdom in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Queen Victoria expressed her gratitude in 1875 by awarding him a sword of honor. It seemed a honeymoon had developed between Opobo and Britain.

Ja Ja's reign has been described as a striking instance of selective modernization. He retained most of the sociopolitical and cultural institutions of Bonny, such as the house system, and stuck steadfastly to the religion of his fathers, arguing that Christianity was a serious ferment of societal destabilization. While recognizing the value of Western education and literacy, he objected to its religious component. Thus, he sent his two sons to school in Scotland but insisted they acquire only secular education. He established a secular school in Opobo and employed an African-American, Emma White, to run it. An Englishman who visited Opobo in 1885 stated that the standard of the pupils in the school compared quite favorably with that of English children of the same age.

The honeymoon between Ja Ja and the British turned out to be meteoric: the ultimate ambitions of the two ran at cross-purposes. Ja Ja guarded his independence jealously, had a tight grip on the interior markets and confined British traders to Opobo, away from these markets. He made sure that the traders paid their comeys (customs and trade duties) as and when due.

But in the 1880s, the clouds of British imperialism were closing in menacingly on Opobo, the overthrow of indigenous sovereignties having been initiated by John Beecroft, the first British consul to Nigeria (1849-54). British imperialism had begun to assert itself forcefully; British officials on the spot were increasingly ignoring indigenous authorities, while British traders had begun to insist on trading directly with the hinterland palm-oil producers. Ja Ja tackled these formidable problems judiciously and with restraint.

In July 1884, fearing German intrusion in the Delta, the British consul, Edward Hewett, rushed to the area, foisting treaties of protection on the indigenous sovereignties. With a veiled threat from a man-of-war, Ja Ja too was stampeded into placing his kingdom under British protection. But unlike the other African monarchs, this was not before he had sought explanation for the word "protectorate," and had been assured by the consul that his independence would not be compromised. Hewett wrote to Ja Ja informing him, inter alia (among other things), that:

the queen does not want to take your country or your markets, but at the same time she is anxious that no other nation should take them. She undertakes . . . [to] leave your country still under your government; she has no wish to disturb your rule.

At Ja Ja's insistence, a clause providing for free trade in his kingdom was struck off before he agreed to sign the treaty.

European Powers Sign Treaty Of Berlin

The following year, European powers entered into the Treaty of Berlin which set the stage for the scramble and partition of Africa among themselves, without regard to the wishes of Africans. The treaty provided for free navigation on River Niger and other rivers, such as the Imo, linked to it. On the basis of this, the British consul asserted that British firms were within their rights to trade directly in the interior palm-oil markets. That same year, 1885, Britain proclaimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, which included Ja Ja's territory. Sending a delegation to the British secretary of states for the colonies to protest these actions by right of the treaty of 1884, Ja Ja's protest fell on deaf ears. A man of his word, he was shocked at Britain reneging on her pledge.

Worse times were yet to come as political problems were compounded by economic dispute. The 1880s witnessed a severe trade depression that ruined some of the European firms trading in the Delta and threatened the survival of others. The surviving firms responded to the situation in two ways. First, they reached an agreement among themselves, though not with complete unanimity, to offer low prices for produce. Second, they claimed the right to go directly to the interior markets in order to sidestep the coastal middlemen and reduce the handling cost of produce.

As would be expected, Ja Ja objected to these maneuvers and proceeded to ship his own produce directly to Europe. The British consul directed the European firms not to pay comey to Ja Ja anymore, arguing that in shipping his produce directly to Europe, he had forfeited his right to receive the payment. Once again, Ja Ja sent a delegation to Britain to protest the consul and the traders' action. Once again, this was to no avail.

Under a threat of naval bombardment, Ja Ja signed an agreement with the British consul in July 1887 to allow free trade in his territory. By now, he knew that Britain's imperial ambition was growing rapidly, and he began transferring his resources further into the Igbo hinterland, his birthplace. But as Elizabeth Isichei points out, "he was confronted with a situation where courage and foresight were ultimately in vain."

British Official Reneges On Promises

Harry Johnston, acting vice-consul, a young hothead anxious to advance his colonial career, imagined that Ja Ja would be a perfect stepping-stone to attain his ambition. Arriving at Opobo on a man-of-war, Johnston invited Ja Ja for a discussion on how to resolve the points of friction between Opobo and the British traders and officials. Suspicious of Johnston's real intentions, Ja Ja initially turned down the invitation but was lured to accept with a promise of safe return after the meeting. Said Johnston:

I hereby assure you that whether you accept or reject my proposals tomorrow, no restrictions will be put on you--you will be free to go as soon as you have heard my message.

But again the British reneged on their pledge: Ja Ja would not return to his kingdom alive. Once on board the warship Goshawk, Johnston confronted him with a deportation order or the complete destruction of Opobo. Nearly 18 years to the day when he pulled out of Bonny, Ja Ja was deported to the Gold Coast, tried, and declared guilty of actions inimical to Britain's interest. Still afraid of his charm and influence on the Gold Coast, even in captivity, Johnston saw to it that he was deported to the West Indies, at St. Vincent Island.

With the exit of Ja Ja, the most formidable obstacle to Britain's imperial ambition in Southeastern Nigeria had been removed. But the circumstances of his removal left a sour taste in certain British mouths. Lord Salisbury, British prime minister, could not help criticizing Johnston, noting that in other places Ja Ja's deportation would be called "kidnapping." Michael Crowder describes the event as "one of the shabbiest incidents in the history of Britain's relations with West Africa." Among the indigenous population, it left a deep and lasting scar of suspicion of Britain's good faith and, for a long time, trade in the area all but ceased.

In exile, Ja Ja is said to have borne himself with kingly dignity. He made repeated appeals to Britain to allow him to return to Opobo. In 1891, his request was granted, belatedly as it turned out: Ja Ja died on the Island of Teneriffe en route to Opobo, the kingdom built with his sweat and devotion. His people gladly paid the cost of repatriating his body and spent a fortune celebrating his royal funeral.

Today, an imposing statue of Ja Ja stands in the center of Opobo with the inscription:

A king in title and in deed. Always just and generous.

 

FURTHER READINGS

  • Burn, Alarn. History of Nigeria. George Allen & Unwin, 1929.
  • Dike, Kenneth O. Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885. Oxford University Press, 1956.
  • Isichei, Elizabeth. A History of the Igbo People. Macmillan, 1976.
  • Ogonagoro, Walter I. Trade and Imperialism in Southern Nigeria, 1881-1929. Nok Publishers, 1979.

 

 

Ja Ja of Opobo



Birth: c. 1820
Death: 1891
Nationality: Nigerian
Occupation: revolutionary, ruler
Source: Historic World Leaders. Gale Research, 1994.

"Several of the Igbos who were brought to the [Niger] Delta as slaves showed an outstanding ability to triumph over circumstances. Of these, the most celebrated and the most outstanding was Ja Ja of Opobo. . . ." Elizabeth Ischei

Political and military strategist, brought to the Bonny Kingdom as a slave, who was perhaps the most troublesome thorn in the flesh of 19th-century British imperial ambition in southern Nigeria.

 

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

The story of Ja Ja recounts a man of servile status hurdling intimidating odds to attain wealth and power, and founding in the latter half of the 19th century the most prosperous city-state in the Delta area of Nigeria. Information regarding his parentage and early childhood, derived from uncertain and speculative oral tradition, is scanty and unsatisfactory. According to informed guesstimates, Ja Ja was born in 1820 or 1821, in the lineage of Umuduruoha of Amaigbo village group in the heartland of Igboland, Southeastern Nigeria. He was sold into slavery in the Niger Delta under circumstances which are far from clear. One version of the oral traditions says that he was sold because, as a baby, he cut the upper teeth first, an abominable phenomenon in traditional Igbo society. Another version claims that he was captured and sold by his father's enemy. Regardless, he was bought by Chief Iganipughuma Allison of Bonny, by far the most powerful city-state on the Atlantic coast of Southeastern Nigeria before the rise of Opobo.

To follow the Ja Ja story or, indeed, revolution, an explanatory note is necessary. Until the end of the 19th century, the Delta communities played a crucial role in European and American trade with Nigeria. Acting as middlemen, these communities carried into the interior markets the trade goods of European and American supercargoes stationed on the coast and brought back in exchange the export produce of the hinterland, basically palm oil. As the Delta is dominated by saline swamps and crisscrossed by a labyrinth of creeks and rivers, the canoe was indispensable for trade.

The Delta society was organized in Canoe Houses. A Canoe House was the pivot of social organization and also, notes K.O. Dike, "a cooperative trading unit and a local government institution." It was usually composed of a wealthy merchant (its founder), his family, and numerous slaves owned by him. A prosperous house could comprise several thousand members, both free and bonded, owning hundreds of trade canoes. In this intensely competitive society, leadership by merit--not by birth or ascriptions--was necessary if a house was to make headway in the turbulent, cut-throat competition that existed between houses. Any person with the charisma and proven ability, even if of servile birth, could rise to the leadership of a house, but could never become king. Ja Ja would achieve this, and much more.

Finding young Ja Ja too headstrong for his liking, Chief Allison made a gift of him to his friend, Madu, a chief of the Anna Pepple House, one of the two houses of the royal family (the other being the Manilla Pepple House). Ja Ja was slotted into the lowest rung of the Bonny slave society ladder, that of an imported slave, distinct from that of someone who was of slave parentage but born in the Delta.

As a youth, he worked as a paddler on his owner's great trade canoes, traveling to and from the inland markets. Quite early, he demonstrated exceptional abilities and business acumen, quickly identified with the Ijo custom of the Delta, and won the hearts of the local people as well as those of the European supercargoes. It was unusual for a slave of his status to make the transition from canoe paddling to trading, but Ja Ja--through his honesty, business sense, and amiability--soon became prosperous.

For a long while, Ja Ja turned his back on Bonny politics, concentrating his immense energies on accumulating wealth through trade, the single most important criterion to power in the Delta. At the time, Bonny politics were volatile as a result of the irreconcilable and acrimonious contest for supremacy between the Manilla Pepple House and the Anna Pepple House to which Ja Ja belonged. Coincidentally, both houses were led by remarkable characters of Igbo slave origins--Oko Jumbo of the Manilla House and Madu (after him Alali his son) of the Anna House.

Ja Ja Rescues Debt-Ridden House

In 1863, Alali died, bequeathing to his house a frightening debt of between £10,000 and £15,000 owed to European supercargoes. Fearing bankruptcy, all of the eligible chiefs of the house declined nomination to head it. It was therefore a great relief when Ja Ja accepted to fill the void. With characteristic energy, he proceeded to put his house in order by reorganizing its finances. Conscious that the palm-oil markets in the hinterland and the wealth of the European trading community on the coast constituted the pivot of the Delta economy, he ingratiated himself with both sides. In a matter of two years, he had liquidated the debt left behind by his predecessor and launched his house on the path of prosperity. When less prosperous and insolvent houses sought incorporation into the Anna House, Ja Ja gradually absorbed one house after another.

By 1867, his remarkable success had become common knowledge throughout Bonny. The British consul to the area, Sir Richard Burton, had cause to remark that although Ja Ja was the "son of an unknown bush man," he had become "the most influential man and greatest trader in the [Imo] River." Predicted Burton: "In a short time he will either be shot or he will beat down all his rivals."

Burton's words proved prophetic. Ja Ja's successes incurred the jealousy of opponents who feared that, if left unchecked, his house might incorporate most of the houses in Bonny and thereby dominate its political and economic arena. Oko Jumbo, his bitterest opponent, was determined that such a prospect would never materialize.

Meanwhile, two developments occurred in Bonny, serving to harden existing jealousies. First, in 1864, Christianity was introduced into the city-state, further polarizing the society. While the Manilla House welcomed the Christians with a warm embrace, the Anna House was opposed to the exotic religion. Not surprisingly, the missionaries sided with the Manilla House against the Anna House. Second, in 1865, King William Pepple died and, with this, the contest for the throne between the two royal houses took on a monstrous posture.

Three years later, in 1868, Bonny was ravaged by fire, and the Anna House was the worst hit. In the discomfiture of his opponent, Oko Jumbo saw his opportunity. Knowing that the fire had all but critically crippled Ja Ja's house, he sought every means to provoke an open conflict. On the other side, Ja Ja did everything to avoid such a conflict, but, as Dike states, "Oko Jumbo's eagerness to catch his powerful enemy unprepared prevailed."

On September 13, 1869, heavy fighting erupted between the two royal houses. Outmatched in men and armament, though not in strategy, Ja Ja pulled out of Bonny, accepted defeat, and sued for peace with a suddenness that surprised both his adversaries and the European supercargoes. Peace palaver commenced and dragged on for weeks under the auspices of the British consul. This was exactly what Ja Ja planned for. It soon became doubtful if the victors were not indeed the vanquished.

Ja Ja had sued for peace in order to gain time to retreat from Bonny with his supporters with little or no loss in men and armament. A master strategist, he relocated in the Andoni country away from the seaboard at a strategic point at the mouth of the Imo river, the highway of trade between the coastal communities and the palm-oil rich Kwa Iboe and Igbo country. There, he survived the initial problems of a virgin settlement as well as incessant attacks of his Bonny enemies.

He Proclaims Independent Settlement Of Opobo

In 1870, feeling reasonably secure, Ja Ja proclaimed the independence of his settlement which he named Opobo, after Opubu the Great, the illustrious king of Bonny and founder of Anna House who had died in 1830. As Dike writes:

[I]t is characteristic of the man that he had not only a sense of the occasion but of history. . . . Kingship was impossible of attainment for anyone of slave origins in Bonny. Instead he sought another land where he could give full scope to his boundless energies.

Long before the war of 1869, Ja Ja had been carefully planning to found his own state. The war merely provided him with the occasion to implement his design.

In naming his new territory Opobo, Ja Ja was appealing to the nostalgia and historical consciousness of his followers while giving them the impression that he was truly the heir of the celebrated king. That this impression was widespread and accepted by most Bonny citizens may be judged from the fact that of the 18 houses in Bonny, 14 followed Ja Ja to Opobo.

To no avail, the British consul tried to coerce Ja Ja to come back to Bonny. Against the admonition of the consul, and in the face of Bonny's displeasure, many British firms began to trade openly with Opobo while others transferred their depots there. By May of 1870, the Ja Ja revolution had driven the death-knell on Bonny's economy. British firms anchoring there are said to have lost an estimated £100,000 of trade by mid-1870. The city-state fell from grace to grass as Opobo, flourishing on its ashes, became in Ofonagoro's words, "the most important trade center in the Oil Rivers," and Ja Ja became "the greatest African living in the east of modern Nigeria."

For 18 years, Ja Ja ruled his kingdom with firmness and remarkable sagacity. He strengthened his relations with the hinterland palm-oil producers through judicious marriages and blood covenants which bound the parties into ritual kingship. He armed his traders with modern weapons for their own defense and that of the state. He thus monopolized trade with the palm-oil producers and punished severely any community that tried to trade directly with the European supercargoes.

Queen Victoria Awards Ja Ja Sword Of Honor

In 1873, the British recognized him as king of independent Opobo, and Ja Ja reciprocated by sending a contingent of his soldiers to help the British in their war against the Ashanti kingdom in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Queen Victoria expressed her gratitude in 1875 by awarding him a sword of honor. It seemed a honeymoon had developed between Opobo and Britain.

Ja Ja's reign has been described as a striking instance of selective modernization. He retained most of the sociopolitical and cultural institutions of Bonny, such as the house system, and stuck steadfastly to the religion of his fathers, arguing that Christianity was a serious ferment of societal destabilization. While recognizing the value of Western education and literacy, he objected to its religious component. Thus, he sent his two sons to school in Scotland but insisted they acquire only secular education. He established a secular school in Opobo and employed an African-American, Emma White, to run it. An Englishman who visited Opobo in 1885 stated that the standard of the pupils in the school compared quite favorably with that of English children of the same age.

The honeymoon between Ja Ja and the British turned out to be meteoric: the ultimate ambitions of the two ran at cross-purposes. Ja Ja guarded his independence jealously, had a tight grip on the interior markets and confined British traders to Opobo, away from these markets. He made sure that the traders paid their comeys (customs and trade duties) as and when due.

But in the 1880s, the clouds of British imperialism were closing in menacingly on Opobo, the overthrow of indigenous sovereignties having been initiated by John Beecroft, the first British consul to Nigeria (1849-54). British imperialism had begun to assert itself forcefully; British officials on the spot were increasingly ignoring indigenous authorities, while British traders had begun to insist on trading directly with the hinterland palm-oil producers. Ja Ja tackled these formidable problems judiciously and with restraint.

In July 1884, fearing German intrusion in the Delta, the British consul, Edward Hewett, rushed to the area, foisting treaties of protection on the indigenous sovereignties. With a veiled threat from a man-of-war, Ja Ja too was stampeded into placing his kingdom under British protection. But unlike the other African monarchs, this was not before he had sought explanation for the word "protectorate," and had been assured by the consul that his independence would not be compromised. Hewett wrote to Ja Ja informing him, inter alia (among other things), that:

the queen does not want to take your country or your markets, but at the same time she is anxious that no other nation should take them. She undertakes . . . [to] leave your country still under your government; she has no wish to disturb your rule.

At Ja Ja's insistence, a clause providing for free trade in his kingdom was struck off before he agreed to sign the treaty.

European Powers Sign Treaty Of Berlin

The following year, European powers entered into the Treaty of Berlin which set the stage for the scramble and partition of Africa among themselves, without regard to the wishes of Africans. The treaty provided for free navigation on River Niger and other rivers, such as the Imo, linked to it. On the basis of this, the British consul asserted that British firms were within their rights to trade directly in the interior palm-oil markets. That same year, 1885, Britain proclaimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, which included Ja Ja's territory. Sending a delegation to the British secretary of states for the colonies to protest these actions by right of the treaty of 1884, Ja Ja's protest fell on deaf ears. A man of his word, he was shocked at Britain reneging on her pledge.

Worse times were yet to come as political problems were compounded by economic dispute. The 1880s witnessed a severe trade depression that ruined some of the European firms trading in the Delta and threatened the survival of others. The surviving firms responded to the situation in two ways. First, they reached an agreement among themselves, though not with complete unanimity, to offer low prices for produce. Second, they claimed the right to go directly to the interior markets in order to sidestep the coastal middlemen and reduce the handling cost of produce.

As would be expected, Ja Ja objected to these maneuvers and proceeded to ship his own produce directly to Europe. The British consul directed the European firms not to pay comey to Ja Ja anymore, arguing that in shipping his produce directly to Europe, he had forfeited his right to receive the payment. Once again, Ja Ja sent a delegation to Britain to protest the consul and the traders' action. Once again, this was to no avail.

Under a threat of naval bombardment, Ja Ja signed an agreement with the British consul in July 1887 to allow free trade in his territory. By now, he knew that Britain's imperial ambition was growing rapidly, and he began transferring his resources further into the Igbo hinterland, his birthplace. But as Elizabeth Isichei points out, "he was confronted with a situation where courage and foresight were ultimately in vain."

British Official Reneges On Promises

Harry Johnston, acting vice-consul, a young hothead anxious to advance his colonial career, imagined that Ja Ja would be a perfect stepping-stone to attain his ambition. Arriving at Opobo on a man-of-war, Johnston invited Ja Ja for a discussion on how to resolve the points of friction between Opobo and the British traders and officials. Suspicious of Johnston's real intentions, Ja Ja initially turned down the invitation but was lured to accept with a promise of safe return after the meeting. Said Johnston:

I hereby assure you that whether you accept or reject my proposals tomorrow, no restrictions will be put on you--you will be free to go as soon as you have heard my message.

But again the British reneged on their pledge: Ja Ja would not return to his kingdom alive. Once on board the warship Goshawk, Johnston confronted him with a deportation order or the complete destruction of Opobo. Nearly 18 years to the day when he pulled out of Bonny, Ja Ja was deported to the Gold Coast, tried, and declared guilty of actions inimical to Britain's interest. Still afraid of his charm and influence on the Gold Coast, even in captivity, Johnston saw to it that he was deported to the West Indies, at St. Vincent Island.

With the exit of Ja Ja, the most formidable obstacle to Britain's imperial ambition in Southeastern Nigeria had been removed. But the circumstances of his removal left a sour taste in certain British mouths. Lord Salisbury, British prime minister, could not help criticizing Johnston, noting that in other places Ja Ja's deportation would be called "kidnapping." Michael Crowder describes the event as "one of the shabbiest incidents in the history of Britain's relations with West Africa." Among the indigenous population, it left a deep and lasting scar of suspicion of Britain's good faith and, for a long time, trade in the area all but ceased.

In exile, Ja Ja is said to have borne himself with kingly dignity. He made repeated appeals to Britain to allow him to return to Opobo. In 1891, his request was granted, belatedly as it turned out: Ja Ja died on the Island of Teneriffe en route to Opobo, the kingdom built with his sweat and devotion. His people gladly paid the cost of repatriating his body and spent a fortune celebrating his royal funeral.

