"From the eighteenth century through the first third of the nineteenth century, black religious and educational organizations used the prefix ‘African’ in their names, providing a sense of cultural integrity and a link to their African heritage….
Also in the 1800s’s, a movement was started by blacks who worked as house servants, many of whom had white as well as black forebears. the term ‘colored’ was used by these offspring to distinguish themselves from the Africans who worked in the fields. the light-skinned children who were the product of relationships between planters and house servants formed themselves into a distinct class.
Many blacks sought to disassociate from their African identification because of the activities of the American Colonization Society, which wanted to send free blacks back to Africa. fearing both lost status and the possibility of a forced return to Africa, the black leadership moved away from African identification. …. A major thrust was to remove the word African from both educational and organizational titles. the idea was to fight the colonization scheme by denying that blacks were Africans. …
[Booker T.] Washington himself played a role in getting the Unites States government to use the word ‘Negro’ to refer to African Americans instead of ‘colored’ and ‘mulatto’. he fought for ‘Negro’ as a unity word. …
In the 1960’s and 1970’s the term ‘black’ finally gained respectability with the coming of the civil rights, African independence, and black power movements…. The word ‘Negro’ became outdated.
Race in the modern world is defined by land of origin: Japanese-American, Mexican-American, Chinese-American. but there is no land mass called Negro, Black, or Afro. these terms are hybrids, with no real reference to the African continent. the term African-American defines black people on the basis of identification with their historic place of origin. …
thus this debate has come full circle, from ‘African’ through ‘brown’, ‘colored’, ‘Afro-American’, ‘Negro’, and ‘black’ back to African, the term originally used by blacks in America to define themselves.”
-excerpt from Africanisms in American Culture ed. by Joseph E. Holloway
The Yoruba have the highest rate of twinning in the world, at 45-50 twin sets (or 90-100 twins) per 1,000 live births, possibly because of high consumption of a specific type of yam containing a natural phytoestrogen which may stimulate the ovaries to release an egg from each side.
iyan makes you fertile
i must be extremely so.
hoodoo tag: “ibeji?”
i was thinking the same thing. it’s interesting when western science comes up with an explanation when West Africans have had their own explanations about the situation that, after some scientific reasoning is proposed, largely get trivialized.
The dense forest of the Osun Sacred Grove, on the outskirts of the city of Osogbo, is one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria. Regarded as the abode of the goddess of…
… I only debate my equals, all others I teach…
Dr. John Henrik Clarke (via iamjamesmatthew)
As a result of my fascination with medieval Europe, I plan to create some of my future poems in the style of Troubadours, who are composers and performers of Old Occitan lyric poetry.
For this purpose, I asked myself “How would a medieval poet portray the world today in his works?”. This This led me to a question closer to home: How would a “medieval Igbo” poet portray his world if he existed?
The facts surrounding Igbo history are vastly non-existent. My best guess is that this is as a result of lack of written accounts of our origins as they happened, just as ancient Egyptians recorded their own history.
Igbo heritage has been passed down through oral traditions. The closest written communication we can relate to during the middle ages is the Nsibiri. The oral traditions and Nsibiri have not given us the Igbo people a concrete sense of origin (nor would the Jewish origin story be any more helpful) - possibly because they are filled with myths and that we need more archaeologists in the field.
Who are the Igbos? What role did we play in ancient history as the great neighbouring empires (Empires of Ghana, Mali, Benin, Oyo etc.) rose and fell? The earliest archaeological evidence of existence ties Igbo origin to the Nri Kingdom. The pottery and beads found there suggests that we were mostly isolated, but also had trade relations with North African cultures, including Egypt (or did we exchange with our closer neighbours artifacts they got from their trade relations with the Egyptians?).
If we had contact with “better” established cultures, why is our history so devoid of true substance in comparison? (Before overly patriotic Igbos chew me up, I’m just guessing that the low number of artifacts found so far indicates that we were not so big on production and long-term thinking. I however admit that I might be totally wrong).
This blog is long and I don’t like it. More so do I not like the fact that our ancestors have left us very little evidence of our early history. Even worse, not many Igbos, out of an estimated 30 million of us, are inquisitive enough about our origin.
I will do further research on this topic. Names like King Jaja of Opobo and Olaudah Equiano quickly come to mind as the earliest more elaborately documented Igbo people I know of in written history.
Perhaps my first “Medieval Igbo” poem will be a lamentation of this lack of clearer Igbo identity.
(I borrowed this picture from the Wikipedia page with title “Igbo People”)
"The facts surrounding Igbo history are vastly non-existent." The problem starts when we begin with a general ‘Igbo history’ as the story of very individual identities. Most Igbo communities have no association with Nri and it’s nowhere near the oldest settlement. Igbo is not a political entity so it can’t fall into the mould of medieval European states.
Egyptian history (and medieval written European history) is even more mythological, ironically, which is what I have to say about written vs. oral history.
