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Background Information About the African Continent –Made up of 54 countries including NIGERIA –Over 800 million people –Made up of 5 major regions, North,

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Presentation on theme: "Background Information About the African Continent –Made up of 54 countries including NIGERIA –Over 800 million people –Made up of 5 major regions, North,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Background Information About the African Continent –Made up of 54 countries including NIGERIA –Over 800 million people –Made up of 5 major regions, North, East, Central, West, and South About NIGERIA –Made up of 36 States a Federal Capital Territory called Abuja –Over 130 million people - about 15% of the continent –Located on West coast of Africa along the Atlantic –3 major ethnic groups, Hausa in the north, Yorubas in the west and the IGBOs in the east –over 250 other ethnic groups

3 Background Information Who are the Igbos? –The IGBOs are people from the south eastern parts of NIGERIA. They make up Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states, as well as, parts of Delta, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states. 36 States of Nigeria –Estimated that over 30 million people speak the Igbo language. That represents roughly close to 20 percent of the total Nigeria population.

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5 Who we are About Umunna Cultural Association –an association of Igbos from Nigeria residing in Indianapolis and surrounding communities –started in July, 1994 –Received IRS 501 (C) 3 certification in July, 2000 –Visit our web site at –promote and foster the Nigerian culture with focus on the Igbo traditions & cultures

6 Who we are The Umunna Cultural Association of Indianapolis is an association of Igbos from Nigeria. The association started in July 1994 when a group of Igbo men and women from Nigeria met in Indianapolis and agreed to meet monthly and pursue three key objectives: –To promote and foster the Nigerian culture particularly the Igbo tradition. –To foster closer relationship among the Igbo families in Indianapolis. –To facilitate the promotion and advancement of positive social agenda in Nigeria and Greater Indianapolis through humanitarian activities. In 1998 the association was formally registered with respective Federal, State and local authorities. It became a IRS certified 501(c)(3) Association in July The association has applied and received two grants in promotion of arts and culture within the greater Indianapolis both in 1998 and The 1998 grant associated with Africa98 Celebration through the Arts Council was the largest. The 2001 grant was through Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). We have supported the following organizations through in-kind donations by our men’s masquerade group: Auntie Mame’s Center, March of Dimes annual walk, Children Museum, Indianapolis Zoo, and The Mercy foundation. We are now a focal point for Igbo families in the greater Indianapolis community. The Umunna Men’s Masquerade group remains the most visible part of the association. We conduct Annual Cultural Show in September and a free Annual family picnic open to non-members in June or July. We are a member of; Nationalities Council Of Indiana, and Arts Council of Indianapolis The IGBOS are people from the south eastern parts of NIGERIA. They make up Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states, as well as, parts of Delta, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.

7 Key Igbo traditions & cultures Kola nut Libation Wearing wrapper and head scarfs Masquerades & Musical Instruments Traditional wedding process Traditional burial process Traditional title holders - “ichi ozo”

8 Kola Nut Kola nut is a cultural icon believed to be the harbinger of peace and social harmony. There are many varieties of the red or white Kola nut, which is produced by a tropical tree of the straculliacea family known to be a native of West Africa. In many households, the sharing of kola nuts is akin to the enactment of life-long friendship. It is also offered to the gods and spirits of the ethereal world that are eternally bonded with the folks "He who brings kola brings life", is a popular saying of the Igbos made popular in Things Fall Apart, the epic novel of world renowned writer, Chinua Achebe. This proverb reflects the importance attached to the kola nut in Igbo society. There is actually a popular saying, especially among Nigeria's three major ethnic groups -- which says, "the Yorubas produce kola, the Hausas chew it and the Igbos celebrate it.”

9 Libation The Libation ritual called Itu Nmanya precedes all traditional Igbo public and private events, including weddings, meetings and other get-together. Libation with Palm wine (or any wine) is a symbol of intimacy with the ancestors and harmony with the living. The invocation over the palm wine is a superficial symbol of imploring for an intimate spiritual grace of a providential God at events where individuals share a feeling of purity, protection and hope. During ceremonies, the elder pours a libation with the wine on the floor or ground, which symbolizes the safe cyclic passage of the forebears from the spirit land to the physical world.