Today, an imposing statue of Ja Ja stands in the center of Opobo with the inscription:

A king in title and in deed. Always just and generous.

 

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Name variations: original Igbo name, Mbanaso; named Jubo Jubogha in Bonny (shortened to Jo Jo but popularized in European historical literature as Ja Ja). Born around 1820/1821 in Amaigbo village group in the heart of Igboland; died in exile in 1891 at Teneriffe Island; early childhood and personal family life unknown.

CHRONOLOGY

  • c. 1832 Brought to Bonny as a slave
  • 1863 Elected head of Anna Pepple House
  • 1865 William Pepple, king of Bonny, died; political turmoil escalated
  • 1869 Civil war erupted in Bonny; Ja Ja evacuated Bonny and founded Opobo
  • 1870 Proclaimed Opobo an independent state
  • 1873 Britain recognized Opobo as an independent state
  • 1875 Ja Ja awarded sword of honor by Queen Victoria for service in the British-Ashanti war
  • 1884 Signed a treaty of protection with Britain
  • 1885 Treaty of Berlin--prelude to European scramble for and partition of Africa; Britain proclaimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, embracing Opobo
  • 1887 British Vice Consul, Harry Johnston, deported Ja Ja to the West Indies
  • 1891 Died at Teneriffe Island

 

FURTHER READINGS

  • Burn, Alarn. History of Nigeria. George Allen & Unwin, 1929.
  • Dike, Kenneth O. Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta, 1830-1885. Oxford University Press, 1956.
  • Isichei, Elizabeth. A History of the Igbo People. Macmillan, 1976.
  • Ogonagoro, Walter I. Trade and Imperialism in Southern Nigeria, 1881-1929. Nok Publishers, 1979.

Olaudah Equiano

Also known as: Gustavus Vassa



Birth: 1745 in
Nigeria
Death: April, 1797 in
London, England
Nationality: Nigerian
Occupation: Writer, Abolitionist
Source: African Biography. 4 vols. U*X*L, 1999.

“The shrieks of the women and the groans of the dying rendered the whole a scene [on the slave ship] of horror almost inconceivable.”

 

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

When Olaudah Equiano (pronounced ek-wee-AHN-o) was 10 or 11 years old, kidnappers came into his Ibo village in what is now eastern Nigeria and took him and his sister captive. Sold into slavery in Africa and then shipped to the West Indies on a slave ship, Equiano never returned to his homeland. As a slave he sailed on ships ferrying goods and slaves between the West Indies and North America and Great Britain. On board ship and through the help of kind acquaintances, Equiano learned to read and write. By the time he was 21 years old, in 1766, he had saved enough money through years of shrewd trading to buy his freedom. As a freed slave he worked on sailing ships for several years and traveled throughout the Mediterranean and even to the Arctic. Eventually, he settled in England and became involved in the antislavery movement.

In 1789 Equiano published a two-volume book, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African. It is an account of his life, from his childhood in Africa to being a slave and then a free man. His book was famous in its time, running into 17 editions in Great Britain and the United States and translated into Dutch and German. The autobiography provides unique insight into the experiences of an African as a slave and the problems of a freed slave.

Taken captive

Equiano recalls in his narrative how kidnappers stole him and his sister from their family's village when the elders were out working in the fields. He says they traveled about six or seven months before he reached the coast. Some time during the trip, he and his sister were separated from each other. Equiano went from one master to another on the way to the coast; once a master sold him for cowrie shells (small hard white shells from the Indian Ocean used as money by West Africans). Once he arrived at the coast, British slavers bought him for work on the plantations in the West Indies or Caribbean. Equiano says he was put on board by "those white men with horrible looks, red faces and loose hair.... I asked them if we were not to be eaten by [them]." The following is his description of the conditions aboard the slave ship.

"The stench of the hold while we were on the coast was so intolerably loathsome that it was dangerous to remain there for any time.... The closeness of the place and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. This produced copious perspirations, so that the air soon became unfit for respiration from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died.... This wretched situation was again aggravated by the galling of the chains, now become insupportable, and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women and the groans of the dying rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable."

After several months at sea, the ship landed at Bridgetown, Barbados, where the traders sold the surviving slaves to merchants and sugar planters. No one bought Equiano, probably because he was too young to provide much labor. They put him and other unsaleable slaves on board a boat bound for the colony of Virginia. There he worked on a plantation belonging to a Mr. Campbell, pulling weeds and collecting stones. Not long after, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Michael Henry Pascal, bought him from Campbell for between 30 and 40 pounds sterling. Pascal commanded a merchant ship trading between the colonies and England. He bought Equiano as a present for a friend in England. On board ship Pascal gave him the name Gustavus Vassa. (Why Pascal named Equiano Gustavus Vasa is a mystery. Gustavus Vasa [1496-1560] was one of the greatest Swedish kings. Equiano spelled Vasa with a double s.) Luckily for Equiano, a 13-year-old American boy named Richard Baker, only a few years older than he, was on board and the two boys became fast friends. After 13 weeks at sea, the ship landed at Falmouth, England. Equiano remained in England, on the isle of Guernsey, with Richard Baker and a family friend of the captain. In the summer of 1757 Pascal sent for him and for Baker.

Education at sea and in England

In 1754 France and Britain went to war in North America over control of the fur trading posts and land west of the Appalachian Mountains and over fishing rights off the coast of Canada. The British Royal Navy commissioned Pascal as first lieutenant of the HMS Roebuck to fight against France along the Newfoundland coast of Canada. Initially France was successful. But when British General James Wolfe took command of the troops in the New World, the British quickly turned the situation around and conquered all of French Canada. As a slave on board the Roebuck, Equiano was present at the siege of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia in 1758.

When they returned to England, Equiano lived with some friends of Pascal's, the two Guerin sisters. They sent him to school, where he had an opportunity to learn to read and write. They also arranged for his baptism in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, in 1759.

Later that year, Pascal set sail again, this time aboard the Namur for the Mediterranean. While the Namur was taking on supplies at Gibraltar, the French fleet attacked them. The British eventually repelled them but Pascal suffered some injuries. When he recovered, he was given command of a fire ship called the Aetna. Equiano became his steward, a position he says he enjoyed because he had free time to improve on his reading and writing skills.

Cheated of his freedom

Toward the end of 1761 the ship returned to England, to Deptford on the Thames. Although Equiano says he had no specific promise from the captain that he would be given his freedom when they returned to England, he certainly expected it. Instead, the captain forced Equiano onto a barge and later onto a ship sailing for the West Indies. Equiano believed that Pascal had cheated him of his freedom because, he claimed, the law in England held that a baptized man could not be sold. Equiano also accused Pascal of keeping his prize money--his share in the value of the ships captured and their cargoes. Equiano's protests were useless and he soon found himself at sea again, headed for the West Indies.

Under instruction from Pascal, the captain sold Equiano when they got to Montserrat in February 1763 to a Quaker merchant, Robert King. King had a reputation as a kind and charitable man and while working for King, Equiano did a little trading of his own. He would make a small profit by buying an item in the Indies and reselling it for a small profit in North America. Likewise he would purchase something in North America and then sell it in the Indies for a small profit. In this way he earned enough money eventually to buy his freedom from King, who reluctantly agreed to accept 40 pounds sterling and grant Equiano his freedom in 1766.

Equiano soon found, however, that the life of a freed man in the islands was fraught with danger. Blacks had no protection under the law and might easily be kidnapped and taken away on a ship as a slave. To protect himself, Equiano signed on as a sailor for 36 shillings a month on a ship going to England. He learned about sailing on his many voyages between North America and the islands.

Life as a freed slave

Equiano continued as a sailor for several more voyages. Once he had to command the ship himself as the captain and first mate took ill. The captain died on board the ship and Equiano successfully sailed the sloop safely into harbor. He also survived a shipwreck in the Bahamas caused by a self-assured captain who steered an incorrect course.

In 1766 Equiano went to London where he worked for a short time as a hair dresser, a skill he had learned aboard ship. Unable to make ends meet in London, in 1768 he signed up again as a sailor on a ship going to Turkey. He spent several more years sailing in the Mediterranean and made several more trips to the West Indies. In the early 1770s he returned to England and worked for Dr Irving, whose business was purifying salt water into potable or drinkable water. Equiano acted as his assistant, purifying between 26 and 40 gallons a day. When a Captain Phipps asked Equiano to accompany him on an expedition to the Arctic, Irving asked to join Equiano on the trip. Equiano says that in their four-month voyage they explored farther north than any navigation team had done before.

Not long after their return to London, Dr. Irving bought a 150-ton sloop (sailing boat) that he planned to sail to Jamaica to establish a plantation there. In 1775 Equiano accompanied him on this venture. After several months with the doctor along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras, Equiano left and returned to Jamaica. He planned to go back to England, but in several instances of bad judgement, he put his trust in people who duped, cheated, and enslaved him. Finally, in January 1777, he returned to England.

Joins the antislavery crusade

The final phase of Equiano's life was much more predictable and serene than the years leading up to it. He became involved in the antislavery movement and began work on his autobiography. Because of his activities in the abolitionist movement, the naval authorities in England appointed him Commissary for Provisions and Stores for the Black Poor going to Sierra Leone. In 1787 British abolitionists, humanitarians and church groups had established a community for freed slaves in Sierra Leone, a small British colony on the West Coast of Africa. The Sierra Leone Company started as an experimental colony with 411 freed slaves repatriated from Britain. Its goals were to "introduce civilisation among the natives and to cultivate the soil by means of free labour."

Equiano never made the trip back to Africa. He quarrelled constantly with the agent and wrote a public letter to the newspaper accusing the promoters of the expedition of corruption and deception. In retaliation the agent accused him of insubordination (disobedience to authority) and insolent behavior toward his superiors. The Navy dismissed Equiano from his post and the expedition went ahead, although slightly delayed.

After his dismissal from the expedition, Equiano completed his book. When it was published in 1789 he traveled throughout England promoting it and making speeches against the slave trade. In 1792 , at the age of 47, he married Susan (or Susanna) Cullen. Historians disagree as to whether he had a son or a daughter. It seems fairly certain, however, that he and his wife had a daughter who died while a young child. Equiano died only four months after his daughter, in late April or early May 1797. Although Equiano did not live to see the abolition of slavery, his narrative made the public aware of the horrors of the trade.

 

FURTHER READINGS

  • Equiano's Travels: His Autobiography: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African Life. Paul Edwards, editor. London: Heinemann, 1967.
  • Jones, G. I. "Olaudah Equiano of the Niger Ibo," Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade. Philip D. Curtin, ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1977.

 



A copy of Equiano's marriage certificate. On the 7th of April 1792, Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) married Susannah Cullen at St Andrew's Church, Soham.

Olaudah Equiano

Also known as: Gustavus Vassa



Birth: 1745 in Essaka,
Benin Province, Nigeria
Death: c. 1801 in
London, England
Nationality: African
Occupation: slave, author
Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Olaudah Equiano (1745-ca. 1801) was an African slave, freedman, and author who wrote the first outstanding autobiography in slave narrative literature.

Olaudah Equiano was born at Essaka, an Ibo village (not now known) in the Benin Province of present-day Nigeria. At age 11 he was kidnaped into domestic slavery. After short service in African households he was sold to British slavers in 1756 and sent to Barbados in the West Indies. Transshipped immediately to Virginia, Olaudah, who said his African name meant "vicissitude" or "fortune," became the personal slave of Lt. Michael Henry Pascal of the Royal Navy, who gave him his second name, Gustavus Vassa.

Thus spared the fate of plantation laborer, Equiano spent the next 30 years as servant, barber, seaman, and trader, traveling widely to such varied places as Turkey, the Arctic, Honduras, North America, and London. In the process he became a literate and articulate observer of the slave trade, slavery, and his own condition.

After service in the Seven Years War, including the siege of Louisburg on Cape Breton Island and the capture of Belle Isle, Lt. Pascal surprisingly disappointed Equiano's expectation of freedom and sent him back to the West Indies for resale in 1763. Equiano's new master, a Quaker merchant of Montserrat and Philadelphia named Robert King, gave him both recognition for his abilities and the opportunity for manumission. Employed as a clerk and captain's assistant on vessels trading in the islands and carrying slaves to the American colonies, Equiano was allowed to trade on his own account and bought his freedom in 1766 for £40, the price King had paid for him. Equiano went to London, where he qualified as a barber and musician and improved his education before taking to the sea again as a free servant in 1768.

Equiano had been baptized as a youth in 1759, but Christian religion did not deeply influence his life until during or just after participating in an Arctic expedition in search of the Northeast Passage in 1773 which nearly ended in disaster. At that time he experienced profound depression and soul-searching that resulted in his conversion to Evangelicalism in 1774. Living in London again after 1777, he petitioned the bishop of London to ordain him a missionary for service in Africa, but he failed.

Subsequently Equiano rose to prominence in London's society of free blacks, became a close friend of Ottobah Cugoano, and associated with the British humanitarians opposed to the Atlantic slave trade. In 1783, for example, he brought the famous case of the ship Zong to Granville Sharp's attention. Sharp made it a cause célèbre in the parliamentary battle for abolition. One hundred thirty-two sick and shackled slaves had been thrown overboard alive and then claimed for cargo insurance. In this connection also, late in 1786 Equiano was appointed by Charles Middleton, the comptroller of the navy, to be commissary steward of Granville Sharp's subsidized expedition to repatriate London's "Poor Blacks" in Sierra Leone. However, the scheme was beset with delays and mismanagement, and in a letter which his friend Cugoano published in London before their departure, Equiano charged his superior, Joseph Irwin, with theft of stores and ill treatment of the blacks. Middleton supported Equiano, but Irwin and several colleagues, acting through London businessmen interested in the venture, engineered his dismissal by Treasury authorities.

Equiano's famous autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of O. Equiano, or G. Vassa, the African was then written in 1787-1788 partly to vindicate his role in the Sierra Leone affair, as well as to recount his exemplary rise from slavery to freedom and to argue the case for abolition of the slave trade. Although one critic (G. I. Jones, 1967) has doubted Equiano's sole authorship because of its stylistic felicities, there is little doubt that the work was essentially his own. Unlike Ottobah Cugoano's sophisticated Bible-based discourse, Equiano's is an account of action in which the realities and iniquities of slavery and the trade emerge eloquently in the telling of his own story. Besides its importance as "the first truly notable book in the genre" of slave narratives (Arna Bontemps, 1969) and its value as one of the few genuine personal recollections of the slave trade as seen by the victims themselves (Philip Curtin, 1967), Equiano's account is especially interesting in two respects: first, for its extensive recollections of the author's African childhood and his retention of an African point of view in judging experience and, second, for its rational economic argument against the slave trade. Not only did he argue the moral transgressions of the trade but also its economic insanity. On the basis of demographic projections he urged the potential of legitimate commerce for British manufactures in Africa as an economic alternative to the trade in lives. This was a view shared with Cugoano's book, and it figured prominently in the ideological preparation for abolition.

Despite his sense of mission, Equiano was destined never to return to Africa. He lectured extensively in Britain against the slave trade during the 1790s and married an English girl, Susan (or Susanne) Cullen of Ely, in April 1792. He is believed to have died in London in 1801.

 

FURTHER READINGS

  • Equiano's own The Interesting Narrative of the Life of O. Equiano, or G. Vassa, the African was first published in two volumes in London, 1789, with eight new editions to 1795 and several more thereafter. Recently it has appeared in an abridged edition by Paul Edwards, Equiano's Travels: His Autobiography (1967), and in full in Arna Bontemps, ed., Great Slave Narratives (1969), with a useful literary introduction by the editor.
  • Equiano's place in the intellectual history of the slave trade, and African-European relations generally, is discussed in Philip Curtin's introduction to his collection, Africa Remembered: Narratives by West Africans from the Era of the Slave Trade (1967), which contains Equiano's description of his African homeland with commentary by G. I. Jones. Robert W. July, The Origins of Modern African Thought: Its Development in Western Africa during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (1967), also discusses Equiano's career and the importance of his book. Christopher Fyfe, A History of Sierra Leone (1962; rev. ed. 1963), narrates Equiano's involvement in the Sierra Leone settlement scheme, while Christopher Fyfe, ed., Sierra Leone Inheritance (1964), uses a letter of Equiano to Lord Hawkesbury in 1788 to exemplify the economic argument against the slave trade.

 



Slave legend draws people for two-day remembrance in coastal Georgia

The Associated Press
September 2, 2002


ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- In May 1803, 10 Nigerians captured and sent to work on coastal Georgia plantations chose to drown themselves in Dunbar Creek rather than live as slaves.

It is a legend known well by many islanders, keeping some from fishing or crabbing in the creek, fearing that the men continue to haunt the place.

Over the weekend, about 75 people from as far as
Nigeria visited the creek to designate the area as holy ground and to give the freed slaves peace.

"They were souls forced here to die without a proper burial. It's a step toward creating rest for us and our ancestors," said Adonijah O. Ogbonnaya, who lives in
Illinois.

The drowned slaves were from the southeast Nigerian tribe called Igbo or Ibo, which claims 40 million members worldwide.

The event, organized by the St. Simons African-American Heritage Coalition, included lessons on Igbo history and customs Friday and a Saturday procession to the drowning site.

Coastal
Georgia schools have recently begun incorporating mention of the event in history classes. There is no historical marker at the site, which is next to a sewage treatment plant built in the 1940s.

The source most often quoted by locals on the subject is a 1989 book by H.A. Sieber. It has accounts of the drowning as told by the survivors' descendants.

"It's an oral tale that's been told down -- not written. But it did happen," said Pat Morris, executive director of the Coastal
Georgia Historical Society. "It's one of those things that we're always learning more about to tell the complete story. History isn't static."

According to Sieber's book, as the men marched to their death, they sang in their native tongue: "The water brought us; the water will take us away." Some claim that around
midnight the stillness of the creek is disturbed by the clanging of chains and the men's cries.

The men's spirits have remained restless for 199 years because they never received a proper burial, said Chukwuemeka Onyesoh, who traveled from
Nigeria to help give them one.

"I came here to evoke their spirits to take them back to Igboland," he said.

Others traveled to the island from
Haiti, Belize, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Mississippi and Canada to remember the incident. Similar Igbo drownings occurred in Belize and Haiti.

The drowned men were among about 75 Igbo, including women and children, forced to leave
Nigeria on ships bound for coastal Georgia, home to profitable cotton plantations. Descendants of the survivors settled in the island's Harrington community.

Dorothy Forbes, 81, and her husband have tried to preserve the historical site, leaving intact a rickety plank bridge that leads to the creek. They welcomed the tribesmen and historians this weekend and routinely welcome pilgrims to the site.

This weekend, elder tribesmen danced, sang and prayed in her yard under towering oaks and moss-laced cypress.

"That's where they jumped ship," Forbes said while staring from her back yard. "It's hallowed ground."



---------------------------------

Researcher has new version of legend

Mon, Aug 18, 2003

By JACQUELINE BERLIN

The Brunswick News

A North Carolina researcher is challenging the 200-year-old story of Ibo Landing on St. Simons Island.

Hal Sieber, commentary editor of Carolina Peacemaker, said his research convinces him that Africans brought to the island to be sold as slaves drowned, but not the way local legend says they did.

The legend goes that all of the slaves from Igbo Land, a village democracy in West Africa, jumped overboard upon sight of St. Simons Island, preferring death to slavery, May 1803. Igbo is the African spelling of the Ibo tribe.

The incident has been recorded in numerous books about the island and told to tourists and schoolchildren.

But that version is inaccurate, Sieber said.

The corrected version goes like this, Sieber said: The Igbo were being brought to Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island and John Couper of St. Simons Island, who paid $100 for each slave. When an overseer opened the hatches as the schooner York reached the bluff of Dunbar Creek off Frederica River, the 75 Igbo on board, all males, rose at once in a revolt, Sieber said. In the confusion, three white men jumped overboard and drowned.

When the Igbo reached land, they went on what Sieber calls the first freedom march in this country. They walked into the marsh, where 10 to 12 drowned, according to a letter describing the event written by William Mein, a slave dealer from Mein, Mackay and Co. of Savannah.

The rest were salvaged by bounty hunters who received $10 a head from Spalding and Couper.

Sieber said he also heard the story from elderly descendants of the survivors of the Igbo mutiny when he visited St. Simons Island 15 years ago.

Those agreeing with his version include the St. Simons African American Heritage Coalition, which hosted Sieber this weekend at the Sea Island Festival, and the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

"(Sieber) has made it his life work to prove or disprove the story of Ibo Landing," said Joan Shinnick, curator of St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, run by Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

"The story is true. I think what differs a little bit from general legend is not all the slaves committed suicide."

She added that tourist brochures will have to be rewritten.

Ms. Shinnick said the historical society has a record of the bounty hunters getting paid for rounding up the remaining Igbo.

"They had kept the tradition alive with singing songs and retelling the story," Ms. Shinnick said. "[Sieber] was able to talk to these people and they told the same story the same way over and over. It came from enough people that he really believed what he was hearing is the truth. He went into old historic documents that corroborated story."

Some researchers believe the reason the Igbo rushed into the marsh was because of a rumor that white people were cannibals and they were scared for their lives, Sieber said.