If you want to find the information you’re missing there’s a lot out there, you should read texts by Afigbo and Isichei which are a good start, that’s if you don’t have access to first primary sources.
i think there’s a subliminal hierarchy (inferiority complex) that is almost the default of Africans (worldwide) that can become very difficult to unlearn and remove from our intellectual endeavors. it’s so entrenched in our societies that it becomes difficult to even think outside such problematic and western-minded binaries and concepts.
this oral vs. text societal hierarchy was set up by early 20th century (racist, colonial) anthropologist, scientists, politicians, scholars, and even religious officials and it is pure and utter nonsense. to fault your ancestors for not writing their history down is nothing more than the manifestation of that already faulty idea that the societies that were oral/non-literate were somehow less, not thinking of the future, or even unintelligent. non-literate/oral societies, in contrast to literate societies had a much less rigid dogma, in terms of religious and cultural beliefs. change was much more accepted, with interpretation to individual or different circumstances much more fluid, and in my opinion, more humane. written “history” has been wrought with issues, to the point at which scholars and intellectuals have had to come up with various terms to explain the issues within writing down history. power relations and who has access to writing (publishing), prestige, and other privileges are all related to who gets to write down “History”. when “History” is written down, it presupposes that there is ONE history; one objective story to be told. yet, if you go to Ile-Ife, they have one idea about the creation of the world that is different from Oyo. the Hausa, the Ijaw, and the Ibibio have yet a different idea from the Igbo. Yoruba (which is an ethnicity formed with written text after colonialism) from present-day Nigeria have yet a different idea about “History” than the Yoruba from present-day Benin. even now, there are issues and contestations with Samuel Crowther, Olaudah Equiano, and others who were the first to write down “history” from peoples from present-day Nigeria. i think oral societies had this understanding and foresight to value oral traditions over written ones.
furthermore, oral history reinforces and is reinforced by the communal cultures of most indigenous societies that was completely destroyed in Europe and then spread with colonialism to other parts of the world. having one’s knowledge transmitted orally, from elders, reinforces those bonds between elders, to family, to communal existence, to practices such as ancestor veneration. societies have to be understood as spiderwebs, of a sort. you cannot just remove or add something without other parts of it being affected. had traditional societies been literate in Africa (or elsewhere), there would have been much less room for innovation, change, fluidity, and interpretation. with written history, there is always a homogenization of people, spiritualities, languages, and ideas that takes place, along with a reductionism, a dilution, an editing (who’s the editor?), and physical additions that have to happen to support societies that embrace literature (such as paper, ink/writing utensils, storage techniques, etc.). this idea that people could simply start writing things down (firstly, with the erroneous idea that they didn’t simply because they hadn’t the means) and not have to then change (valuable) parts of their culture to include it is the type of colonized thinking that needs to be done away with.
oral societies are not some downgrade of intelligence from literate societies. and the idea that oral societies didn’t write things down because they weren’t intelligent enough to, as opposed to them simply not wanting to (considering that Igbo and plenty other surrounding oral cultures had long been in contact with literate societies for quite some time and could have made their own literature had they wanted to). we have to get away from thinking that everything of the west is the best of the best of the best for everything and everyone. it isn’t. by a longshot. and more often than not, it’s quite detrimental on multiple levels.
furthermore, Ikennaokoro, comparing your society or your ancestors to other societies and cultures is just another manifestation of an inferiority complex. it’s certainly not unique - Black folks everywhere have all been trying to trace their societies back to Khemet. is it not a coincidence that ancient Egypt is the most famous and respected society among Europeans? i think not. this thinking that your history has to be some grand spectacle, equipped with huge physical monuments or sculptures (pyramids), eons-old signs of wealth, and written history all relates back to an inferiority complex and colonial thinking. all of our societies deserve respect and we have to come up with different ways of evaluating them that do not revolve around western ways of thinking. being intelligent market people, having complex cosmologies, being a people known for honesty, knowledge of their land, and physical skills, for having knowledge of textiles and skilled craftsmen, of herbs and healing techniques all deserve as much respect as ancient Egypt or old Mali.
in addition to Ukpuru’s suggestions, i would also suggest reading E. Bolaji Idowu (although he runs into similar issues of placing monotheism above all else, but still relevant nonetheless) and Mbonu Ojike (an Igbo whose book My Africa was really ahead of its time and places the issues of westernism into its proper position). but first, there has to be an understanding that this is colonized thinking before there can be any unlearning or decolonization.
and on another note, what’s with the obsession with medieval europe? the medieval era in Europe should be a sign to everyone as a European societal FAILURE. misery, rampant disease, extreme poverty, etc. - this was an era that no non-European society had experienced prior to colonialism. why romanticize such a travesty, yet debase oral societies who were never so removed from nature to experience such?? and the Troubadours?? gtfo…