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Africa culture/tradition education Igbo culture lifestyle Nature Pastoral

Tradition: Ohafia War Dance (Ikpirikpi Ogu)

Intro: Ohafia is a town in Abia State in Nigeria, it consists of 26 communities with Elu as the ancestral capital. Many people have asked questions about Ohafia War Dance.

In the olden days, Ohafia was known for their bravery during tribal wars. At present, Ohafia is still known as land of warriors. It was said that they were as strong as Lions. They engaged in so many wars and never lost in any battle. During any battle, they made souvenirs of their victims’ heads which they cut off and take home leaving the lifeless bodies to indicate that the person was killed in battle. Till this present Ohafia is addressed as Mba Bu Ishi Acho Ishi* (carrying a head and yet looking for another). It was indeed land of great warriors.

Ohafia War Dance is popular called Ikpirikpi Ogu (a practice of beheading the enemies). Ohafia War Dance is a dance of victory by Ohafia warriors, which included chanting war songs during inter tribal wars and drumming after defeating their warriors. This dance was indeed incomplete without the presence of a human head because this was an indication that they have defeated their opponents. But in this present day of civilization, human heads are no longer featured in the dance.

Learn Igbo language and culture here.

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*Ishi: Ohafia’s dialect says Ishi instead of Isi, which is Central Igbo language meaning head.

Categories
Africa culture/tradition folklore Nature Pastoral Poetry

Tale of The Musk Rat

Once upon a time
In a land far, far away
Where the forests were untamed
And animals had clans and kingdoms
There lived a young musk rat
Who loved his mother so much
And took good care of her
He would go hunting for fruits
And exotic vegetables from the forests
And brought them home to feed
The mother and himself

A particular day came
And he found a bed of vegetables
Growing by the side of a pool
He gathered them
And in all he brought home nine baskets
He was overjoyed that the vegetables would last
Longer than he expected
And so he handed it to his mother

But when the mother cooked the vegetables
The nine baskets shrunk to two baskets
When the musk rat discovered that he had only two baskets
Of warm vegetables he questioned
His mother and wasn’t satisfied with her answers
So he killed her out of his rage

Another day he went to the poolside
And lo, fresh vegetables blossomed
And he picked to his fill once again
Carrying the nine baskets home
He boiled the vegetables and it all shrunk again
To two baskets and it dawned on him
That vegetables are lighter when boiled
And that he had killed his mother in vain
And again out of anger
He killed himself too…

Anger and impatience are no man’s friend. We must learn to control them.