Others call it an accidental drowning. There had been a storm that day and the incoming tide may have taken them by surprise.

To Sieber, it was suicide brought on by desperate circumstances.

"I think they were thinking they'd be dead in a few minutes, but death was better than slavery," he said.


---------------------------

 

Call is to mark site

Thu, Aug 21, 2003

By JACQUELINE BERLIN

The Brunswick News

Growing up in Brunswick in the 1960s, Anita Collins never heard the tale of Africans who drowned in Georgia in 1803 rather than accept a life of slavery.

It was while she was in college in Atlanta that she first heard of Ibo Landing. Even so it was more than a decade later, in 1989, that someone pointed out to her that the incident occurred on St. Simons Island.

If Hal Sieber has his way, there will be less chance of a black-history buff who lives in Glynn County not being familiar with Ibo Landing or the whereabouts of the site, which is on Dunbar Creek.

Two hundred years after the drownings, the North Carolina researcher and editor is calling for a monument or sculpture to mark Ibo Landing, which is also spelled Igbo Landing or Ebo Landing.

There, 10 to 12 Africans drowned after revolting on the schooner York that was carrying them from a slave-holding camp on Skiddaway Island to plantations on St. Simons and Sapelo islands.

"It's the Plymouth Rock for African Americans," Sieber said.

Sieber said there should be a monument or at least a marker on the site where slaves entered the water in what he calls the first freedom march in this country.

He would like to see a sculpture – part on land and part in the water – mark the spot where the Ibo entered the water singing what Sieber believes included the words: "The water spirit brought; the water spirit will take us home."

"They believed they would go back to Ibo the same way we believe when you die you go to heaven," he said. "They knew they would die going into the water."

Ten to 12 of the Africans died according to a letter written by a slave trader that year. The rest were rounded up by bounty hunters and returned to their original purchasers, according to records kept by the Coastal Georgia Historical Society.

Ms. Collins, who attended a lecture given by Sieber in Brunswick last Friday, said she is gratified to hear someone call for something to make it clear where the historic event happened.

"There should be a marker there. If we can have a marker for Lovers' Oak and Sydney Lanier, there needs to be a marker for Ibo Landing," she said.

That may not be easy to do, however. The pointed land, with the Frederica River on one side and Dunbar Creek on the other, where the Igbo entered the water is owned by Dorothy Forbes. She has been honored by the St. Simons African American Heritage Society for accepting history tourists who visit the property.

However, Darlin Thrower, speaking for her elderly mother, said the family would not want a marker or monument at the site.

"We live here," she said.

--------------------------------

 

LEST WE FORGET

Onye igbo, you are the keeper of Igbo culture. Reading these books will help expand your mind.

James Africanus Beale Horton, West African Countries and Peoples and A Vindication of the African Race, London: W. J. Johnson, 1868, 59.

James Africanus Beale Horton,, Physical and Medical Climate and Meteorology of the West Coast of Africa (J. Churchill, London, 1867)

James Africanus Beale Horton, Letters on the Political Condition of the Gold Coast, (W.J. Johnson, London, 1870)

Edward Wilmot Blyden, The Vindication of the Negro Race [1857]

Edward Wilmot Blyden, Christianity, Islam, and the Negro Race (W.B. Whittingham, London, 1887)

Edward Wilmot Blyden, The African Problem, and other discourses: delivered in America in 1890, London: W.B. Whittingham, 1890

Edward Wilmot Blyden, The origin and purposes of African colonization, being the annual discourse delivered at the 66th anniversary of the American Colonization Soc., (Colonization Building, Washington, 1892)

Edward Wilmot Blyden , The Jewish Question (1898)

Edward Wilmot Blyden, African Life and Customs (C.M. Phillips, London, 1908)

Edward L. Cox, Rekindling the Ancestral Memory: King Ja Ja of Opobo in St. Vincent and Barbados, 1888-1891 (Barbados, 1998).

Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, Jaja of Opobo: The Slave Who Became a King

Sylvanus John Sodienye Cookey, King Jaja of the Niger Delta: his life and times, 1821-1891

Karen Kennerly, The Slave Who Bought His Freedom: Equiano's Story

Rick Andrew, Equiano : the slave who fought to be free

Jean-Jacques Vayssieres, Amazing Adventures of Equiano

John R. Milsome, Olaudah Equiano: The Slave Who Helped to End the Slave Trade

Elizabeth Isichei, The Igbo Roots of Olaudah Equiano, Journal of African History 33.1 (Jan 1992): 164(2).

Catherine Obianuju Acholonu, The Igbo roots of Olaudah Equiano: an anthropological research

Catherine Obianuju Acholonu, The Home of Olaudah Equiano -- A Linguistic and Anthropological Search, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. 22 (1987).

Igwebuike Romeo Okeke, The Osu concept in Igboland: a study of the types of slavery in Igbo-speaking areas of Nigeria

Jude C. Mgbobukwa, Alusi, Osu, and Ohu in Igbo religion and social life

Alex Haley, Roots

Marquetta L.Goodwine, The Legacy of Ibo Landing: Gullah Roots of African American Culture

Julie Dash, Daughters of the Dust (a compelling novel on Gullah women)


QUIZ: The Lost Igbos

Do you consider yourself nwa afor Igbo? If yes, the following quiz will determine your knowledge of Ndi Igbo.

1.    When did Ndi Igbo emigrate to their present location in Nigeria? Where did the Igbos emigrate? What is the relationship between Ndi Igbo and the Bantus?

2.  Which is the darkest holocaust of Ndi Igbo? The Atlantic slave trade or Biafra? Did we learn anything from the slave trade and/or Biafra?

3.  How many Ndi Igbo were stolen during the slave trade era? How many were converted to osu and oru caste?

4.  Which small Central American nation has a place named "Eboe quarters"?

5.  Can you name the Caribbean "Eboe King" (Eze Igbo) that was executed for initiating his Island's first slave uprising?

6.  What is the meaning of the Haitian saying: “Ibos pend cor a yo”? (i.e. Igbos hang themselves)

7.  Can you name the ancestral village of Olaudah Equiano?

8.  What percentage of the slaves in the New World (North, Central and Latin Americas) could appropriately respond to the exclamation "Igbo Kwenu?"

9.  What is the full name of Dr. Baikie or the first white man to travel into Igbo heartland? The Igbo expressions Ala Bekee, Ndi Bekee translates to "land of Baikie, white people."

10.                    Who is James Africanus Horton? Why is he called the father of Igbo self-determination?

11.                      Why is Edward Wilmot Blyden called the "father of West African nationalism? Where did he refer to himself as "a true son of the Eboe tribe"?

12.                    What document contains the first recorded misspelling of "Igbo?" Hint: Igbo was previously misspelled as "Heebo," "Eboe," "Ebo," and "Ibo." Is the Igbo language endangered?

Email us your answers and suggestions.

 

Edward Wilmot Blyden



Birth:
August 3, 1832 in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Death:
February 7, 1912 in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Nationality: Liberian
Occupation: statesman, educator
Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.

BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912) was a Liberian educator and statesman. More than any other figure, he laid the foundation of West African nationalism and of pan-Africanism.

Edward Blyden was born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, on Aug. 3, 1832, of free, literate parents. A precocious youth, he early decided to become a clergyman. He went to the United States in May 1850 and sought to enter a theological college but was turned down because of his race. In January 1851 he emigrated to Liberia, a African American colony which had become independent as a republic in 1847.

He continued his formal education at Alexander High School, Monrovia, whose principal he was appointed in 1858. In 1862 he was appointed professor of classics at the newly opened Liberia College, a position he held until 1871. Although Blyden was self-taught beyond high school, he became an able and versatile linguist, classicist, theologian, historian, and sociologist. From 1864 to 1866, in addition to his professorial duties, Blyden acted as secretary of state of Liberia.

From 1871 to 1873 Blyden lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone. There he edited Negro, the first explicitly pan-African journal in West Africa. He also led two important expeditions to Fouta Djallon in the interior. Between 1874 and 1885 Blyden was again based in Liberia, holding various high academic and governmental offices. In 1885 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Liberian presidency.

After 1885 Blyden divided his time between Liberia and the British colonies of Sierra Leone and Lagos. He served Liberia again in the capacities of ambassador to Britain and France and as a professor and later president of Liberia College. In 1891 and 1894 he spent several months in Lagos and worked there in 1896-1897 as government agent for native affairs.

While in Lagos he wrote regularly for the Lagos Weekly Record, one of the earliest propagators of Nigerian and West African nationalism. In Freetown, Blyden helped to edit the Sierra Leone News, which he had assisted in founding in 1884 "to serve the interest of West Africa ... and the race generally." He also had helped found and edit the Freetown West African Reporter (1874-1882), whose declared aim was to forge a bond of unity among English-speaking West Africans. Between 1901 and 1906 Blyden was director of Moslem education; he taught English and "Western subjects" to Moslem youths with the object of building a bridge of communication between the Moslem and Christian communities. He died in Freetown on Feb. 7, 1912.

Writings, Ideas, and Hopes

Although Blyden held many important positions, it is more as a man of ideas than as a man of action that he is historically significant. He saw himself as a champion and defender of his race and in this role produced more than two dozen pamphlets and books, the most important of which are A Voice from Bleeding Africa (1856); Liberia's Offering (1862); The Negro in Ancient History (1869); The West African University (1872); From West Africa to Palestine (1873); Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race (1887), his major work; The Jewish Question (1898); West Africa before Europe (1905); and Africa Life and Customs (1908). His writings displayed conversancy with the main current of ideas as well as originality, and he was often controversial.

Blyden sought to prove that Africa and Africans have a worthy history and culture. He rejected the prevailing notion of the inferiority of the black man but accepted the view that each major race has a special contribution to make to world civilization. He argued that Christianity has had a demoralizing effect on blacks, while Islam has had a unifying and elevating influence.

Blyden's political goals were the establishment of a major modern West African state which would protect and promote the interests of peoples of African descent everywhere. He initially saw Liberia as the nucleus of such a state and sought to extend its influence and jurisdiction by encouraging selective "repatriation" from the Americas. He hoped, also in vain, that Liberia and adjacent Sierra Leone would unite as one nation. He was ambivalent about the establishment of European colonial rule; he thought that it would eventually result in modern independent nations in tropical Africa but was concerned about its damaging psychological impact. As a cultural nationalist, he pointed out that modernization was not incompatible with respect for African customs and institutions. He favored African names and dress and championed the establishment of educational and cultural institutions specifically designed to meet African needs and circumstances.

 

FURTHER READINGS

  • A full-length biography of Blyden is Hollis R. Lynch, Edward Wilmot Blyden: Pan-Negro Patriot, 1832-1912 (1967). Edith Holden, Blyden of Liberia: An Account of the Life and Labors of Edward Wilmot Blyden (1966), is an important source containing biographical details and excerpts from Blyden's letters and published writings. See also Hollis R. Lynch, ed., Black Spokesman: Selected Published Writings of Edward Wilmot Blyden (1971), the only representative anthology of his writings.

 

edward wilmot blyden saint thomas liberia west africa pan africanism


Edward Wilmot Blyden, a renown Pan-Africanist, declared himself: "a true son of the Eboe tribe." Blyden's writings inspired Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Kwame Nkrumah.



BAIKIE, WILLIAM BALFOUR (1824-1864), Scottish explorer, naturalist and philologist, eldest son of Captain John Baikie, R.N,, was born at
Kirkwall, Orkney, on the 21st of August 1824. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and, on obtaining his M.D. degree, joined the royal navy in 1848. He early attracted the notice of Sir Roderick Murchison, through whom he was appointed surgeon and naturalist to the Niger expedition sent out in 1854 by Macgregor Laird with government support. The death of the senior officer (Consul Beecroft) occurring at Fernando P0, Baikie succeeded to the command. Ascending the Benue about 250 m. beyond the point reached by former explorers, the little steamer Pleiad returned and reached the mouth of the Niger, after a voyage of 118 days, without the loss of a single man. The expedition had been instructed to endeavour to afford assistance to Heinrich Barth (q.v.), who had in 1851 crossed the Benue in its upper course, but Baikie was unable to gain any trustworthy information concerning him. Returning to England, Baikie gave an account of his work in his Narrative of an Exploring Voyage up the Rivers Kwora and Binue. . . (London, 1856). In March 1857 Baikie with the rank of British consulstarted on another expedition in the Pleiad. After two years spent in exploring the Niger, the navigating vessel was wrecked in passing through some of the rapids of the river, and Baikie was unable longer to keep his party together. All returned home but himself; in no way daunted, he determined single-handed to carry out the purposes of the expedition. Landing from a small boat, with one or two native followers, at the confluence of the Niger and Benue, he chose Lokoja as the base of his future operations, it being the site of the model farm established by the expedition sent by the British government in 1841, and abandoned within a twelvemonth on the death of most of the white settlers (see Capt. W. Allen, R.N., and T. R. H. Thomson, M.D., A Narrative of the Expedition . . . to the River Niger in 1841, London, 1848). After purchasing the site, and concluding a treaty with the Fula emir of Nupe, he proceeded to clear the ground, build houses, form enclosures and pave the way for a future city. Numbers flocked to him from all neighboring districts, and in his settlement were representatives of almost all tile tribes of West-Central Africa. To the motley commonwealth thus formed he acted not merely as ruler, but also as physician, teacher and priest. In less than five years he had opened up the navigation of the Niger, made roads, and established a market to which the native produce was brought for sale and barter. He had also collected vocabularies of nearly fifty African dialects, and translated portions of the Bible and prayer-book into Hausa. Once only during his residence had he to employ armed force against the surrounding tribes. While on his way home, on leave of absence, he died at Sierra Leone on the 3oth of November 1864. He had done much to establish British influence on the Niger, but after his death the British government abolished the consulate (1866), and it was through private enterprise that some twenty years later the district where Baikie had worked so successfully was finally secured for Great Britain (see NIGERIA).

Baikies Observations on the Hausa and Fuifuide (i.e. Fula) Languages was privately printed in 1861, and his translation of the Psalms into Hausa was published by the Bible Society in 1881. He was also the author of various works concerning Orkney and Shetland. A monumept to his memory was placed in the nave of the ancient cathedral of St Magnus, Kirkwall. (The 1911 Edition Encyclopedia)

Dr. William Balfour Baikie


The Igbo expressions Ala Bekee, Ndi Bekee translates to "land of Baikie, white people." Dr. William Balfour Baikie was buried at the old cemetery in Sierra Leone. A stone memorial (shown below) was erected in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall with the inscription: “William Balfour Baikie, MDRN, FRGS, FBS, FSA (Scot). Born at Kirkwall 27th August 1825. The explorer of the Niger and Tchadda, the translator of the Bible into the languages of Central Africa, and the pioneer of education, commerce, and progress, among its many nations. He devoted life, means, and talents, to make the heathen savage and slave, free and Christian man. For Africa, he opened new paths to light, wealth and liberty – for Europe, new fields of science, enterprize and beneficence. He won for Britain new honour and influence, and for himself the respect, affection, and confidence of the chiefs and people. He earned the love of those whom he commanded, and the thanks of those whom he served, and left to all a brave example of humanity, perseverance, and self-sacrifice to duty. But the climate, from which his care, skill, and kindness, shielded so many, was fatal to himself, and when, relieved at last though too late, he sought to restore his failing health by rest and home, he found them both only in the grave. He died at Sierra Leone 12th December 1864.”

Dr. William Balfour Baikie Stone Memorial




To be sold, on board the ship Bance Island, ... negroes, just arrived from the Windward & Rice Coast

Photograph of newspaper advertisement from the 1780s(?) for the sale of slaves at Ashley Ferry outside of Charleston, South Carolina.


Olaudah was enslaved at the age of 12

 

 




Julie Dash's exquisitely alive film chronicles the last days of the Gullah. The companion book has a chapter entitled "The Ibo Landing."

 



.........................................

 

THE EGBA YORUBA

(AN AFRICAN - AMERICAN LINK TO IGBO ORIGINS)

BY ISHAQ AL - SULAIMANI
(NWANNE DI NAMBA NDI IGBO)
ishaqa777@hotmail.com

ANYONE WHO HAS EVER TAKEN A SERIOUS INTEREST IN THE SLAVE TRADE AND THE TRIBAL ORIGINS OF AFRICAN - AMERICANS WOULD MOST LIKELY UNDERSTAND THAT THERE WAS A SIGNIFICANT YORUBA ELEMENT AMONGST THE AFRICAN CAPTIVES WHO WERE TAKEN TO THE AMERICAS. THE PURPOSE OF THIS WRITING IS TO FURTHER SUPPORT RESEARCH THAT PROVES THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE SLAVES BROUGHT TO THE AMERICAS WERE IGBOS BY ACKNOWLEDGING THE YORUBA ELEMENT TO BE IGBO AS WELL.

IN ADDITION TO THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF IGBOS DOCUMENTED AND ACKNOWLEDGED TO HAVE BEEN SHIPPED DIRECTLY OUT OF THE IGBO DOMINATED AREAS OF THE NIGER DELTA,MILLIONS OF OTHERS WERE BROUGHT TO THE AMERICAS FROM IGBO SLAVE COLONIES WHICH WERE ESTABLISHED ALL OVER THE AFRICAN CONTINENT AND THUS ARRIVED UNDER A VARIETY OF NATIONAL AND TRIBAL LISTINGS. SLAVES CLASSIFIED AS ASHANTE WERE ACTUALLY IGBOS WHO WERE IMPORTED TO GHANA BY PORTUGUESE JEWISH SLAVE TRADERS TO WORK THE GOLD MINES. OTHERS LISTED AS ANGOLAN WERE ALSO IGBOS. SOME IGBOS WERE IMPORTED TO ANGOLA PRIOR TO THEIR ARRIVAL IN THE AMERICAS, OTHERS WERE BORN AND RAISED IN THE IGBO SLAVE COLONY OF ANGOLA. THE YORUBA CLASSIFICATION PROVED TO BE NO EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, AS THOSE SLAVES DOCUMENTED TO BE YORUBA WERE MORE SPECIFICALLY REFERRED TO AS EGBA yoruba were more specifically referred to as EGBA YORUBA. THE WORD EGBA IS A DERIVATION OF IGBO( EGBA,EGBO IGBO) AS THE EGBA YORUBA ARE OF IGBO ORIGINS.

SOUTHEAST NIGERIA MARKS THE LOCATION OF THE PRESENT DAY IGBO TRIBE. HOWEVER INITIALLY THE IGBO WERE THE RULERS OF THE ENTIRE SOUTH INCLUDING THE SOUTHWEST WHICH IS CURRENTLY CLASSIFIED AS YORUBA TERRITORY. THE YORUBA FIRST ENTERED THE SOUTHWEST PART OF NIGERIA AS INVADERS AND COLONIZERS OF THE ORIGINAL IGBO INHABITANTS WHO LATER BECAME KNOWN AS THE EGBA YORUBA. THE YORUBA(oyo,ijebu etc.) invasion was led by a man named ODUDWA WHO IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE " FOUNDING FATHER " OF THE PRESENT DAY YORUBA PEOPLE. TO THIS DAY YORUBA INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENTS STILL EXIST WITH THE HOPE OF ESTABLISHING THE INDEPENDENT YORUBA NATION OF WHICH THEY WISH TO CALL ODUDWA. THE DEFEAT AND CONQUEST OF THE IGBOS IN SOUTHWEST NIGERIA IS CELEBRATED EVERY YEAR BY THE YORUBA AT THE ANNUAL EID FESTIVAL(THE KINGDOM OF THE YORUBA - ROBERT SMITH 3RD EDITION UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN PRESS)

ONE OF THE LARGER YORUBA TRIBES ARE CALLED THE IJEBU. IT IS AN ESTABLISHED FACT THAT THE IJEBU WERE SELLING EGBA IN MASS NUMBERS DURING THE SLAVE TRADE. THE CITY IJEBU - IGBO STILL EXISTS IN THE YORUBA HEARTLAND WHICH NOT ONLY REFLECTS THE EARLIER IGBO HISTORY IN THE SOUTHWEST BUT FURTHER SERVES AS A MEMORY CONCERNING THE USAGE OF IGBO PRIOR TO THE TRANSFORMATION TO EGBA IN THAT PARTICULAR REGION. IN ADDITION TO THE EGBA THERE REMAINS A YORUBA TRIBE THAT LIVES IN THE KWARRA STATE WHICH CONTINUES TO USE THE MORE ORIGINAL IGBO AS PART OF THEIR TRIBAL NAME AS THEY ARE CALLED THE IGBO - MINA TRIBE. THE USAGE OF THE TERM EGBA WAS INSTITUTED TO DECLARE A STATE OF SECRECY AMONGST CERTAIN IGBOS. THE CURRENT IGBOS OF SOUTHEAST NIGERIA CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN EGBO AS A SECRET SOCIETY WHILE THE SAME TERM EGBA REFERS TO OTHER SECRET IGBO TRIBES.