10 Masquerades Adiro akwu ofu ebe enene nmanwu (One does not stand on one spot to watch a masquerade) In Igbo culture, the masquerade embodies the spirit and human worlds. The mystique surrounding the masquerade is one the key components of the Igbo culture that survived Western influences It is generally believed in the Igboland that the masquerade is a spirit which springs from the soil. Depending on your point of view, it may be true or only a myth. The masquerades are classified into categories based on specialization. Each masquerade possesses particular attributes (warrior-like prowess, mystical powers, youthfulness, and old age) and specializes in one or more skills (dancing skills, acrobatics, and other ritual manifestations) Masquerading may involve one person or a team made up of instrument players, vocalists, dancers, masquerade advisers, and the masquerade itself. Our four masquerades are: agaba, odogwu, ojionu and abriba war dance

11 Masquerades In Igbo culture, the masquerade embodies the spirit and human worlds. They are the physical symbols of a broad range of gods and deities in rite and beliefs that have been practiced by the Igbos of Nigeria and Africa in general. The mystique surrounding the masquerade is one of the key components of the Igbo culture that survived Western influences. Masquerading may involve one person team or a team made up of instrument players, vocalists, dancers, masquerade advisers, and the masquerade itself. Most masquerades are covered from head to toe with some piece of clothing or/and bamboo rafters. Finally, a wooden mask is worn over the face. The mask will vary depending on the type of masquerade and the place of origin within the Igboland. Some masks are designed to be beautiful, intimidating or downright sinister. Most masquerades claim to have some mystical powers and are constantly competing to see which one has the most mystical powers, whenever they appear together especially at village squares or funerals. The mythology of the Igbo masquerades relates to the initiation of adolescent males into manhood. Only initiated men participate in masquerades and these men support and maintain social order in the communities such as imposing and collection of levies from community offenders. The masquerade appears during traditional celebrations such as funerals, new yam festival, and special holidays such as Christmas and New Year. The level of apprehension and the noise that await the appearance of a masquerade, will vary, depending on the type of the masquerade, and the size and make-up of the audience. The masquerades are classified into categories based on specialization. Each masquerade possesses particular attributes (warrior-like prowess, mystical powers, youthfulness, and old age) and specializes in one or more skills (dancing skills, ability to intimidate, acrobatics, and other ritual manifestations). Masquerades are generally rewarded for their performances with spraying of money. In the Igbo society, masquerades are presented with a live roaster or a live goat depending on their stature as an acknowledgement of their visit for example during funerals.

12 Agaba Masquerade The AGABA masquerade as a character is that of a warrior represented in its name that literally connotes “lets go”. The Agaba major attribute is warrior- like prowess, which specializes, in ritual manifestations. The ease in the mobility of the Agaba instruments (can play with the OGENEs only) makes it a popular masquerade for the youths residing in major cities of the Igboland. The chanting that accompanies the Agaba cut across ethnic dialects and cultures among the Igbos.

13 Odogwu Masquerade The ODOGWU masquerade is a youthful and aggressive character represented by a mask that insinuates “Bloodshot eyed rebel”. Its major attribute is demonstration of youthfulness with specialty in intimidation. The Odogwu is also known for the highly charged chanting that accompany its rhythms.

14 Ojionu Masquerade The OJIONU masquerade is a water spirit character represented by a headdress of crocodiles, sharks and other predatory water creatures. There may be more than one masquerade depending on the occasion. The instruments players vary from five to ten performers. One of the eye catching feature of the Ojionu is its wooden trunk. The trunk is used to keep all its mystical and gyration gears as well as a seating bench for a quick rest. The drummers play two primary roles – one plays non-stop providing the base and the other alternates and the alternating rhythm is what the masquerade dances to. The masquerade also dances to the Oja (flute) when that is present. The major attribute of OJIONU is creative non-stop dancing. Versions of the Ojionu masquerade varies from those that perform voices only and possess superior mystical powers to those that dance predominantly with minimal voices and less mystical powers.

15 Abiriba War Dance This is a war dance troupe represented by two distinct symbols of war – the lead warrior carrying the small drum filled with overflowing wine for imbibing and incantations and the medicine man carrying the three skulls symbolizing the spoils of past wars and as a warning to future foes. This masquerade is unique since it’s not covered with costumes and mask as others. The masquerade has a piece of palm tree leaf in his mouth to prevent him from talking thus ensuring the integrity of its mystical powers. The players use a combination of flat wooden clappers and drums to produce non-stop rhythms. The lead warrior leads the chanting while the players and the other dancers sing the chorus. Attributes – mystical powers and charged atmosphere, Specializes in intense motivation and dancing

16 Musical Instruments The EKWE (Silt-drum) is a tree trunk, hollowed throughout its length from two rectangular cavities at its ends and a horizontal slit that connects the cavities. The size of the slit- drum depends on its use and significance. The OGENE (Gong) is metal instrument. They were made originally in bronze but, in modern time, are mainly made out of scrap metal as a bulging surface in elliptical shaped rim, and tapering like a frustum to its handle. It is hit about its rim by a stick to produce different tunes.

17 Musical Instruments The OJA (Flute) is a piece of wood designed with a cavity inside, the top has a wide opening to fit the shape of the human lower lip, a small hole on the bottom and two smaller holes closer to the top on exact opposite side. The IGBA (Cylinder-drum) is a piece of hollow wood covered at one end with animal hide held down tight with fasteners. The artist carries it over his shoulder with the help of a shoulder strap. The artist produces the sound by beating on the animal hide with his fingers or combination of one set of fingers and a special stick.

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