Agatha Emeagwali arrives in the United States (24 hours earlier) as a new
immigrant. Photo taken at welcome cook-out party in Baltimore, Maryland.
(L-R: Agatha, Dale and Philip Emeagwali. August 19, 1984)
With daughter Mrs. Onyari Edekobi during the wedding ceremony of Mr. Felix Balonwu at Oka Road in 1981.
Taken during IBUTE EGWU (music group) ceremony of her son
Mr. Ndaguba Emeagwali at Ogbotu village in 1983.
Taken during the wedding ceremony of Mr. Felix Balonwu at Oka Road in 1981
Taken at home, in front of her father's house at Umuasele village in 1982.
My cousin, Carolyn Azuokwu who lives in Onitsha, Nigeria.
Taken during the funeral ceremony of Mr. Peter Emeagwali, brother of our grandfather at Mba Road Umuasele village in 1979.
Agatha Emeagwali returning home from an "Ogbo" Ejemmili Age Grade Society
of Onitsha. Age grade societies of ndi igbo are named and organized group
of persons born within a 24-month period. It is an age-qualified sorority and fraternity.
Age grade societies of native Americans play a similar role as those in Africa.
"If a woman was sick, or for some reason was unable to attend to her planting, she sometimes cooked a feast, to which she invited the members of her age society and asked them to plant her field for her. The members of her society would come upon an appointed day and plant her field in a short time; sometimes a half day was enough"
(Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden, Gilbert L. Wilson, 1987, page 24)
Photo taken during Dad's (Akunwata James Nnaemeka Emeagwali) ichi ozo initiation into the Ozo Agbalanze of Onitsha
Ado n'idu. Ichi ozo is a celebration of achievement and wealth
that also elevates the initiates social status. (Taken at Emeagwali ancestral home, Mba Road, Umudei village, Onitsha, 1977)
Taken during OZO ceremony of her husband Akunwata Emeagwali at Umudei village in 1977.
Uju 5 months,
Taken in 1974, during the OZO ceremony of her brother Akunnia Nnaife Chieka at Umuasele village.
Taken in 1973, during OZO ceremony of her brother Mr. P.O Balonwu, in
front of his residence at Wilkinson Road.
With her sister Mrs Grace Azokwu during the OZO ceremony of their brother Mr P.O Balonwu at Umuasele village in 1973.
Mrs. Ifejika (nee Oranye of Umuasele village of Onitsha), Ms. Orakwue
(of Umudei village, Onitsha), Ms. Nwaosisi (Umuasi village, Onitsha). Photo taken in Forcados, Nigeria in about May 1958.
Forcados was first colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The word
"Forcados" means "bull wrestler" in Portuguese. Oil was discovered in this area in 1958
(the year this photo was taken) and today the primary industry in Forcados
My maternal grand mother Mrs. Obam Balonwu (nee Okudo).
She was born in Nkwelle Ogidi in about 1900 and passed away on
December 24, 1966.
Elephant tusks on her hands were worn during the ceremony of her
initiation into the Otu Odu (Ivory Society), the most prominent women organization in
Born in the same village as the renowned author Chinua Achebe she
passed down folk lores that are reminiscent of
those written in Things Fall Apart. As a young girl, she recalled wearing only
jigida and decorating her body with uli and ufie.
This custom was described in Things Fall Apart:
"Okonkwo's wives ... set about painting themselves with cam wood
and drawing beautiful black
patterns on their stomachs and on their backs."
(6C Wilkinson Road, Onitsha, 1954)
My uncle Orofo Balonwu (far left) escorting an ancestral masquerade
at Umuasele village, Onitsha, Nigeria (circa early 1950s)
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