1. EGBO - A SECRET SOCIETY AT ONE TIME EXISTING AS A POLITICAL BOND BETWEEN VARIOUS TOWNS ESPECIALLY EASTERN NIGERIA - WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY A - K 1974

2. EGBA - A CONFEDERATION OF NEGRO TRIBES NORTH OF THE SLAVE COAST- FUNK AND WAGNALS NEW STANDARD DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE - 1963

ALTHOUGH THE CONCEPT OF LEGBA VARIES IT BEGAN AS AN ANCESTRAL MEMORIAL DESIGNED TO MAINTAIN THE IGBO IDENTITY DURING TIMES WHEN TRHE IGBO DECLARED THEMSELVES TO BE IN A STATE OF SECRECY CALLED EGBA. LEGBA WAS NOT ONLY USED TO FEND OFF INVADING AFRICAN TRIBES BUT WAS ALSO ACTIVATED IN THE NEW WORLD TO COUNTER MODERN SLAVERY AND ITS ATTEMPTS TO WIPE OUT THE EGBA(igbo) IDENTITY OF THE CAPTIVES. THE DEITY LEGBA IS DESCRIBED IN YORUBA MYTHOLOGY AS THE DIVINE TRICKSTER WHO WIELDS GREAT POWER BECAUSE OF HIS ABILITY TO OUTWIT HIS FELLOW GODS. EVIDENCES OF LEGBA HAVE BEEN DOCUMENTED THROUGHOUT THE AMERICAS IN SUCH PLACES AS BRAZIL, GUIANA, TRINIDAD, HAITI AND NEW ORLEANS UNDER VARIOUS NAMES SUCH AS LEBBA, LEGBA, ELEGBARRA AND LIBA.

THE TERM ELEGBARRA OR LUGBARRA IS OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE BECAUSE NOT ONLY DOES THE NAME APPEAR IN THE AMERICAS AMONGST THE EGBA SLAVES WHO ARE OF IGBO ORIGIN BUT IT IS ALSO THE NAME OF A TRIBE THAT LIVES IN SOUTHERN SUDAN AND NORTHERN UGANDA WHO ARE LIKEWISE RELATED TO THE IGBOS OF NIGERIA. WHEN TRAVELLING IN UGANDA I PERSONALLY MET A LUGBARRA MEDICAL DOCTOR WHO PREVIOUSLY STUDIED ALONGSIDE OF IGBOS FROM NIGERIA.THE LUGBARRA STATED THAT HE COULD UNDERSTAND MUCH OF THE IGBO LANGUAGE WHICH NATURALLY HAD MUCH IN COMMON WITH HIS OWN LUGBARRA TONGUE. THE DOCTOR WAS CONVINCED THAT THE LUGBARRA AND THE IGBO WERE DEFINITELY AKIN.THE LUGBARRA TRIBE LIVES ALONGSIDE OF AND ARE RELATED TO THE KAKWA TRIBE. IT IS FROM THE KAKWA THAT ACCOUNTS FOR THE USAGE OF KWA AMONGST THE IGBO. THIS INCLUDES BOTH THE IGBO AND EGBA LANGUAGES BEING CLASSIFIED AS KWA LANGUAGES AND SUCH NAMES AS THE KWA IBO RIVER.

IN 1967, HAITI BECAME THE ONLY COUNTRY OUTSIDE OF AFRICA TO RECOGNIZE BIAFRAN INDEPENDENCE.THIS WAS DUE TO THE HAITIANS MEMORY OF THEIR OWN IGBO REVOLUTIONARY PAST. THE NUMEROUS AND SUCCESSFUL SLAVE REVOLTS IN HAITI ARE CLEARLY ACKNOWLEDGED AND DOCUMENTED AS IGBO UPRISINGS, BUT YET WE FIND THE STRONGEST PRESENCE OF THE ANCESTRAL DEITY LEGBA AMONGST THE HAITIANS. IN HAITI LEGBA IS DESCRIBED AS THE MOST POWERFUL OF ALL OF THE LOA. HE IS THE GUARDIAN OF THE GATE BETWEEN THE MATERIAL AND SPIRITUAL WORLD. HE HAS GREAT WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE PAST AND THE FUTURE. EVERY RITUAL BEGINS WITH A SACRIFICE TO LEGBA. HE IS THE GUARDIAN OF THE SUN AND HIS COLOR IS BLACK. THE GUARDIAN OF THE SUN IS MOST LIKELY A CODE FOR THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN WHICH IS BIAFRA. IN SUMMARY THE SLAVES TAKEN TO THE AMERICAS AND CLASSIFIED AS YORUBA WERE EGBA MEANING IGBO.

 

 


To: donita.brown@emeagwali.com
Subject: FW: REVISION #2 - Ishaq Al-Sulaimani - Chapter for Book
 
08 Apr 2006

 

EMEAGWALI,

 

                         A FEW YEARS AGO I SENT TO YOU A PAPER ENTITLED; AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN LINK TO IGBO ORIGINS THE EGBA ARE IGBO OF WHICH YOU GENEROUSLY DISPLAYED ON YOUR WEB SITE FOR VIEWING.

 

                       ENCLOSED IS MY LATEST CONFERENCE PAPER ENTITLED; THE GREATER IGBO NATION( IDENTIFYING IGBO VARIANTS DURING THE ERA OF THE SLAVE TRADE. )

 

PLEASE INDICATE THAT ALL QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS CAN BE DIRECTED TO;

 

(AMIR) ISHAQ AL-SULAIMANI - DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH @

THE CULTURAL EDUCATION INSTITUTE - ishaqa777@hotmail.com




I AM SURE THAT YOU WILL FIND THE ENCLOSED ATTACHMENT PAPER MOST INTERESTING AND APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR WEB-SITE VIEWING.




                                                ISHAQ AL-SULAIMANI

                                  (CHIEF NWANNE DI NAMBA NDI IGBO )

 

 

 

THE GREATER IGBO NATION—IDENTIFYING IGBO VARIANTS DURING THE ERA OF THE SLAVE TRADE

 

 

 

By

 

Cultural Education Institute

of

New Jersey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ishaq D. Al-Sulaimani

Vernon (Alufiel) Grier, Ed.D
THE GREATER IGBO NATION-- IDENTIFYING IGBO VARIANTS DURING THE ERA OF THE SLAVE TRADE

 

I

INTRODUCTION

 

       It is universally recognized that Igbo is the correct spelling of the tribe that currently comprises the majority of the inhabitants of southeastern Nigeria and of whom are readily associated with the Biafran revolution, however during the time of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade the “Igbo Nation” was divided into a number of sub-tribe variant identities which were most commonly expressed in the Egbo, Egba Ebo and Ibo forms.

       The contents of this Chapter establishes the identity of the captives taken from Africa to the Americas and enslaved were of Igbo origins.  It further clarifies the role of the sub-tribe variants during the slave trade and their recognized status as being part of a once greater and more inclusive Igbo identity.

       The majority of Igbo intellectuals continue to teach that the Igbo variants such as the Ibo, Ebo and Egbo are European corruptions of the exclusively indigenous and proper Igbo.  In defense of their claim they often cite the words of James Africanus Beale Horton who states that the Igbo spelling is the original of the nation, while avoiding his more detailed description concerning the indigenous usages of Ibo, Ebo and Egbo as it relates to the inhabitants of various towns and regions.

       “Egbo, Igbo, Ebo and Ibo are the various spellings met within books describing the race that inhabits part of the coast.  Amongst the soft Isuama and Elugu the soft Ibo or Ebo is used but amongst the inhabitants of the coast such as Bonny and Okrika the harsher name Egbo is prevalent.  In the interior north of the territory the nations are called Igbo which appears more the original name of the inhabitants.”  (Horton 1969:154)

       The altering of the name Igbo was initially implemented with the intent of establishing independence from the “Greater Igbo entity”, while at the same time maintaining the natural ancestral link with the main and originating body.  The often hostile reaction and rejection on the part of the Igbo towards the seceding Egbo, Ebo and Ibo gradually weakened the bonds of brotherhood ultimately resulting in the emergence of such “non-Igbo” tribes as the Efik, Ibibio and Oron of Calabar, the Egba and Igbo-Mina of Yorubaland and the Ewe and Ga of Ghana and the Fongbe of Dahomey.

II

       The altering of the letters in a name to create an independent identity such as that of Egbo, Ebo and Ibo which at some “ancient” point derived out of the original Igbo continued after the Biafran War in regards to the Iwerre people as pointed out by Professor Ben O. Nwabueze.

       “It is well to note that of the Igbo border communities in Benue State as well as those in and around Port Hacourt now strenuously disclaims their Igbo Identity.  This disclaimer is manifest in practical terms by the latter changing their names of their villages by prefixing them with a “R” so that Umuokoro becomes Rumuokoro, Umuigbo becomes Rumuigbo, Umumasi becomes Rumumasi, Umukorusha becomes Rumukorosha and so on.  The intention is to make them not look or sound like Igbo names.”

       Throughout this presentation I will be using Igbo as an umbrella term describing the tribe in a general sense and as a specific reference for the majority of the tribe presently inhabiting Southeastern Nigeria and of whom are readily associated with the Biafran revolution.  Egbo will primarily refer to the Efik and Ibibio also known as the Cross River or Ekpe Tribes.  The term Ebo will refer to the Igbo descended Mina Tribes of Ghana and Benin(Dahomey) which include the Ewe, Fon(Fongbe) and the Ga-Adangbe.  The Ebo classification will also include the Igbo descended captives of Angola, while Ibo will be applied historically to the “Western Igbo” and those of Mozambique.

       Egba will be used to describe the largest Igbo descended tribe living in Yorubaland (Southwest Nigeria) inhabiting the Osugun State, while Igbo-Mina will address another Igbo descended tribe living in the Kwara State of Yorubaland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE EGBO ARE IGBO

       The majority of  the captives taken to the Americas were from the coastal Egbo tribes and were referred to as Calabaris.  Presently in Igboland they are known as the Efik, Ibibio, Oron and Ekoi, etc., and are well associated with a secret society known as the Egbo Society.  Although the present day Efik and Ibibio living in Nigeria generally deny ancestral relations with the Igbo; this was not always the case as described by A.E. Afigbo, Professor of History at the University of Nsukka.

       “Until three or four decades ago there were many Efik and Ibibio communities which proudly laid claims to Igbo origins but today would treat such suggestions as an affront.  Here we find the classic example of the trick which time and political consciousness play on historical writings.”

       The explorer William Balfour Baike writes in 1854 that the Efik mark was formerly the same as that used by some Igbos but more recently they have adopted another.

       Egbo captives meaning those such as the Igbo descended Efik and Ibibio were targeted throughout the entire period of the slave trade beginning with the Spanish and Portuguese traders of the 16th century and continuing to arrive in the Americas throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

       The Aro slave trading network of Arochukwu first established itself in 1620 with the intent of enslaving the Egbo tribes.  In regards to this task they settled in the most southeastern corner of .Igboland, lands belonging to the semi-autonomous Egbo nation called Egbo-Shari.  Once settled, the Aro began to emulate and infiltrate the Egbo leaders in an attempt to deceitfully manipulate and redirect their governing institutions into a slave trading operative.

       The coastal Egbo who were generally known to the slave traders as Calabaris provided the majority of “Igbo descended” captives and were often referred to as KWA IBO.  The general tendency to associate the Calabaris with “Igbo” is a result of the understanding that the Egbo tribes were related to the “Greater Igbo Nation” and therefore Herskovits refers to Calabari as a generic name for “Ibos” in the United States.

       In Cuba it is understood that those known as Calabaris descended from the Egbo tribes such as the Efik and Ibibio.  During the time of the slave trade the most powerful and numerous of the Egbo tribes were those known as THE KWA.  In generalizing the Egbo Nation with the dominant Kwa tribe, all of the Egbo tribes were collectively known as Kwa Ibo.  Through the dominance of the Kwa tribe, the Egbo Society was also known as the AbaKwa Society meaning of the Kwa people.  To this day the Egbo Society continues to actively function in Cuba.

       The Egbo Society communicates by using a secret Igbo writing system known as that of Nsibidi.  Nsibidi symbols were recently discovered to be engraved on a number of African-American tombstones in Virginia.  This most accurately attests to the Egbo ancestry of the deceased as these writings were sacredly maintained by the Egbo Society and were associated as Igbo through the understanding that the Egbo tribes were of Igbo origins.  The word Mbakara which African captives used to describe the “white man” in the United States is of Egbo origins as it can be traced directly back to the Efik and Ibibio.

       Egbo captives were so numerous and dominant in Virginia that some historians of the Colonial Era actually referred to Virginia as “Igboland”.  By the 1700’s Virginia plantation owners gathered to discuss the “Igbo problem” as the hardworking but resistant Egbo are acknowledged to have dominated the Virginia trade.  This further lends credence to the alleged Willie Lynch speech of 1712 which advocated the implementation of harsh measures of containment designed to eradicate Egbo culture and in turn slave resistance on all levels.  The speech of proposals was delivered by Willie Lynch on the Bank of the James River in Virginia in 1712.  120 years later Nat Turner led a revolt in Virginia that killed approximately 60 whites.  In accordance with his Igbo(Egbo) origins, Turner bestowed upon himself the honors of Odogo, a ceremonial ritual in which an Igbo warrior places feathers in his cap to signify the killing of a person of rank in war.  After killing Hark Travis, the head of the Travis farm, Turner placed feathers in his cap and a red sash around his waist.

       Douglas Chambers recently published a book which discusses the alleged role of the Igbo in the murder of President James Madison’s grandfather who was killed in Virginia.  Igbo(Egbo) revolts were so frequent and intense throughout Virginia that it was understood that this revolutionary mentality on the part of the Egbo captives was an obvious reflection of Igbo culture as the Igbo proverb states;

              “What saves also kills and what kills also saves.”

       It is of interest to note that James Africanus Beale Horton who clearly understood the proper application and usage of the term Igbo and its sub-tribe variants such as the Egbo, Ibo and Ebo chose to dominantly use the Egbo variant when speaking of the tribe in general, while remaining in clear avoidance of using the Igbo spelling.  This is obviously a reflection of his descendancy from coastal Egbo captives who were resettled in Sierra Leone.

              “The Egboes are considered the most imitative and emulative people in the whole of Western Africa; place them where you will or introduce them to any manners of customs and you will find they easily adapt to them.”

              “The population of Egbo is unknown.”

                                                       (Horton 1969:157)

THE EBO ARE IGBO

       In accordance with his origins in the Essaka village of Benin, Olaudah Equiano referred to his people as being that of Ebo and never Igbo.

              “The West Indies planters prefer the slaves of Benin or Eboe.”

              “Deformity is indeed unknown amongst us.  I mean that of shape.  Numbers of natives of Eboe in London might be brought in support of this assertion for in regard to complexion ideas of beauty are wholly relative.”                                                                                              (Gates Jr. 1987:17)

 

       The Ebo connection to Benin is further supported by Onyebuechi Amene who states the following;

              “Ebo is a Benin name.  It was the Binis that went to and from the Igala Royal families that took the name to Igala.”

              “The Ebo family of Isiskre still retains their ancestral Bini names.”

       Those captives who came to the Americas from Ghana and Benin(Dahomey) were those known as Ebo or the Mina tribes.  In fact a Mina tribe remains in the Kwara State of Yorubaland and refer to themselves as Igbo-Mina using the original Igbo spelling of the name.  It was the Portuguese Jewish slave traders who began selling Ebo captives from Benin to Ghana where they were used to work the Gold Mines.  These traders coined the Ebo as “Mina tribes” meaning those destined for El-Mina, a Portuguese word meaning “The Mines”.  El-Mina became central to the slave trade in Ghana.  The Most powerful amongst the Ebo(Mina) to arrive in Ghana were those called Ewe.

       The word Ewe derives from the Igbo name Eke.  Eke in the Igbo culture refers to the feminine, motherly or birth giving attributes of the Supreme Deity Chineke.  Through the interchangeable nature of the letters v and w Ewe is also pronounced with the v sound of Eve(Yeveh).  It is from the life giving Eke, Ewe or Eve that a female lamb is called a Ewe and the mother of all humanity Eve.

       Some reports estimate that over 3 million Ewe were brought to the American South alone.  Amongst the followers of African religions in Cuba, Ewe refers to the life giving herbs, while in Haiti, the Ewe deity Nanan Boclou is remembered as the god of life giving herbs and medicine.  The Ewe are closely related to the Mina tribe known as the Fon(Fongbe).  In fact the word voodoo often associated with Haitian religious practice is a Fongbe word.  The last Fon ruler of Dahomey was named Agbo.  Agbo was exiled to Guinea where he remained until his death.

       In 1967, Haiti became the only country outside of Africa to recognize the independent Igbo Republic of Biafra in secession from Nigeria.  The vote of confidence in favor of Biafra on the part of this tine Caribbean nation was due to the Haitian’s memory of their own “Igbo” revolutionary past.  The numerous and successful slave revolts in Haiti are clearly documented as “Igbo” uprisings but yet we find the strongest presence of the ancestral deity Legba(Eshu) amongst the Haitians.  In Haiti Legba is described as the most powerful of all the Loa.  He is the guardian of the sun and his color is black.  The guardian of the sun is most likely a code for the “Land of the Rising Sun” which is an ancient Igbo reference for the Land of Biafra.  The Igbo revolutionaries and devoutees of Legba(Eshu) in Haiti were in actuality the Igbo descended Mina tribes such as the Ewe and Fon(Fongbe) who are well associated with the worship and reverence for Legba.

       The other major non-Akan Igbo descended tribe to be sold from Ghana are those known as the Ga.  The Ga like the Ewe are known to have earlier “Nigerian” origins which more specifically equate with that of the Igbo.  A section of Belize City is known as Ebo Town.  Most of the African captives arriving in Belize were imported from Jamaica and in turn it is acknowledged that the African captives of Jamaica primarily came from Ghana.  The Jamaican Festival Jonkonnu evolved out of the Ga Festival of Homowo and thus the African descended population of Jamaica can trace their Igbo origins through the Ga and the Ebo-Mina tribes as they became known.

       Captives arriving in the Americas from Angola were also known as Ebo.  The city Ebo still exists in Angola.  The Gullah whose name derives from Angola are an African-American community who live on the Sea Isles off of the coast of Georgia and South Carolina areas which record a majority of Angolan captives.  The Gullah are currently engaged in a strenuous battle to secure a memorial at a site called Ebo Landing.  Ebo Landing was named in memory of the countless Ebo who drowned themselves in protest of their enslavement.  Mr. Utsey is a Gullah meaning a descendant of Angolan-Ebo captives.  He recently wrote to the Igbo Studies Association in quest of information concerning his lost Ebo identity.  He stated that he was raised in an area which was approximately 45 minutes from Ebo Landing.  D.N.A. testing has confirmed his Igbo (Ebo) origins.

       The presence of Angolan captives in Virginia is reflected in such names as Angola Creek and the Angolan Quarter.  What is of interest is the fact that there were many Angolans acknowledged to have been living in Virginia alongside of the Igbo(Egbo), however there is no evidence or documentation that indicates that the Angolans were any different in regards to submitting to enslavement in contrast to the Igbo(Egbo).  In accordance with their Ebo culture the Angolan captives were known as runaways.  In 1744, a runaway by the name of Angola Tom was captured in Orange County.  This being similar to Jamaica where an advertisement for wanted slaves lists the two largest groups of runaways as being those of Igbo and Angola.  Igbos and Angolans are acknowledged to have dominantly co-existed in Delaware without any distinguishing differences in temperament and behaviors particularly in response to enslavement.

       With the abolition of the slave trade Igboland experienced the largest population increase in all of Africa.  Since Igboland was the area most affected by the slave trade once left unmolested the population that supplied the most captives would naturally respond with the largest population increase.  Angola on the other hand is noted as the area which experienced the largest population decrease after the slave trade ended.  Being that Angola provided many captives for enslavement to the New World, a population increase similar to that which was experienced in Igboland would be expected unless of course the captives taken from Angola were not from the native population but were imported Ebos as advocated in this writing.  It is also interesting that in the case of the Angolan and Mozambique captives they are generally identified in the classification of country as opposed to any specific tribe.  Angola’s role as a Portuguese slave colony was confronted by Queen Nzinga who in 1624 declared all territory in Angola as free country, meaning that all captives reaching Angola would be declared free upon arrival.  Queen Nzinga’s efforts only temporarily hindered the mission of the slave traders who continued to import and export Ebo throughout the course of the slave trade.

 

THE IBO ARE IGBO

       Although Mozambique did become a Portuguese colony similar to that of Angola, the Ibo inhabitants had already been living there centuries before the arrival of the Europeans and were residing under the Ibo tribal heading.  The Ibo of Mozambique are presently known as Chi-Mwani and speak a dialect called Ibo.  In Mozambique there are two coastal cities named Ibo conveniently located for the importing and exporting of slaves.  In their early attempts to colonize Mozambique the Portuguese established their first trading post on what is known as the Ibo Islands and by 1754 Ibo was chosen by the Portuguese as their main clearing house for slaves.

       It is estimated that by 1807, 80% of the captives destined for the Americas were being imported from Angola, Mozambique and the Igbos of Biafra.

       Beginning in the 16th century when the Spanish and Portuguese were in charge of the slave trade, they transported 15,000 slaves from Angola to America every year.  The Ebos of Angola and the Ibos of Mozambique were classified amongst those of Congo.  The Congo slaves began arriving in such places as Cuba in the 1500’s.  The Portuguese began dispersing Igbo captives across Africa at the beginning of the slave trade in the 16th century.  Thos sent to such places as San Thome and Gabon were of Ibo origins as acknowledged with the first recorded Ibo slave Caterina Ybou who like her fellow Ibo captives arrived at San Thome and Gabon to work on the newly established slave plantations.  In Gabon Ibo runaways were so numerous that one of the largest mountains in Gabon became a place of hidden refuge known as Ibounji.  It is acknowledged that most of the captives that came to San Thome and Gabon were from the Congo and in turn it is acknowledged that these captives were Ibo.  Present day Congo cities such as Ibondo, Iboko and Ibola are reminiscent of the once numerous Ibo captive population.

 

THE EGBA ARE IGBO

       Southwest Nigeria is commonly referred to as “Yorubaland” which is home to a mosaic of distinct tribes and tribal states who collectively form the present day Yoruba tribal identity, however the original Yoruba designation exclusively referred to the Oyo, a tribe who at one time lived amongst the Hausas in what is presently Northern Nigeria.  In fact the word Yoruba is of Hausa origins.

       Misrepresentations of Nigeria the Facts and the Figures by Yusef Bala Usman, PhD – Center for Democratic Development, Research and Training.

              “The fact is that the earliest record we have of the use of the very name Yoruba was in the Hausa Language and it seems to have applied to the people of the Alfinate Oyo.  Don Masani wrote a book on the Muslim scholars of the Yarriba.”

       Over the centuries the Oyo were gradually driven southward where they in turn became the conquerors of the indigenous people of “Southwest Nigeria” who like their Southeastern counterparts were referred to as the Igbo.  The Southwestern Igbo were protected by an army of masked warriors known as the Egbo or Egba.  Olumida Lucas states that the name Egba is synonymous with Igbo.  The Indigenous Igbo(Egba) lived in the forest area surrounding Ife.  The name Ife derives from an Igbo system of “divination” called Ifa.  It was at Ife that the Igbo(Egba) were first confronted by Odudwa who along with his youngest son Oranyan are remembered as the founders of the Oyo(Yoruba) Kingdom at Ife.  At the time of Odudwa’s invasion the indigenous Igbo(Egba) resided under the leadership of Obatala whose name means the Oba or Obi Ala.  Obi or Oba was initially an Igbo title of authority and Ala is the land deity of the Igbo.  Amongst the Egbo tribes of Calabar the Oba appears in the form of the deity Obassi who is also called Abassi.

       Like the indigenous forest dwelling Igbos, the present day Egbas are historically associated with the Obas.  In fact the name of the Egba ruling council known as the Ogboni relates to the Igbo word Ogbonna which indirectly refers to an elder.

 

       The Wikipedia Encyclopedia – “Yoruba”

              “The numerous Egba communities found in the forests below Oyo’s Savannah region were a notable example of elected Obas though the Ogboni, a legislative judicial council of notable elders wielded the actual political power.”

(The Ogboni “Cult” played a central role in the Brazil slave rebellion of 1809.)

       In their initial encounters the Oyo(Yoruba) were unable to penetrate the frightening Egba(Igbo) as these intimidating masked forest dwellers mastered the art of instilling fear into their opponents.  In defense of their homeland the Egba(Igbo) went further in raiding and burning down the intruding Oyo(Yoruba) settlements in the town at Ife.

       The Egba were first defeated through the scheming of a woman named Moremi who allowed herself to be captured as she used her beauty to seduce the Igbo(Egba) King into revealing the secrets of the masked Egba warriors.  She later returned to the Oyo providing her countrymen with the necessary information needed to finally conquer the Igbo(Egba) Kingdom.  This defeat of the Igbo(Egba) is celebrated every year at the annual Eid Festival of Ife.

       In 1835, the Egba declared themselves to be independent of the Oyo(Yoruba) and in response the Oyo along with the Ijebu drove them out of Ibadan, Ife and other towns north of their present day capital of Abeokuta.  As a result of contact between the Ijebu and the Indigenous Igbo the city Ijebu-Igbo was established.  The founding of the Egba Kingdom of Abeokuta in 1837 is considered to be the last kingdom to be recognized within the “Yoruba federation of tribes”.  By this time the term Yoruba had expanded beyond its original usage in referring to the Oyo and now generally applied to all of the inhabitants of Southwestern Nigeria.

       The tradition of the masked Egba(Igbo) warriors is likewise documented in Southeast Nigeria amongst the followers of the Egbo Society of Calabar.

 

EGBO – A secret society at one time existing as a political bond between various towns especially Eastern Nigeria. – World Book Dictionary A-K 1974.

       In 1876, the Scottish Presbyterian missionary Mary Slessor came to Calabar.  According to the accountings of Ms. Slessor in the “Igbo” dominated areas a secret society known as Egbo went around in masks and beat people.  She claimed to have chased a group of Egbo and tore off a mask.  The image of Mary Slessor would later appear on the 10 pound British Monetary note.  (The Egbo/Egba warriors seem to have a problem or weakness in defending themselves against foreign women.  First Moremi in the west informs her people to burn the masks of the Egba(Igbo) warriors and later in the east Mary Slessor claims to have ripped a mask off of an Egbo man.)

       The Egba of Abeokuta worship a deity called the Oro.  Oro is a god who resides in a bush.  In honor of Oro a sacred ceremony is performed at a secluded spot inside the bush.  This ceremony is called Igbo Oro and is very similar to bush ceremonies observed by the Egbo Society of Calabar.  There are many similar practices and rituals performed by both the Egba of “Yorubaland” and the Egbo Society of the east.  In this regard it is of interest to note the name of the Biafran Officer from Ejagham(Calabar), the formidable Captain Ndom Egba.

       Although the concept of Legba varies it began as an ancestral memorial designed to maintain the Egba identity during times of persecution and hardship.  Legba is also known as Eshu and relates to the deity Isua which is honored in the Egbo Society as the Master of Ceremonies.  Legba was also activated in the New World as a means to counter modern slavery and its attempts to wipe out the Egba identity of the captives.  The deity is described in Yoruba mythology as the “Divine trickster” because of his ability to outwit his fellow gods.  Evidences of Legba have been documented throughout the Americas in such places as Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad, Haiti and New Orleans under various names such as Lebba, Legba, Elegbara and Liba.  It is the Igbo descended Mina tribes such as the Ewe and Fon who are most readily associated with the Legba variant.

       The term Elegbara is of great significance because not only does the name appear in the Americas amongst Igbo descended captives meaning the Egba and the Mina tribes, but is also the name of a tribe that lives on the Southern Sudanese, Northern Ugandan border and of whom are likewise related to the Igbos of Nigeria as they are known by the variant of Elegbara being called the Lugbara.  When traveling in Uganda I personally met a Lugbara Doctor of Medicine who previously studied alongside of Igbo students from Nigeria.  The Lugbara man stated that he could understand much of the Igbo Language which held a great deal in common with his own Lugbara Tongue.  Through numerous and prominent cultural and linguistic affinities the Lugbara man was definitely convinced that the Lugbara and the Igbo are akin.

       Similar to the Igbo of the east, the western Igbo descended Egba were always known to be revolutionaries in continual revolt against the Colonial British authorities, European missionaries and their traditional Yoruba enemies being primarily that of the Oyo and Ijebu.  In 1929 the Igbo market women of the east led a tax revolt against the Colonial British Government which became known as the Abia Women’s Tax Revolt.  The Egba women carried out a similar tax revolt in 1947 known as the Abeokuta Women’s Tax Revolt of Egba Market Women.  The Egba market women were led by Fumilayo Ransome Kuti, a teacher and wife of a prominent Egba educationalist.  The protest of over 10,000 Egba women caused the governing authorities to abolish taxes on women for several years and the Alake who conspired with the Colonial authorities spent three years in exile in Oshogbo.

       Many of the positive social and ethical traits which are often associated with the Igbo are historically documented as being characteristic of the Egba as well.  Robert Campbell who along with Martin Robison Delaney signed a pact with Egba leaders for the right of resettlement of African-Americans to “Egbaland” states that the Egba are the most industrious people on the face of the earth.  (Burton 1863:101)

       James Africanus Beale Horton concerning the Egba(Akus) “It must be admitted without question that there are no people on the coast who are so hard working and so long suffering in proportion to what they expect in return.”  He also went on to say that the Egba as a race are amongst the most industrious, persevering and hard working people on the coast of Africa.  (Horton 1969:149)

       In terms of education the Egba like the Igbo are deserving of great acclaim.  The first Black-African to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature was an Egba man named Wole Soyinka who like the Igbo actively opposed the Nigerian Government during the Biafran War.  Soyinka was detained by agents of the state between 1967 and 1969.  In this regard Booker T. Washington whose middle name, Tanifeani, attests to Egba origins should be noted as the founder of the famous Tuskegee Institute.

       In Brazil an organized Ibo revolt led to the establishment of the Independent “Ibo Republic” of Palmares which lasted 45 years.  Being consistent with “Igbo resistance” Palmares ended in a massive suicide of Ibo warriors who preferred death to capture.  The city Ibotirama testifies to a strong Ibo presence in the region, however as in the case of Haiti, Afro-Brazilian culture and religious practices are more readily associated with that of the “Yoruba”(Egba) including the worship of Legba.

       Olukwumu is spoken in Brazil and interestingly enough in a few Western Ibo communities such as Anioma, Idumu-ogu, Ubulubu, Ugbodu, Ugboba and Okwumuzu.  In fact communities bearing the name Olukwumu(Olukumi) still exist amongst the Western Ibo.  Although this dialect cannot be found in the Yoruba heartland it remains in reference as a “lost dialect of the Yoruba Language”.  All of the above clearly indicates that many of the captives in Brazil including those who successfully revolted in the establishment of Palmares were of western Ibo origins and like the Egba are being mistakenly classified as Yoruba.  In Brazil the Western Ibo were accompanied by a massive importing of Ebos from Angola and Ibos from Mozambique, the latter further accounting for the dominant and preferable Ibo usage amongst the Brazilian captives.

       In Cuba the Olukwumu were referred to as the Olukumi, Lukumi or Akumi.  The Egba have traditionally resisted identification with the term Yoruba preferring to be called Egbas or Akus.  Slaves in Cuba known as the Lukumi or Akumi meaning of the Egba people were well known for suicide resistance which often found them handing from the branches of the Guasima trees.  This being very similar to the “Igbo” resisters of Haiti who were likewise remembered for suicide resistance as understood in the Haitian saying, Ebos pend cor a yo, meaning the Ebos hang themselves.  The relationship between the names Olukwumu and Olukumi with that of Akumi(Aku or Egba) further solidifies the common origins which link the Western Ibo and the Egba peoples.

       The Egba who like the Igbo were originally known as forest dwellers are acknowledged to have been at one time living east of their present day location.  The process which led to the vanquished links of brotherhood between the Igbo and the Egba can be characterized by the often strained relations that currently exist between some of the eastern and western Igbo communities of today.

       Biafran Nigerian World Message Board-JAN. 6th 2004 Efulefu of Western Kind.

              “… lately some misguided Igbo people of Anioma/Ibusa (in short Western Igbo stock), have been making anti-Igbo noises.  I read that a group of 419 purporting to represent Anioma and all Western Igbo issued a statement disavowing their Igboness… If you are from Western Igboland and you no longer wish to consider yourself Igbo you have only one option.  Pack your damned bags and leave otherwise we are coming!!!”

       History not only records the common origins of the Egba and the Igbo but their common destiny as they are identified as two groups most devastated by the slave trade which is expressed in the following;

              “The Egba have suffered more than any other nation in West Africa from the depredation of the slave trade.” (Horton 1969:146)

              “It is stated that a dispersion of the Egba in the 1st quarter of the 17th century scattered the exiled Egba to Sierra Leone, United States, Gambia Fernando Po, Hausa, Borneo, Central Africa, The Fezzan, Egypt and even Istanbul.” (Horton 1969:146)

              “Igboland was one of the areas most affected by the slave trade.  Igbos were exported as slaves throughout the whole period of the trade.” (Isichei 1973:45)

       The Four African Societies of Modern Cuba represent the various elements which comprise the Igbo ancestry of African-Americans.

 

1.    LUKUMI(EGBA) – The Lukumi Society whose name derives from Akumi meaning those of the Akus who are the Igbo descended Egba and their brethren the Ketu.  They are often mistakenly referred to as Yoruba, an estimated 275,000 were brought to Cuba.

2.  ARARA(EBO) – The Arara Society pertains to the Igbo descended Mina tribes who were designated to work the Gold Mines of Ghana and of whom were sold to the Americas from Sao George which became known as El-Mina (THE MINES).  El-Mina was the center of the gold trade and the focus of the greater slave trade.  The main Mina tribes of Ghana were the Igbo descended Ewe and Ga, while in Dahomey they were called (Fon (Fongbe) or Abo as in Abomey.  The  origins of the Mina tribes is maintained in the name of the Igbo-Mina tribe of The Kwara State in Yorubaland.  Most Mina tribes were known as Ebo and approximately 200,000 arrived in Cuba.

3.  The Egbo Society(EGBO) – The Egbo Society consists of the descendants of the coastal “Igbo Nation” of Egbo-Shari.  The present day Efik and Ibibio are amongst the most prominent tribes to be historically associated with the Egbo Society, however during the time of the slave trade the largest and most powerful tribe within the Egbo nation were those known as the Kwa and thus the Egbo Society was also known as AbaKwa(Abacua).  The majority of the Kwa were sold to the Americas during the Slave Trade.  Slave traders often referred to the Egbo as Calabaris or Kwa Ibo.  A division of the Egbo Society is called Ekpri Akata.  Many present day Yorubas and Africans in general now derogatorily refer to African-Americans as Akata(Akuta).  Since there was such a large number of Akata(Egbo) sold during the slave trade the term Akata became synonymously associated with those being enslaved.  Approximately 240,000 Egbo were brought to Cuba.

4.  BAKONGO(IBO/EBO) – The Congo Society is made up of the descendants of Ibo captives who arrived in the Americas from Angola(Ebo), Mozambique and the Congo and Gabon.  Ibo captives were shipped to the Americas throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.  Their practices are often reflective of that of the slave-trading tribes of whom they encountered such as the Imbangala, MaKua and Lemba.


Bibliography

 

1.    Afigbo, A.E.  Professor of History University of Nsukka.  The Age of Innocence (The Igbo and Their Neighbors in Pre-Colonial Times).  1981, Ahiojuku Lecture.

2.  Baike, William Balfour.  Narrative of an Exploring Voyage Up the Rivers Kwora and Binue Commonly Known as the Niger and Tsadde.  Frank Cass Ltd, London 1966.

3.  Beckwith, Carol and Angela Fisher.  The African Roots of Voodoo (National Geographics), August 2005 Issue, National Geographics Society, Washington, DC

4.  Blassingame, John W.  The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South.  Oxford University Press, New York 1979.

5.  BriefHistory fMozambique.  www.dana.ucc.nau.edu/nms/history.html

6.  Burton, Richard Francis, Sir.  Abeokuta the Cameroon Mountains, An Exploration by Richard F. Burton.  Tinsley Brothers, London 1863.

7.  Chambers, Douglas B.  Murder at Montpelier:  Igbo Africans in Virginia.  University Press of Mississippi, Jackson 2005.

8.  Courlander, Harold.  A Treasury of African-American Folklore.  Crown Publishers, New York 1966.

9.  Fisher, Mel.  The Last Slave Ships (Afro-Cuban Identities).

www.melfisher.org/lastslaveships/cuba.html

10.        Gates, Jr., Henry Louis (Ed).  The Classic Slave Narratives.  New American Library, New York 1987.

11.          “God and One Are Always a Majority”.  Mary Slessor: From Factory Girl to White Queen.  Glimpses Issue #128.  Christian History Institute, Worcester, PA 2003.

12.        Gonzales-Wippler, Migrene.  Santeria The Religion: A Legacy of Faith Rites and Magic Harmony.  New York 1994.

13.        Goodwine, Marquetta (Ed).  The Legacy of Ibo Landing Gullah Roots of African-American Culture.  Clarity Press, Atlanta, GA 1998.

14.        Greenberg, Kenneth (Ed).  Nat Turner, A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory.  Oxford University Press, New York 2003.

15.        Herskovits, Melville J.  The Myth of the Negro Past.  Beacon Press, Boston 1958.

16.        Horton, James Africanus Beale.  West African Countries and Peoples.  Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 1969 (1868).

17.        Iliffe, John.  Africa, The History of a Continent.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1995.

18.        Isichei, Elizabeth.  A History of the Igbo People.  Macmillan Publishers, 1976.

19.        Ibid. The Ibo People and the Europeans-The Genesis of a Relationship.  Faber and Faber Publishers, London, 1973.

20.      Lucas, Olumide.  The Religion of the Yoruba.  C.M.S. Workshop, Lagos 1948.

21.        Matibag, Eugenio. Afro-Cuba Religious Experience.  Cultural Reflections in Narrative.  University Press of Florida-Gainesville, 1966.

22.      McMillan, Hugh (Frank Shapiro).  Zion in Zambia.  I.D. Tauris Pub. 1998.

23.      Middleton, John.  The Lugbara of Uganda.  Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York 1965.

24.      Morgan, Philip P.  Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the 18th Century Chesapeake and Low Country.  University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill 1998.

25.      Mozambique WWF Expedition in Conservation.

www.secureworldwidelife.org/expeditions

26.      Nwabueze, Ben O., Professor.  The Igbos in the Context of Modern Government and Politics in Nigeria  (A Call for Self Examination and Correction).  Ahiojuku Lecture 1985.

27.      Nwangu, Chido.  Are We Igbos or “Ibos”?  www.usafricaonline.com/chido

28.      Obenge, Theophile.  Readings in Pre-Colonial Africa.  Karnak House Publications 1995.

29.      Odili, Ogechi.  Igbo Efulefo of the Western Kind.  January 6, 2004.

www.messageboard.biafranigeriaworld.com

30.      Onwuejeogwu, MA.  Evolutionary Trends in the History of Development of the Igbo Civilzation in the Cultural Theatre of Igboland in Southern Nigeria.  Ahiojuku Lecture 1987.            

31.        Onyebuchi, Amene, Esq.  Onitsha, A Child of Egypt.  The Eternal Lands of the Living Gods, Pt. 1.  www.onitshaado.net

32.      Smith, Robert.  The Kingdoms of the Yoruba.  University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 1992.

33.      Talbot, Percy Amaury.  In the Shadows of the Bush.  W. Heinemann, London 1912.  Negro University Press, New York 1969.

34.      Time Atlas of the World 9th Edition.  Times Books Publications 1994.

35.      Utsey, Shawn Ovie, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University.  A Gullah Raised 45 Minutes From Ibo Landing (Igbo origins confirmed through D.N.A. testing)  Igbo Studies Association.  isa@truman.edu

36.      Walvin, James.  Making the Black Atlantic Britain and the African Diaspora.  Sutton Pub. 1997.

37.      Williams, William H.  Slavery and Freedom in Delaware 1639-1865.  SR Books 1997.

38.      Woods, Rachel Malcolm.  Cheering the Ancestors Home: African Ideograms in African-American Cemeteries.  Folk Art Messenger, Vol. 17, No. 1, Spring/Summer 2004 Folk Art Society of America, Richmond Virginia.



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Dear Donita,

Attached in MS Word .doc is a reaction mail and response concerning the goodwill message. Please you should bring it to the attention of Prof. Emeagwali. I know it will thrill and interest him. Such comments will help him appreciate what he has written.

Personally, I find his message very powerful and kind of poetic. The more you read, the more meanings you get out of it. I guess he was truly inspired. The way he intelligently called up the heroic deeds and achievements of Umu Igbo through history and brought it poetically to inspire Umu Igbo in their quest for "Knowledge and Wisdom" leaves no doubt that he was inspired by the lives of these great Umu Igbo.

When I recall the experiences of Olaudah and Jabogha at 12 years of age, I cannot but relate it to Chukwuma’s "tragedy" of "dropping out" of school at 12 to carve his name in the annals of accomplished individuals and great minds of the world! I hope that our young ones will "eat" and "grow" from the juice of his message.

I already have a link to his website. He is also recognized in feathers of honour for distinguished Umu Igbo: http://www.africanwritings.com/tribute.htm .

If I have enough time, I will work to see if I can develop a dramatic performance piece for the message to go with the reading!

Please my regards to Prof.

Emmanuel Okoli

NOTE: This is my response to a person's mail about Emeagwali's Goodwill Message My point to point response follows.

Dear.......(name removed on request)

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I need to put certain things right for you to enable you understand the philosophy of Igbo and Igbo traditional religion which is very much linked to the Jewish culture.

When Saul was troubled by evil spirits (ajo mmuo), he sent for the witch at Endor, (person he had expelled earlier for practising witchcraft) requesting her to evoke or call up the spirit (ezi mmuo-good spirit)of Samuel". She "did" as we were told by the Bible. My point here is that Ndiigbo believe in Ezi mmuo (Good spirit) and Ajo Mmuo (Evil Spirit). Those ancestors who lived good lives are believed to act as guiding angels who are in their resting place ready to intervene when called upon to protect and inspire their offsprings. You have to call for them to answer you. It is like prayers, if you fail to call on God to intercede, he may ignore you. You have to demonstrate your loyalty, love and trust in Him before HE intervenes. It's the same with these "ancestral good spirits. Unlike the good spirits, the evil ones roam the earth restlessly causing mischief and wrecking havoc wherever they can because they lived a bad life and are unhappy. They are the causes of quarrels, fights, divorce, wars, crimes and generally most human sins. Emegwali's did not "invoke" King Jaja of Opobo and Olaudah Ikwuano individually but collectively. He selected the spirits of those that lived good and exemplary lives. Having identified individuals that we know of, who lived good lives, he collectively called on all dead to be near to us, whisper silently to us (remember "the still small voice") and guide us in our pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.

"May the spirits of those "Lost Igbos" walk beside you, whisper to you, and guide you in your quest for knowledge and wisdom". His wish and prayers assume that we should aim and fight to acquire "knowledge and wisdom" which is the sum of all human endeavours. King Solomon knew this and asked God of it. Now Emeagwali is praying that those spirits should abide with us and assist us acquired the desirable.

Below is my point to point response to your concerns!

Chinyeaka
(May God Give "us" a helping hand" or May God help us)



Reader:
To restate my point in other words, Dr. Emeagwali is without a doubt a genius in the computer engineering world. I am sure of that. But does he know the significance of what he is saying here??????

I don't think that he realizes the significance of his word.

Emmanuel Okoli:
I think he does! Even if he doesn't, such heart-felt messages are inspired and so could be coming directly from those good ancestors. Remember he may have been inspired by the same 'spirits' to achieve what he did for mankind.

Reader:
The Jews say in prayer: Barukh she'amar v'haya ha-olam, which when translated is Praised be God who create the world with His word. Some concepts from small prayer are that our words, no matter whether spoken in passing or a formal speach, are never to be taken lightly for they can do things beyond our intentions. I am sure that Dr. Emeagwali's intentions are not intended to be harmful but these words can be interpreted as such.

Emmanuel Okoli:
The problem, I suppose lies with the interpretation itself!

Reader:
You know the basic ancient Ndi-Igbo beliefs. You cannot permit someone regardless of their social status call for the invocation of Ajo mmuo and Ekwensu during the Igbo day festival. You just cannot permit that behaviour!

Emmanuel Okoli:
He did not invoke Ajo Mmuo and Ekwensu. Those heroic Ndiigbo were victims of slavery like Olauda Ikwuano and JaJa. They were captured and put into the ship to come and slave for their masters. Since they were victims of human inhumanity to fellow humans, they are believed to have died in protest of oppression and slavery like Ikwuano and Jubogha. Their spirits will always fight evil where ever they are and so might be called good spirits. They will not harm their children, brothers and sisters when evoked, will they?

Reader:
Invocation of the spirit of Olaudah Equiano yes! But I do not see any mention of this.

Emmanuel Okoli:
He did. He concluded by telling us:

"May the spirits of those "Lost Igbos" walk beside you, whisper to you, and guide you in your quest for knowledge and wisdom."

The title of his message is "Rediscovering our lost Igbo Brethren" The lost Igbos therefore include Ikwuano, Jebogha and all those that died at sea.

Reader:
Perhaps Dr. Emeagwali did not write this email but rather it came from one of his understudies.

Emmanuel Okoli:
He must have written it himself. Like the great mind he is, the more I read his message, the clearer it comes to me, and very strong and powerful too.

Reader:
I would get to the bottom of this before the event.

Emmanuel Okoli:
I guess I may have brought you nearer. Again, you know he is not coming for the event this year. That's why the "goodwill message"

Reader:
Do not hesitate forwarding this email to him but without my email address nor any information about me as I must have my anonymity preserved. A few years ago I had an interlude with Cardinal Arinze when he came to Calgary to give a lecture...we seemed to make a connection, I will see if I can contact him for advice concerning this important matter.

Emmanuel Okoli:
I will forward the mail as well as my response. I will not disclose your identity as requested. We learn from minds like you to seek explanations to things they do not understand.



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Subject: request for revision of Calgary Goodwill message
To: donita@emeagwali.com

Dear Dr. Emeagwali:

Greetings and congratulations on all your success in the computer engineering industry. May God bless you with continued advancement in this field and life in general.

Please find on futher down in this email transmission correspondence from me to a fellow member of the Igbo Association of Calgary. I have some 'syntax' errors in deciphering your goodwill message to the NdiIgbo of Calgary for our cultural celebration day this month. I know that your intention are without a doubt sincere, however the passage could be interpreted to invoke 'evil spirits' at our celebration potentially endangering those present. I am requesting that you rephrase the goodwill message to invoke only the nna-mmuo (good spirits) of Igbo landing or perhaps not mention them at all.

I would like to emphasize that I do not represent the NdiIgbo Association of Calgary. In fact, I rarely attend their assembly. Further, I am 1/2 Ndi-Igbo and 1/2 British. Having said that, I am still a titled Ndi-Igbo and my voice is of equal value. I neither doing this out of spite nor resentment but sincerity. I wish you continued success.

Blessings,

[name withheld on request]



.........................................

 

Ma'zi Chinyeaka,

After further examination of your writings, some clarity on the Igbo-landing issue is resolved and it is a point mid-way between both extremes of thought. Odinani would clearly classify those at Igbo landing who did not respect their temple and potentially took others NOT willing to do the same as ajo mmuo (evil spirits). I am taking that position now and they are not deserving of proper buriel rites. I do feel though that efforts should be made to repose their troubled souls albeit.

Now, thanks to your guidance, those poor souls who were taken without choice by the 'suicide bombers' as you call them are clearly nna-mmuo (hallowed ancestral spirits). Any one of them through their industrious Igbo nature and intelligence could have been an Olauda Ikwuano but their lives were cut short by ajo mmuo. They are tantamount to the Askenazic innocents of the Nazi death camps. They are heralded saints who stayed true to their core beliefs and were not martyred by the 'slavers' as you call them but rather by their own people, 'ajo mmuo'.

It is consitent with Odinani that these very same ajo mmuo could come back (ogbanje) to cause severe physical or mental suffering to our community, the NdiIgbo at Igbo day celebration. This is why it is of tantamount importance to clearly invoke the 'nna-mmuo or Ndiichie of Igbo landing' and not just the 'mmuo of Igbo landing'


Emeagwali wrote: On Igbo Day, I invoke the spirits of the heroic "Eboe" men, women, and children of
Georgia's Sea Islands who jumped off the slave boats and drowned themselves to escape slavery. Sea Islands folklore recalls how "defiant Eboe slaves," shackled at their ankles and necks, with tears in their eyes, chanted in unison, the eerie refrain:

He uses the adjective 'heroic' which would clearly imply nna-mmuo. It would be contradictory to describe evil as heroic would you not agree? He then goes on to clearly take the position that these people are heroic for destroying their temple to escape slavery. Logic would deduce that Emeagwali is not consistent with Odinani. Note well that I am not making a judgement on Emeagwali nor the souls of Igbo-landing. I am merely using logic to come to a rational conclusion to protect our people.

Odinani does state that ajo mmuo can cause severe physical and mental pain to mmadu (humans). Odinani does state that destruction of one's temple is an unpardonable sin (ajo njo). Everyone is capable of ajo njo, including you and I. I did not make these governing laws. They were created by Chukwu and it is not for us to massage them to meet our worldview which is strongly influenced by the west. This is why 'Things Fall Apart'. We must 'think outside the box'. The western worldview is causing our core beliefs to decay. The general saying goes that 'nobody is above the law'. This applies to everybody, including Ndi-Igbo who have achieved great success in the west. We have this terrible habit in the west of idolizing those who have done great things yet forget that they are mere humans and are capable of making tremendous errors. As you know, my belief is that the Ndi-Igbo and the Hebrews are chosen people and wh en we make these errors we will be judged first by G-d as we are supposed to know better (Romans 2:6-29). As it is a new lunar day my thoughts are much clearer now and I have taken and will stand up to this position without hiding behind a psydonym. Where do you stand?

Yours in Yeshua Ha Mashiach,

[name withheld on request]



---------------------------------------



Okenwa Nwosu writes:

Chukwurah,

The oru and osu castes represent classes of people whose societal rights are compromised as a consequence of roles they play in the traditional Igbo setting. The oru is literally a slave. The oru's bondage to the master is mostly economic. The master provides protection and nurture while the oru reciprocates with his services and unalloyed loyalty to his benefactor. The osu is not owned by any specific individuals or groups. The osu and his progeny are dedicated to the service of an Igbo deity. The indigenous traditionalist Igbo held deities in deep reverence and would fear to engage in intimate social interactions with the osu in order not to invoke the wrath of the deity that owned him. Since the introduction of osu caste system, about 600 years ago, the number of osus have increased steadily since joining the caste was a one-way journey till date. The number of orus, on the other hand, has fluctuated over much longer period of time because orus can buy their total freedom by paying off or negotiating with their owners. You can see that the osu issue has some spiritual overtone. While economic liberalization can practically wipe out the oru caste system, eradicating the osu system shall require much more.

I have some difficulty in grasping your reasons for characterizing Olaudah Equiano and Jubo Jubogha alias "Ja Ja," as orus. In traditional Igbo sense, they were like prisoners of war or booty for the conquering white slave traders. They joined the ranks of Diaspora Igbo population by force. The modern-day celebrants of Igbo Day in Calgary, Canada and elsewhere are, more or less, in voluntary exile in a foreign land. Heroic Igbo ancestors rejected slavery to the extent of opting to drown in the sea than live humiliating lives of being someone else's slaves in a strange land. Being an oru, in traditional Igbo sense, was actually not comparable to being a Whiteman's slave in the 18th Century New World. An oru in Igbo society is fully integrated into the societal mainstream as long as the relationship to his master is understood and observed. It is not unusual for a well-behaved oru to receive the assistance of his master in extricating the former out of his slave status.

As you may already be aware, I am member of Osondu Foundation, Inc. which is intent on spearheading a campaign to remove the last vestiges of osu caste system from Alaigbo. This is a complex undertaking which shall demand all that we can muster at present to throw at it. The first important step is ascertaining the facts about this issue and disseminating them to all willing ears and minds, both in Alaigbo and beyond. Some of us believe that a faster and more far-reaching impact shall be made by incorporating the elimination of osu caste system into a new consensus Igbo agenda aimed at creating the renascent 21st Century Igbo. There are many successful osus throughout Alaigbo as we speak. Personal successes, however, cannot extricate fellow Igbo from an osu heritage. That is why there aren't visible osu stars in the like of former orus who had risen to great heights from their humble beginnings.

When you complete this article, I would like to have it published also at the Osondu web site (http://www.osondu.com/ ) which is the publishing arm of Osondu Foundation, Inc. If you are interested, I would like to invite you to play a role in deriving the new consensus Igbo agenda for which a committee was set up on July 12, 2003 during the Dallas All-Igbo Political Summit. I am the Chairman of this committee.

Let's stay in touch.

Okenwa Nwosu


POINT OF CORRECTION

Dear Donita,

I wish to commend Okenwa Nwosu for his input on the OSU and ORU in Igboland. We all are into his fight to eradicate Osu Caste system in Igboland. I have actually been fighting this battle since 1983! Also, we tried to address the issue on Igbonet about four years ago. I hope that we shall succeed in no distant time. I wish to correct Okenwa Nwosu's assumption about Ndiigbo particularly those of us here in Calgary as well as about our Igbo Day Celebration. He wrote, "The modern-day celebrants of Igbo Day in Calgary, Canada and elsewhere are, more or less, in voluntary exile in a foreign land".

I totally disagree with such unscientific assumption and conclusion. Where did he get the 'facts' to draw such a 'sweepy' generalization? I bet you that one may not find up to 2% of Ndiigbo here who are on voluntary exile (depending on what he means by voluntary exile). A person on exile does not travel to the "forbidden land" to and fro at will. You get my drift? Canada as well as Nigeria allows dual citizenship. As citizens of both countries, it is our duty to serve both countries and integrate them towards better understanding of one another. This is what we are doing. I would rather have him call us 'cultural bridge' assisting in integrating Ndiigbo at home with the rest of the world through exposure and sharing of our cherished culture. I will love him to study our programmes and projects as well as attend our Igbo Day celebration, and the all famous Nigerian-Canadian Association of Calgary Galanight celebration to find out if we are actually on voluntary exile or are ambassadors of our people!

Emmanuel Chinyeaka Okoli
Founder, ICAC
Calgary, Canada
caditech.com
africanwritings.com

Visit: igbocalgary.com





Okenwa Nwosu replies:

Emmanuel,

Your point of correction is well noted and accepted in good faith. The import of massive emigration of Africans, particularly Ndiigbo, to the industrialized countries of Europe and North America shall be missed if this earth-shaking phenomenon is simply regarded as providing a "cultural bridge" between the countries concerned. Bridge building is supposed to be a collaborative bilateral effort. When it becomes unilateral, one is apt to characterize the situation as a voluntary exile or brain drain. Dr. Emeagwali was recently reported by one of the Nigerian newspapers as decrying the brain drain that currently ravages the economies of many poor African countries. Would you prefer the Igbo intelligentsia to massively desert Alaigbo and sojourn elsewhere as "cultural bridge", as is the case now, rather than provide leadership at home where most of our kith and kin are domiciled?

I commend Ndiigbo in Calgary for organizing to orchestrate annual Igbo Day celebrations. The ultimate ambition of the Igbo elite, however, must still be the establishment of a virile home base in Alaigbo so as to minimize the acute urge for its gifted sons and daughters to prefer to live and procreate in foreign lands. If this trend continues unchecked, things may soon fall apart to the extent that celebrating an Igbo Day anywhere shall become an oxymoron.

Okenwa.
osondu.com


This book describes the social outcasts in Igbo land called osu and oru. Ma'zi Equiano and Jubogha belonged to the oru caste. By definition, the 200 million Diasporan Africans also belong to the oru caste.

Read excerpts from the above book at
http://www.gamji.com/NEWS1563.htm
http://www.gamji.com/NEWS1529.htm
http://www.umuaka.net/Politics/Politics.htm#dike
http://www.nigerdeltacongress.com/particles/politics_of_descent.htm

 

 


Ma'zi Equiano died on 31 March 1797



.........................................



Excerpts: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African.



I was born, in the year 1745, in a charming fruitful vale, named Essaka. The distance of this province from the capital of
Benin and the sea coast must be very considerable; for I had never heard of white men or Europeans, nor of the sea.

The dress of both sexes is nearly the same. It generally consists of a long piece of calico, or muslin, wrapped loosely round the body, somewhat in the form of a highland plaid. This is usually dyed blue, which is our favourite colour. It is extracted from a berry, and is brighter and richer than any I have seen in Europe. Besides this, our women of distinction wear golden ornaments; which they dispose with some profusion on their arms and legs. When our women are not employed with the men in tillage, their usual occupation is spinning and weaving cotton, which they afterwards dye, and make it into garments. They also manufacture earthen vessels, of which we have many kinds.



.........................................



My father, besides many slaves, had a numerous family, of which seven lived to grow up, including myself and a sister, who was the only daughter. As I was the youngest of the sons, I became, of course, the greatest favourite of my mother, and was always with her; and she used to take particular pains to form my mind. I was trained up from my earliest years in the arts of agriculture and war; and my mother adorned me with emblems, after the manner of our greatest warriors. In this way I grew up till I was turned the age of eleven, when an end was put to my happiness in the following manner:- - Generally, when the grown people in the neighbourhood were gone far in the fields to labour, the children assembled together in some of the neighborhood's premises to play; and commonly some of us used to get up a tree to look out for any assailant, or kidnapper, that might come upon us; for they sometimes took those opportunities of our parents' absence, to attack and carry off as many as they could seize. One day, as I was watching at the top of a tree in our yard, I saw one of those people come into the yard of our next neighbour but one, to kidnap, there being many stout young people in it. Immediately, on this, I gave the alarm of the rogue, and he was surrounded by the stoutest of them, who entangled him with cords, so that he could not escape till some of the grown people came and secured him. But alas! ere long, it was my fate to be thus attacked, and to be carried off, when none of the grown people were nigh. One day, when all our people were gone out to their works as usual, and only I and my dear sister were left to mind the house, two men and a woman got over our walls, and in a moment seized us both; and, without giving us time to cry out, or make resistance, they stopped our mouths, and ran off with us into the nearest wood. Here they tied our hands, and continued to carry us as far as they could, till night came on, when we reached a small house, where the robbers halted for refreshment, and spent the night. We were then unbound; but were unable to take any food; and, being quite overpowered by fatigue and grief, our only relief was some sleep, which allayed our misfortune for a short time.



...........................................



The first object which saluted my eyes when I arrived on the coast, was the sea, and a slave ship, which was then riding at anchor, and waiting for its cargo. These filled me with astonishment, which was soon converted into terror, when I was carried on board. I was immediately handled, and tossed up to see if I were sound, by some of the crew; and I was now persuaded that I had gotten into a world of bad spirits, and that they were going to kill me.

Their complexions, too, differing so much from ours, their long hair, and the language they spoke, (which was very different from any I had ever heard) united to confirm me in this belief. Indeed, such were the horrors of my views and fears at the moment, that, if ten thousand worlds had been my own, I would have freely parted with them all to have exchanged my condition with that of the meanest slave in my own country.

When I looked round the ship too, and saw a large furnace of copper boiling, and a multitude of black people of every description chained together, every one of their countenances expressing dejection and sorrow, I no longer doubted of my fate; and, quite overpowered with horror and anguish, I fell motionless on the deck and fainted. When I recovered a little, I found some black people about me, who I believed were some of those who had brought me on board, and had been receiving their pay; they talked to me in order to cheer me, but all in vain. I asked them if we were not to be eaten by those white men with horrible looks, red faces, and long hair. They told me I was not: and one of the crew brought me a small portion of spirituous liquor in a wine glass, but, being afraid of him, I would not take it out of his hand. One of the blacks, therefore, took it from him and gave it to me, and I took a little down my palate, which, instead of reviving me, as they thought it would, throw me into the greatest consternation at the strange feeling it produced, having never tasted any such liquor before. Soon after this, the blacks who brought me on board went off, and left me abandoned to despair.



..................................



I was soon put down under the decks, and there I received such a greeting in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my life; so that, with the loathsomeness of the stench, and crying together, I became so sick and low that I was not able to eat, nor had I the least desire to taste anything. I now wished for the last friend, death, to relieve me; but soon, to my grief, two of the white men offered me eatables; and, on my refusing to eat, one of them held me fast by the hands, and laid me across, I think, the windlass, and tied my feet, while the other flogged me severely.

The white people looked and acted, as I thought, in so savage a manner; for I had never seen among my people such instances of brutal cruelty. The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us.

The air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died. The wretched situation was again aggravated by the chains, now unsupportable, and the filth of the necessary tubs, into which the children often fell, and were almost suffocated. The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.



...........................



At last, we came in sight of the
island of Barbados, at which the whites on board gave a great shout, and made many signs of joy to us. We did not know what to think of this; but as the vessel drew nearer, we plainly saw the harbor, and other ships of different kinds and sizes, and we soon anchored amongst them, off Bridgetown.

Many merchants and planters now came on board, though it was in the evening. They put us in separate parcels, and examined us attentively. They also made us jump, and pointed to the land, signifying we were to go there. We thought by this, we should be eaten by these ugly men, as they appeared to us; and, when soon after we were all put down under the deck again, there was much dread and trembling among us, and nothing but bitter cries to be heard all the night from these apprehensions, insomuch, that at last the white people got some old slaves from the land to pacify us. They told us we were not to be eaten, but to work, and were soon to go on land, where we should see many of our country people. This report eased us much. And sure enough, soon after we were landed, there came to us Africans of all languages.



................................



We were not many days in the merchant's custody, before we were sold after their usual manner, which is this: On a signal given, (as the beat of a drum) the buyers rush at once into the yard where the slaves are confined, and make choice of that parcel they like best. The noise and clamor with which this is attended, and the eagerness visible in the countenances of the buyers, serve not a little to increase the apprehension of terrified Africans, who may well be supposed to consider them as the ministers of that destruction to which they think themselves devoted.

In this manner, without scruple, are relations and friends separated, most of them never to see each other again. I remember, in the vessel in which I was brought over, in the men's apartment, there were several brothers, who, in the sale, were sold in different lots; and it was very moving on this occasion, to see and hear their cries at parting. Is it not enough that we are torn from our country and friends, to toil for your luxury and lust of gain? Must every tender feeling be likewise sacrificed to your avarice? Are the dearest friends and relations, now rendered more dear by their separation from their kindred, still to be parted from each other, and thus prevented from cheering the gloom of slavery, with the small comfort of being together; and mingling their sufferings and sorrows? Why are parents to lose their children, brothers their sisters, husbands their wives? Surely, this is a new refinement in cruelty, which, while it has no advantage to atone for it, thus aggravates distress; and adds fresh horrors even to the wretchedness of slavery.



................................



While I was thus employed by my master, I was often a witness to cruelties of every kind, which were exercised on my unhappy fellow slaves. I used frequently to have different cargoes of new Negroes in my care for sale; and it was almost a constant practice with our clerks, and other whites, to commit violent depredations on the chastity of the female slaves; and these I was, though with reluctance, obliged to submit to at all times, being unable to help them. When we have had some of these slaves on board my master's vessels, to carry them to other islands, or to
America, I have known our mates to commit these acts most shamefully, to the disgrace, not of Christians only, but of men. I have even known them to gratify their brutal passion with females not ten years old; and these abominations, some of them practised to such scandalous excess, that one of our captains discharged the mate and others on that account. And yet in Montserrat I have seen a Negro man staked to the ground, and cut most shockingly, and then his ears cut off bit by bit, because he had been connected with a white woman, who was a common prostitute. As if it were no crime in the whites to rob an innocent African girl of her virtue, but most heinous in a black man only to gratify a passion of nature, where the temptation was offered by one of a different color, though the most abandoned woman of her species.



................................

 

 


Philip Emeagwali, biography, A Father of the Internet, supercomputer pioneer, Nigerian scientist, inventor

Visit emeagwali.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EZE J.A. NWALOZIE  

ezeigbo@europe.com

spain

13. June 2004

 

I , PRAY IF THE IGBOS CAN HAVE MANY OF EMEAGWALIS ,ALTHOUGH, THERE ARE ALOT OF EMEAGWALIS IN IGBO LAND TODAY,WASTING AWAY DUE TO LACK OF FUNDS TO TAKE THEM UP .EMEAGWALI, INDEED YOU ARE THE FATHER OF THE INTERNET . 

 

 

 

ajuka hitler  

princehitlera@yahoo.com

ebonyistate nigeria

11. June 2004

 

Hi,

 

I love you for you have shown the world that the igbos have stuff that can make things happen. 

 

Image Hosting by Vendio[MSOffice15] 

 

kingsley nnabuihe  

owerri, nigeria

11. June 2004

 

sir,

 

i visit your website everday i go for browsing because, i am very proud to associate with an icon like you.

 

you are a gift to the african and the proud igbos.

 

God sent you to be a shining light in our horizon, keep on shining. 

 

 

 

Ozo Ezeanochie Uchenna  

uchenna2002@hotmail.com

Location:

Tokyo - Japan

30. May 2004

 

Please please please help and plant thousands of emeagwalis in the Igbo nation and empower Igbo nations children with your specially God given knowledge by investing massively on the IT industries in no other place in Nigeria/Africa except in Igbo land. Charity begins at home. Then after the investment, we would extend the braches of your IT industries to Oduduwa nation our beloved in-laws. 

 

Image Hosting by Vendio[MSOffice16] 

 

EKWURUKE HENRY N  

ekwuruke@catholicexchange.com

Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria

14. May 2004

 

SIR,

I AM HAPPY FOR YOU AND THE WAY YOU HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING THE IGBO COMMUNITY I GIVE TO U A MILLOIN EVEN A TRILLION KUDOS,JIDE NKE IJI MAKE NA NKE I JI AMAKA.MY GOD BLESS,PROTECT AND KEEP YOU FOR US.I AM PROUD OF YOU SIR.I AM EKWURUKE HENRY NNADOZIE

UMUAHIA ABIA STATE NIGERIA 

 

 

KENNEDY  

kenonline@excite.com

Nnamdi Azikiwe university Awka

13. May 2004

 

its time to let the world know that given better opportunities ,Africans especially Igbos will have a place in the scientific and economic development of the world.african youths have the potentials foe greatness but bad government has always deprived them of there talent and most end up in main market onisha

bros we are proud of you 

 

 

 

okechukwu  

pixykool@yahoo.com

imo state ,Nigeria

13 May 2004

 

I extol your achievement. I am proud of you. I like reading about you. I love you as an Igbo, an African-American and the Bill Gates of Africa. You a have role to play in the development of young minds without opportunities.

 

I pray to be like you in my field though better opportunities are not provided here but God will see me through.

 

I love you.

 

Your Brother,

Okechukwu Kennedy Chieme

Imo State, Nigeria. 21-years

08035611773 

 

 

 

Prayer Odede  

oratiomena@yahoo.com

Nigeria

12 May 2004

 

It’s a pity that I never knew of a great mind on my own, but through a foreigner who told me about my own brother. Well, I rebuked him for calling you Africa's Bill Gate cos u got the brain and not just the capital to buy others' intelligence. U have greater height to climb to brother! I Just hope the world now sees that the falacy of hasty generalization is a big intellectual dishonesty. Igbos, don’t be tribalistic here for the world to see. He is African and Nigeria. Okpari! 

 

 

Osondu Onoh  

osolife@ono.com

Spain

9 May 2004

 

I am so delighted to find a place like this with IGBO trade mark. Sir, you have succeeded where others failed, you are a complete success. 

 

[MSOffice17] 

 

Onyedikachi Uzoma Ihegworo  

kachilithoman@yahoo.com

Nigeria

9. May 2004

 

 

You are a rare gem and an Emeagwali the great. The blood of igboman is running in you and I must not fail to thank you immensely for your endeavours to elevate the Igbo man in such a distant land. Exert yourself more. You still have more hidden untapped wisdom in the field of science. 

 

Igboanusi .c. Emeka  

meskanyno@yahoo.com

Nigeria/Biafra

5 May 2004

 

i am a biafra hip pop rapper, based in lagos

i want to take up afro hip pop to surport the igbos round the world, i need ur help in terms of developing my web site. so lets talk sabout this please mail me meskanyno@YAHOO.COM 

 

 

Chigbo Onwelumadu  

chigboonwelumadu@yahoo.co.uk

No 4 Biafra Road Awkuzu

4 May 2004

 

Oh my dear brother Philip Emeagwali. We are proud of you and God will continue to bless you.

I am always happy to see or hear from my kinsmen. Biafra KWENU!!!!. 

 

 

nwizugbo chijioke victor  

vickoko4life@yahoo.com

southwest, nigeria

3 May 2004

 

oops..what a great achievement.Ndigbos and indeed nigerians are really proud of u. thumbs up and keep it flowing.

eke ne m. 

 

 

OHALETE, VICTOR EJIKEME  

 

30 April 2004

 

WE'VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT YOU AND YOUR EXPLOITS. MAY GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU AS YOU CONTINUE TO BRING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGES IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS.

 

Ezigbo nwa afo, Chukwu gozie gi.

 

Nwanna gi,

Ejikemeuwa. 

 

Chimatara Nicholas-Peterson  

angelic17dy@yahoo.com

Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

29 April 2004

 

Bros, i dey hail u. E no dey easy at all; to go yonder dey make name, in maths/computer for that matter. Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i guess we still get hundreds emeagwali's for this Niger, this na mile stone to this country - Biafra and igboland.

 

Ride on with your intelligent wife 

 

 

 

UCHENNA IKEKPEAZU  

 NIGERIA

29 April 2004

 

I AM SO HAPPY TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH U AND UR ADVENTURES. IT IS A GOOD THING FOR THE IGBO RACE. LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA. 

 

[MSOffice18] 

 

Nwankwo Chigozie Emmanuel  

bravotp@yahoo.com

2 Ogunrinde street lagos Nig.

29 April 2004

 

Good day Prof Philip Emeagwali. I am a regular fan to this great Igbo's son who has given honour and pride to all Igbo's. May God continue to bless you and all those who believe in Biafra. 

 

 

Nwankwo Chigozie Emmanuel  

chigotp@yahoo.com

2 Ogunrinde street lagos Nig.

28 April 2004

 

More grease to your elbow Mr. Philip Emeagwali. I am very proud to come from the Igbo race. You are such a wonderful man. I dream of becoming like you.

 

It's my pleasure to call you my idol whom I emulate. God will continue to bless you and your family and all the Igbo's in the world.

 

Thanks Father of Internet. 

 

 

 

Kene Abana  

Kenenri@yahoo.com

Germany

28. April 2004

 

I congratulate and salute you. You have really proved you are a genius and a legend of our time.Technology can only be sold or stolen, nobody can transfer it. I sincerely want you to sell or share your technological abilities to your Igbo brothers, Nigerians in particulars and Africa in general for the continuity of your legacy. Ogbu-nigwe died for lack of continuity. I salute you once again!

 

Kene. 

 

 

Nwimo, Godwin Chibuzor:

You are Great. Your site is motivating and challenging.

Highly inspirational to both young and old.

The Igbos, Nigerians and the world at large salute you for your contribution to the development of information technology. Move on. God is in control.

Please don't forget "The Rising Sun" 

 

 

Ike Sam Eneje  

seneje@yahoo.co.uk

Lagos, Nigeria

23 April 2004

 

I was overwhelmed with joy for that outstanding record to the credit of the black race.

 

Emeagwali, jisie ike, chukwu dube gi nke oma. Ndi Igbo ga ebi, ha ga na-aga n`iru. 

 

 

NDUKWE, victor  

Victor.Ndukwe@shell.com

P3-013 Production Building

23 April 2004

 

Please continue to create wave in the computer world and for the Igbo race. 

 

 

esfour4esfouresfour1[MSOffice19]      

 

 

Ikemba Eze  

Ikemba.Eze@ncr.com

Lagos

22 April 2004

 

Dear Philip,

 

I read about you, Dale and Ijeoma a few years back and was very pleased about what I saw. You a truly multi-tasking fellow because the few mails I sent them asking for your opinion on issues were responded to quite promptly.

 

Does Ijeoma have brothers and sisters yet? The Lord should enable you leave the world more copies of you, especially godly you.

 

Chukwu bi n'elu goziri Ndi Igbo nek oma.

Ji sike, nwa nna a!!! 

 

 

 

 

jude donatus  

judonatus2000@yahoo.com

Location:

benin city ,Edo state Nigeria

22 April 2004

 

I WAS SO HAPPY 4U WHEN I HEARD THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT YOUR ELEVATION AS THE NUMBER ONE MAN IN THE INTERNET. AT LEAST MAKING NDIGBO AND THE ENTIRE BIAFRAN LAND PROUD. GOD WILL BE THE 4 U TO UPLIFT YR BRAIN. JUDE. 

 

 

Chike Okoroafor  

cokoroafor@total.com.ng

Nigeria

22 April 2004

 

I shed tears of joy to know that we (Nigerians and the Igbo race in particular) have a gem like you. I am inspired greatly by your life. I wish you all the best as I keep a tab on your achievements. 

 

 

Chibueze Ukwuani  

chibueze22@yahoo.com

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

22 April 2004

 

The best is yet to come because so many great minds like you are here in the South East of Nigeria. Please keep the flag flying.

I make bold to say that your speech at the last Igbo Day celebration in the USA was the greatest morale booster for those of us that believe in great men.

 

Olisa chebe gi! 

 

 

 

 

Akpaenyi Oluchi  

oluchi.akpaenyi@shell.com

Location:

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

22. April 2004

 

Doc,

 

I am proud to be associated with you, both as a Nigerian and as 'Onye Igbo'. You are truly a source of inspiration to us. Your beautiful and equally intelligent wife, who co-incidentally is a fellow microbiologist, is not left out.

 

May the Good Lord continue to bless and uplift your entire family more than you can ever imagine in Jesus Name - Amen! 

 

 

 

 

Nelson  

noge_m2@yahoo.com

Las-gidis, Naija

22 April 2004

 

Broda, You have actually proved that, “The strength of a man is propelled by the determination in his heart.”

 

We urge you not to forget HOME! As seasoned "nwa afo" Igbo, "When the wealth gets home, we shall the maker of the wealth"

 

Keep up the good job at all times! 

 

 

 

Nwachukwu Chibuike B.  

chibuike.nwachukwu@shell.com

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

22. April 2004

 

Phil, you have proven that Igbos are born

genius blessed by the ALMIGHTY. That if we Igbos are given equal chance and opportunity both in academics and economics conditions many more scientist of high esteem shall be produced.

 

Congratulations. 

 

 

 

 

Chidozie Nwangwa  

ladozie2000@yahoo.com

Nigeria

22 April 2004

 

Dear Mr. Emeagwali:

 

It gives me great joy that a Nigerian, an

Igbo man for that matter is making waves

in the world of science. We Igbos back home

salute u and urge u 2 keep up d good work. God bless u. 

 

 

 

 

Francis Ekene Nworah  

kensco4real@yahoo.co.uk

Kaduna South

20. April 2004

 

I am Francis Nworah, a Nigerian from Umbele Awka South LGA in Anambra State, though not trying to tribalistic. I am writing this day to commend you for your effort that makes the Igbos, Nigerians, Africans, World and above all our Lord Jesus Christ proud as a Christian and well devouted person that knows how to plan his works and work his plans.

 

I say a very big KUDOS to you and to many others like you wherever they are. I applaud you for the gift of knowledge been given to you by God to accomplished what lead to your nick-named as “A Father of The Internet” as read in CNN dated February 9, 2001 Web posted at: 3:43 PM EST(2043 GMT) after been affirmed by the white.

 

We are very proud of people like you over there, not to those that believe making it out there must be through a CROOK method which they called “short cut formula,” but the shortest possible cut formula had already been founded by you 'cos you worked for good towards that. Sir, “The Father of The Internet,” we also have the zealness to be like you and even do greater things than you've done to the glory of God to the whole world. However, how can we get this started? But I still work hard every now and then 'cos of my faith and dream to be actualised. I know I have a DREAM that MUST come to being. 

 

 

 

bonny chim mbanuba  

cbombachem@hotmail.com

Spain

 19 April 2004

 

Philip is a rare creature. I thank God he's from Igbo race. 

 

 

PwStudent  

phillycheesesteak980@yahoo.com

USA

15 April 2004

 

Hello,

 

I was wondering if anyone on here could help me with some research on the Igbo tribe. I am a high school student doing a research project about the Igbo. I was wondering if anyone had pictures from what any of the villages looked like today, and how the lifestyle and religion changed. My E Mail address is Phillycheesesteak980 at yahoo.com

 

Any information on these subjects would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advanced. 

 

 

 

 

fred  

sarksstone@yahoo.com

nsukka/nigeria

9 April 2004

 

dear sir:

 

am very happy that this country [nigeria]

has intellects like u as a citizen. as a great man and a very good friend of the ikemba [emeka ojukwu] i would have like the whole igbo race to immortalise him now he is very much alive. since he is a leaving legend.

 

we the new generation only hear of him as a myth and think the he only existed in the imagination of our parent's. dear sir, a person of the caliber of the ikemba should’ve been adviced to open a center of intellectual learning so as to impact a sense of communal altriustic believe in we the growing generations from this part of the world.

u see it pains my heart when ever i hear over the mass media that this legend of us invloved himself with the project of re-building nigeria, thru the white elephant presidential election that was held over the country one begins to wonder if this man has really lost his sense of hindsight which he was noted for.

 

as a lay man myself i saw the out come of the election six months b4 it even was held and to hear that a man of his caliber entangled himself with such macabre election really made my heart bleed.

as far as am concerned the nigeria project has failed us all and it has turned us all against our blood brother's there by making us refugees in our own country. u see sir i really love this country from the bottom of my heart. but is the governing system that i can’t stomach. 

 

 

 

 

Kelechi Obiagwu  

kay4u202@yahoo.com

Lagos, Nigeria.

3 April 2004

 

My father brought me to your site and your achievements have further inspired me. I am more inspired knowing that you are an Igbo man and I share a common ancestry with you. I will visit again and again and again and again.... 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Mmemee Nwokoye  

larrydekingmails@yahoo.com

Biafran home-coal city

29 March 2004

 

Prof,

 

You are great, you have shown to the world that Igbos are really from the east, the domain of scientific evaluations.

 

It is very clear as every Nigerian can see what is going on in NNEWI, THE BIAFRAN

TECHNOLICAL CITY. CALLING TO MIND ALSO ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL INNOVATIONS IN ENYIMBA CITY-ABA.

 

EMEGWALI, KEEP THE FLAG FLYING AS THE SUN RISES TO SHINE IN BIAFRA. 

 

 

Chukwuka Okoye  

morokoye17@yahoo.com

Oraukwu, Anambra State, Nigeria

27 March 2004

 

I never knew you would be interested in the Nigerian/Igbo cause. I used to think you were just a computer guru. Cheers. 

 

 

 

IKE CHRISTIAN  

IKEIC@HOTMAIL.COM

MIAMI

25 March 2004

 

PROF,

GOOD JOB, AN EMBODIMENT OF THE IGBO INGENUITY,

WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!!!! 

 

 

kenkwo stanley  

stanic2004@yahoo.com

Abuja, Nigeria

23 March 2004

 

I thank u Sir for the things u`re doing. In fact, u have us proud we the black especially we the igbos in nigeria and the Biafran land as hole we say may God bless u and u`re family amen.

 

Stanley

 

 

muniru oladele idris  

idris_oladele@hotmail.com

agege, lagos

21 March 2004

 

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have geatness trust upon them. And also, great men are known for their works.

 

Although, I am not an igbo i appreciate your success. In fact, I am really envying you and i hope i could come out with something like you did. I used to regret being a Nigerian sometimes but with an emeagwali i am relief.

 

However, I have not seen much of you and your works in your country. WHY. It is baffling. I think it is hightime you think of how you and your talent could affect a lay man in Nigeria positively.

YOU ARE GOOD. YOU ARE GREAT. YOU ARE A NIGERIAN NOT AN IBO. 

 

 

Meche  

lordmeche@hotmail.com

Lagos

21 March 2004

 

I'm taking time to study your website and indeed i found it very informative and educative. I'm happy that the civil war did not eat you, who would have thought an "IGBO" would become somebody on earth after three years of fighting with bare hands to defend out mother/fatherland. after going through the genocide page in www.biafraland.com, i was very much concerned about the wickness of our enemies. you would have been of those massacred but "CHUKWU" God kept you knowing the better part of your life from the beginning. I am happy that you have not forgotten who and where you come from "BIAFRA." Our dream will only come to pass when we wake up, and now is the time to wake up. I am signing this guestbook for the second time and have recommended it to some many people outside my beloved nation "IGBO".

 

Dr., the world is yet to see the best of you and “IGBOS” at large for God has chosen the foolish things of this world to the detriment of the wise. we fight for the independence of NDI IGBO. Our lives we owe ourselves and the generation to come will extol our selfless effort. "Meche NA-ASI GI NDEEWO"

 

 

CHINAZO OFFOREKWE:

Abum ofu onye na ndi so na alu ogua iji hu na anyi nwere onwe anyi.ejim nwa obere ogea na asi gi jisie ike na olu ina alu. akam bukwa nwannegi nime MASSOB. Abum CHINAZO OFFOREKWE. 

 

 

CHINAZO OFFOREKWE:

Abum ofu onye na ndi so na alu ogua iji hu na anyi nwere onwe anyi.ejim nwa obere ogea na asi gi jisie ike na olu ina alu. akam bukwa nwannegi nime MASSOB.Abum CHINAZO OFFOREKWE. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Njoku Sunny Anayo  

sunnystyles007@yahoo.fr

Cote d'ivorie

20 March 2004

 

Dear big bros,

 

I am realy proud of you as an Igbo man. Pls. keep it on! And kindly take a look at the situations of the Igbos, and pls do something. If possible give us what Ikemba nnewi could not give us. And i will be very happy. We are all behind you big bros. 

 

[MSOffice20] 

 

Anayo Hyginus Ozoemena  

anayo_nna@hotmail.com

China

19 March 2004

 

Hello Phillip,

 

You are a big brother and a source of inspiration. You are the relic of what the phenomenon “IGBO” stood for prior to the Nigerian civil war.

 

Despite all the setbacks faced by Igbos, I want to remind you and all others that we should remain proud and humble because we haven't delivered our God-sent message to the world.

 

Though it might be difficult but could be possible, I long for the day I myself and millions of our youths will hear and act like you in the spirit of the propagation of Igbo culture to the outside world.

I thank you immensily for what you have done so far and urge millions of others to follow EMEAGWALI'S footstep.

 

Thank you,

Anayo 

 

 

Udeh Augustine Chukwudinka  

realaustyn1@yahoo.com

Lagos, Nigeria

15 March 2004

 

I am proud of you, you made me proud of my identity as a black man, an African, a Nigerian and above all my Igbo identity.

 

I wish I could use the little I have to impact much like you. 

 

Omanukkwue Stanley  

synkol20@yahoo.com

Akwa

6 March 2004

 

I thank God, for having such a person from IGBO LAND {BIAFRA}. Keep it upppp. 

 

 

chikwendu kennedy  

chikwenduk@yahoo.co.uk

lagos/dubai

3 March 2004

 

since awolowo and his nigerian cohorts failed in their plan to subject the igbos to perpetual slavery after the civil war, it is obvious that the reverse will be the case in no time. 

 

 

Anyabolu Cosmas  

cosmasanyabolu@yahoo.co.uk

Bayelsa state, Nigeria

28 February 2004

 

When a friend told me that an Igboman was named the most intelligent man in the world I did not believe him until I read about you.

 

Keep it up big brother. 

 

 

frank okasili  

frankiebestman@yahoo.com

Nigeria

25 February 2004

 

Emeagwali,

I am an Igbo guy that is very proud of you. Most importantly, I am from Anambra state. I would like to know whether you`re aware of all the madness we`ve experiencing in the state. How soon are we gonna realize our dream "BIAFRA?"

 

Thank you & GOD bless.

 

Regards,

Frank 

 

 

Meche  

lordmeche@hotmail.com

Nigeria

22 February 2004

 

Igbo bu “EZE!”  Hail the great Igboman, a renown scientist, hope for the black heritage, we are proud of you. 

 

 

Chikere Ezeh  

chikere@chikere.com

London

1 February 2004

 

In my opinion you are the greatest living Igbo man and should serve as an inspiration to us all. When we look out we see little or no hope in our community. However coming to your web site has given me a rare sense of belonging and pride. God bless you Sir. 

 

 

JOHN ERONDU  

erojon@yahoo.com

Nigeria

25 January 2004

 

Dear brother,

In fact, Africa is proud of you and the entire world. You have made IGBO proud. God will keep you a life to enjoy the fruit of your labour, Amen. 

 

 

 

benny  

bennyguytech@yahoo.com

Asaba, Delta state, Nigeria

29 December 2003

 

happy xmas and a fruitful new year to Prof Emeagwali.

there are so many opportunities here in Nigeria to invest in. Could you here in Information Technology enhancement in Nigeria. Nigeria recently launced her Sat1 what do you have to say on this.

 

-----------------------

Ngozi ng4ubesie@yahoo.c:

It's a welcome development.I just hope we continue to improve because other countries are now using imasat m. 

 

-----------------------

floxy:

We the Igbo's happy 2 have u as our brother."Jidekwa nke iji" We pray 4 ur success. 

 

 

 

leo-anthony  

badboytony1@hotmail.com

Italy

12 December 2003

 

Dear, you are a role model to us, young africans and nigerians in particular, as a young student, i want to read computer and nuclear engineering, i am taking you as my personal model role. It makes me feel proud of being not only black, nigerian but an igbo like you. i think our government should be working with people like you. if you can, pls do drop me some few words of encouragement, or maybe advice on how and what best to do that will help me in my field of education. finally. (Nwanne jisie ike, we are proud of you). 

 

 

Fapohunda, Ayodeji Oluwasola  

ayromeo974@yahoo.com

Ijan - Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nig

12 December 2003

 

A lot has been heard and said about you. I did not that you have a web site like this until a friend mail your web site to me.

 

Hardly in Nigeria of today can find a man of high profile like claiming such inheritance you have proved from all reason doubt that you from. Apart from international scene back home here many are ashame disclosing their identity. There is still this norm in Igbo land which I do not really think it suppose to be that is the OUTCAST phenomenon that is so paramont in their culture. If I may ask is it suppose to like that, since we are coping western religion or should we copy 75% of their against 25% of ours?

Also, I will like to know the your effort in making a brighter future for upcoming children in the field of technology, going by what I read on your web site that "But what I want to say to you is there is another Philip Emeagwali -- or hundreds of them -- or thousands of them -- growing up in Nigeria today. I thought about it when I was driving in from the airport and then driving around to my appointments, looking into the face of children. You never know what potential is in their mind and in their heart; what imagination they have; what they have already thought of and dreamed of that may be locked in because they don't have the means to take it out...."

In my own veiw, if this true I think something needs to be done and done very urgently. 

 

 

emmanuel emenike  

ekemenike@yahoo.co.uk

Lagos, Nigeria

4 December 2003

 

The accomplishments of Philip Emeagwali make me feel very proud of my heritage as Igbo person. I do really admire Philip a lot as well as the equally brilliant and pretty wife. My first son is desiring to accomplish as much as Philip and I downloaded information from this website to inspire him. At 15, he is already in the university studying information technology. He came out with A1 in mathematics and I believe he would surpass his role model Philip the way he is going. My advise for Philip is to try to do something for his native Igbo race to leave indelible footprints in the land. Best wishes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Ofomata somadina  

summerjamers@yahoo.com

Nigeria

29 November 2003

 

Emeagwali is a living genius, he has made the black race happy as well as the igbo's in diaspora cus the igbo's as we all know are hard working and focused people, this is the type of people Nigeria needs, an educationist, scientist and an orator who knows where he was heading to and where he came from. Big brother a giant kudos to you, you made us proud. Ride on. 

 

 

Enyi Patrick Enyi  

e_p_enyi@yahoo.com

Onitsha, Nigeria

27 November 2003

 

I am truly proud of you. God enabled you to overcome the obstacle of tribal hatred, enthronement of mediocrity and preference of family affinity to merit to bring out in you what is endowed in most Igbos of our time. For those of us who are not lucky enough to evade the shackles of enslavement and backwardness called Nigeria, we thank God for you and we shall continue to pray for more success. Please remember to support our cause - the realization of Biafra. Thanks a million.

Enyi 

 

 

Robert Ajani  

robertajani@hotmail.com

Germany

20 November 2003

 

Hello,

I have never met you personally, but it´s irrelevant here. I never got to know Achebe and Soyinka until recently. I got to know about you yesterday night while giving a lecture at a university in Muenster (Germany) and a Nigerian medical student challenged me that l didn´t include you among our greats. I am sorry about that. Congratulations on all these achievements. These achievements go beyond Igbo, Nigeria or Africa. By any standard, this is a great service to humanity and l would like you to see it that way without allowing people to limit it to any ethnic or national particularities. More grease to your elbow. May the Lord continue to bless and enrich your intellect and your life and family - Amen. Congratulations from a fellow Nigerian. 

 

 

 

 

Aneke Jude Izuchukwu  

judeaneke@yahoo.co.uk

lagos nigeria

19 November 2003

 

am proud to be an african and most especially from the igbo tribe of nigeria. i write to congratulate for having made us proud as nwa afor igbo and i also wish more years ahead.

 

best wishes

jude 

 

 

 

 

 

Onyii Nwosu  

ebonyblack002@yahoo.com

Nigeria

15 November 2003

 

Thanks Prof. Phil for u are quite an inspiration to me a poor Nigerian Igbo youth. I shall try as hard as possible to be someone greater.Though our environment ain't encouraging us and the university system here is messed up, I still believe that success is the thing of the mind. Thanks Phil. 

 

 

OBI chinedu  

yvwa123@yahoo.com

Benin, Nigeria

23 October 2003

 

 

sir, you are so wonderful and you have brought the igbo race to the limelight. but sir i would really need your help in this my project. i have a project to write a programm that can recover data from crashed hard disk using visual c++ i would be grateful if you are of great help. thanks and God bless 

 

 

S. Wright Onyemenem  

sunnywright2000@yahoo.co.uk

Lagos, Nigeria

22 October 2003

 

i was thrilled when I read on a newspaper here in nigeria about your success in the internet worlds

I feel like flying when I found out that the idea of this universal great internet was from one of my brother not just an African, not just a Nigerian but an Igbo man.

 

 

ejike chukwunonso chidiebele  

ejikecc@yahoo.com

lagos

14 October 2003

 

The Igbo will rise up to their right, and take that which belongs to them. Our people to return to our culture as material wealth will always rot away, but intellect never fades. 

 

 

divine nwoye tobechukwu  

divine4@naijanet.com

cameroon, douala

13 October 2003

 

hi brother

i,m writing from cameroun, i wanted to know if ojukwu still is determine to lead nigeria again. do u think he still has a chance to be a leader. what is the news about him presently. what is his present condition now about politics in ngeria. do u think an igbo can ever be a head of state in the near by future.

 

what is happening with the igbo on the issue of politics, there are always divided. are there not seeing the dormination happening in nigeria in most sector of the country. and what are they doing to stop it. 

 

 

 

Mazi Sabinus O. Ezeoke  

akemeuno2000@yahoo.com

Akeme-Uno /Arondizuogu

13 October 2003

 

This your much-needed guestbook will help the Igbo people to know the role of ICTs in this 21st century. That with ICTs life will be better for men and women to achieve most of their life aims.

As you live in a knowlegde-based society (USA), May I remind you the need to always remember home that NDIGBO are being neglected by the present and past government of this great nation -NIGERIA.

 

Finally, we at home are carring the crusade to the ouside world to come to our rescure because we are law-abiding race.

Keep it on! 

 

 

 

 

Sam Odiaka  

scodiaka@oraifite.com

London-UK

21 September 2003

 

Dr. Philip Emeagwali is a great man for the whole human race. The Oraifite Community Town Igbo Land of African American Shopping Market Store sites would like to say "Dr Emeagwali is a Jewel of Africa"

 

Success to You,

 

Sam Odiaka 

Nigeria

5 September 2003

 

thank u for making africa' Nigeria and igbo proud

u are te proud of igbo man.

please try and help other igbo to actualise their aim .

thank u 

 

 

 


IGBO

By OBU UDEOZO, University of Jos, Nigeria.

According to Chinua Achebe,

       “Udeozo’s poetry comes to us hot from the foundry of his restless imagination.

         He is a natural poet ready to take on any subject that touches his people.

         We shall hear of him more and more in the years ahead.”

Igbo is excerpted from Cyclone - an anthology of poems

shortlisted for the 2005 Nigeria LNG literature prize. 

 

 

the earth

vanished into a pin-hole;

I am soaked with songs...

 

My ancestry’s

sharp beauty baptized me

at the forest’s nipple

 

       - a pilgrim of delicious peace.

 

Igbo

       space-shuttle and speech

       your civilisation flowers

       in every face of earth

 

yet your offspring

hide in the toilets

of foreign tongues

 

your offspring

bury your sharp beauty

with the inferiority of mad English.

 

mystic damsel

I shiver

in your tabernacle’s splendour

 

beyond Bill Gates and microchips,

you fathered supercomputer’s Emeagwali

- a vapour in the ocean

of your maltreated genius.

 

mystery’s powdered face

succumbs to insight

 

we must rescue

our lone baby from oblivion’s fire

 

we must re-plant

our fingerprint

against the monologue of English,

 

resurrection

awaits those

who drink from our roots

not our suicidal love of foreign gods.

 

 

 

              - by  Obu Udeozo.[MSOffice21]       

 

 

 

http://emeagwali.com/photos/archive/random/photos-october-2005/Philip-Emeagwali-Ladew-Topiary-Gardens-Monkton-Maryland-October-29-2005-958-450.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 [MSOffice1]Chukwurah Filip Emeagwali, Ijeoma nwa Chukwurah, Dale nwunye Chukwurah, mama Chukwurah, Obianuju nwanne Chukwurah, na Silver Spring di na obodo Maryland na America

 [MSOffice2]Chukwurah Filip Emeagwali, nne nne nwuyi Chukwurah grandma Ma Mamie Baird, mama Chukwurah  Iyanma Agatha Emeagwali, nna nne nwuyi Chukwurah Pa Charles Baird, Dale nwunyi Chukwurah na obodo Baltimore di na Maryland na America
(August 1984)

 [MSOffice3]Dale Nwunye Chukwurah  Emeagwali na Kingston obodo di na Jamaica.

 [MSOffice4]Mrs. Obam Okudo-Balonwu, a.k.a. uchu bu aku, the maternal grandmother of Philip Emeagwali (Born in (Nkwelle) Ogidi, Nigeria. Photo taken at 6 Wilkinson Road, Onitsha in mid-1954 on occasion of Otu Odu initiation ceremony.)

 [MSOffice5]Igbo Polychrome Anthropomorphic Mask
Collected in the early 1900's.

 

History:

 

  • Igbo (Ibo),
  • Nigeria

Little is known of this extremely rare & unique old polychrome mask. It is believed to belong to an Ibo subgroup although which particular one is unknown. The headdress is carved in a somewhat cubist style as a zoomorphic rendering of antelope or ram with long, swept back horns surmounted by birds & what appears to be some sort of wild cat. The Igbo were known to use thousands of masks, which incarnate unspecified spirits or the dead, forming a vast community of souls.


Description: 

This truly magnificent museum quality, Igbo Polychrome Anthropomorphic Mask measures 20 inches Tall by about 15 inches Wide. It is carved from extremely heavy hard-wood with stunning patina, well preserved original old polychrome paint & exceptional signs of age and tribal use.

 

 [MSOffice6]Foto Chukwurah Filip Emeagwali selu ka odi aro ili  na ofu na uno akwukwo Saint George’s College, na obodo Obinomba di na Nigeria (1966)

 [MSOffice7]

This is a beautiful authentic African tribal art from the Ibo, Nigeria Africa. The Ibo - Igbo people from Nigeria are known for masquerades associated with the Iko Okochi harvest festival, in which the forms of the masks are determined by tradition, the festival theme content varies yearly. Over the years Ibo - Igbo people have embraced a great variety of beliefs and art styles from neighboring tribes. The wide variety of cultural influences from regional tribes creates rich cultural diversity and Igbo worshipping, this is clearly depicted in the ceremonial rituals, artistic creations, music, and song and dance. The Igbo people are a large but widely spread population that inhabits both sides of the Niger River. The river with its fertile surroundings, provide ideal agricultural farming land to all the inhabitants.

 

The mask you are viewing is "authenic". Age unknown, possible from the early to mid 20th  century. The dimensions of the mask are approximately  25" high,  10" deep and  11 wide. 

 

 [MSOffice8]Emeagwali's mother and siblings. Evelyn, Johnbull, Agatha, Uju, Peter
(
Onitsha, Nigeria. May 1982)

 [MSOffice9]Chukwurah Filip nwa Emeagwali (far left)  na Uromi  na di na obodo Nigeria. December 24, 1962.

 [MSOffice10]"Igbo Drummers" - 1999 (Bode Fowotade)

 

True melodies that continue to feed our souls. Igbo kwenu! Igbo kwenu!! The ebony, the skin, the hollow wood. How will the festival hold? How will I separate myself? How can the soup be without salt, or the body without the head? The Obi and his councils know about it. It is the new-yam festival.

 

 

 [MSOffice11]Nwanyia bu “auntie” nna Chukwurah. Foto eselu na onicha na oge gboo.

 [MSOffice12]James and Philip Emeagwali
(
District Heights, Maryland. December 25, 1996)

 [MSOffice13]Mum called this photo my "three month baby photo." I believe that I was older than three months. She was then a 16-year-old housemaker with third grade education. We lost our copy in the Nigerian-Biafran war and this was retrieved from the personal album of aunt Julie who lives in Onitsha, Nigeria.
(Chukwurah (Philip) Emeagwali.
Akure, Nigeria. Circa November 1954)

 [MSOffice14]In Nov-Dec 1972, I came to Enugu to take my Scholastic Aptitute Test (SAT), Achievement Test (in mathematics, physics and chemistry) and Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examinations. A few days later, I returned to Onitsha to take my University of London General Certificate of Education examinations as an external candidate. The clothes that I had is called dansiki (pronounced "dahn-SEE-kee"). It was sowned by an itinerant "Obioma" tailor from my mother's lappa.
(Emeagwali, photo taken at studio at 1 &
3 Ajalli Street, Uwani, Enugu, Nigeria. 1972. I lived at 41 Bishop Ayogu Road, Uwani)

 [MSOffice15]Amazing African Nigeria Igbo Mask Headdress

 


MEASUREMENT:    HEIGHT: 17 WIDTH: 9  DEPTH: 19

                                 MEASUREMENT MASK ONLY
MATERIAL:             WOOD, PIGMENT
ESTIMATED AGE:   EARLY 20TH CENTURY

 

 [MSOffice16]Exquisite African Nigeria Igbo Staff

 

 

HEIGHT: 42 WIDTH: 4 DEPTH: 3

Estimated age: early 20th Century.

 [MSOffice17]An Igbo-Izi Elephant Spirit Mask ~ Old

 

 

 

 

A number of tribes all linguistically related inhabit the Cross River area on the border between Nigeria and Cameroon. This mask is probably from the Abakaliki area in the North Eastern part of the Niger River delta, which is an area of forest and swamp where the Igbo-Izi people live.

The Elephant spirit mask, 'Ogbodo Enyi', is carved and used to avert evil spirits and bad luck in a masquerade performance often associated with a significant life event. The mask combines elephant and human forms in one powerful and striking, abstract conception.

 

 

 [MSOffice18]Igbo colorful headpiece/mask- Nsukka Region ?

 

Headpiece/Mask
Igbo (Nsukka Region ?)
Nigeria
Wood and Pigment
Height: 19 inches.

This large and brightly colored Igbo headpeiece is very similar to the conical crowns worn by rulers among the nearby Yoruba. It is provisionally placed among the Nsukka Igbo who wear it in conjunction with a much larger mask known as Omabe that was responsible for the maintenance of law and order and to administer punishment when necessary.

This tall mask is significant because of its shape, the color defining it and emphasizing or detailing the eyes, mouth and ears. A number of the markings may reflect local scarification patterns worn in the past.

References:
Cole, H. M. & C. C. Aniakor, Igbo Arts and Community, Community and Cosmos. 1984.

 

 [MSOffice19]AFRICAN WOOD CARVING  MASK JANUS HELMET TRIBAL FACES

 

The African masks in this exhibition are dramatic portraits of spirit beings, departed ancestors

Many African societies see masks as mediators between the living world and the supernatural world of the dead, ancestors and other entities. Masks became and still become the attribute of a dressed up dancer who gave it life and word at the time of ceremonies.
In producing a mask, a sculptor's aim is to depict a person's psychological and moral characteristics, rather than provide a portrait.
The sculptor begins by cutting a piece of wood and leaving it to dry in the sun; if it cracks, it cannot be used for a mask. African sculptors see wood as a complex living material and believe each piece can add its own feature to their work. Having made certain the wood is suitable, the sculptor begins, using an azde to carve the main features, a chisel to work on details and a rough leaf to sand the piece.
He then paints the mask with pigments such as charcoal (to give a black color), powders made from vegetable matter or trees (for ochre/earth tones) or mineral powders like clay (to give a white color).
African peoples often symbolize death by the color white rather than black; at the same time, many African cultures see white as the color that links them to their ancestors, and it can therefore have a positive meaning

 

 [MSOffice20]A Fine Igbo Ceremonial Brass Bell
Antique African Ritual Musical Instrument -
Nigeria

Collected from the: Igbo peoples of Nigeria, West Africa
Material: Brass lost wax casting of copper/zinc alloy, original iron clapper
Period: Early 19th century
Dimensions: 7" height, 4.5" width, 4" depth; weight is 11.6 ounces
Exceptional Condition: No structural damage, exhibits strong signs of wear appropriate to age and use, all scuffs and dings presenting patination. Gorgeous patina with generous brassy highlights, traces of verdigris indicate previous burial!
Notes: Bells comprised one of the most widespread art forms in southern
Nigeria, serving military, ceremonial, religious, and musical functions. Among the Igbo, Igala, and the Yoruba, bells functioned as portable noisemakers used to announce a sacred presence and neutralize hostile forces, while the metal’s intrinsic value was associated with those who owned or controlled the bells. Bells were usually placed within easy reach towards the front of ancestral altars and rung to signal the commencement of a ceremony. The appearance of bells with similar forms and functions throughout southern Nigeria indicates shared concerns. Their small size and durability allowed for easy disbursement through trade, gift-exchange, and cultural expansion. An important distinction in naming the different types of bells lies in the way they produce sound. Some bells, referred to as gongs, were struck with a wand to produce a controlled sound suitable to send a musical message. Others incorporated a swinging clapper to produce a less precisely controlled “field” of sound. As a result, clapper bells also had non-musical functions associated with warfare. Bells served not only as indicators of military rank but also as altar objects used to call the spirits to come and accept the sacrifice.

 

 

Tribal History
The 8,000,000 Igbo people – who live primarily from farming – settled in the northern part of the Niger River Delta, in an area of forests and swamps. Village councils composed of the eldest people from each family govern the tribe. Their power is counter-balanced by secret societies. At present, the earliest Nigerian bells date to the 9th century, unearthed at Igbo Ukwu, east of the
Niger. Nineteen single cast bells were excavated at Ezira, site of a powerful Igbo oracle twenty-four kilometers east of Igbo Ukwu. Brass bells have also been excavated at Awka, an Igbo community and metal-working center close to the religious center of Nri. The Awka bells are still used today by certain title-holders and are sometimes carried on a rack by an attendant to announce the arrival of a chief. Brass bells are also encountered among the Ijebu Yoruba, where small bells with human faces, said to represent the ancestors, are apparently worn over the shoulder. See The Art of Power, The Power of Art; Studies in Benin Iconography and Africa: The Art of a Continent for further details.

 

 [MSOffice21]“A man with a message, a very heavy and urgent message.”

OKIKE:  An African Journal of New Writing