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ARTS & CULTURE

The Cost Of Widowhood In Igboland Is Very High

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The Cost Of Widowhood In Igbo Land | Fab.ng

In some parts of Igbo land, there used to be customs about how widows mourned their husbands. These practices, which could involve periods of seclusion, weren’t always easy for women. That is why many people would refer to it as “the cost of widowhood.”

In some places, like Nimbo in Enugu State, it could take a whole year after a king’s burial for his wife to start living normally again. In Anambra, widows might spend nearly two years secluded and even go without bathing for long periods.

Thankfully, things have changed in many areas thanks to the spread of Christianity. Now, it’s more common for widows to be shaved soon after their husband’s funeral and then get back to their lives after a period of mourning. The length of that time can vary depending on the local customs and traditions of the people.

It’s important to remember that these customs aren’t practised everywhere in Igbo land, and even where they are, they may have changed over time. Today, the focus is on supporting widows through their grief and helping them reintegrate into their communities.

Let’s take a look at the following Eastern states and what “the cost of widowhood” is like in these places:

Anambra

In some communities in Anambra, to ease tensions over widowhood practices, certain measures have been adopted. For instance, in communities where a man leaves multiple wives, rather than the late man’s brothers scrambling for them, each male child of their mothers gives a cock to his own mother to act as “her husband” until death. This has reduced tensions over the late brother’s wives.

However, a contentious issue persists between the church and the community regarding the dust-to-dust burial rite. In the Catholic Diocese of Awka, objections arise when women are required to pour sand into the graves of their husbands, as per church tradition.

The community fears that this act may bind the widow to the late husband, potentially leading to consequences for any man involved with the widow. Despite interventions, the disagreement persists.

Widowhood in Igboland - Five Things You Need To Know - AnaedoOnline

The Catholic Church insists that the dust-to-dust ritual is optional and not forced on anyone, only for Catholic adherents who request it. The community contends that the church is violating local customs, and the church argues for its right to perform the rite at the request of its members.

In Onitsha and neighbouring communities, widowhood practices for Christians and non-Christians have similarities. The mandatory mourning period, wake-keeping, and lying-in-state have been reduced or abolished in some places to minimise contact with the deceased’s remains, curb disease spread, and ease the hardships faced by survivors.

Cases of maltreatment of widows, including denial of rights, physical assault, and property seizure, persist in some areas of this state. These issues are typically resolved through the intervention of family unions, kindred, village councils, or town unions.

Prevention of widows from participating in burial ceremonies

In some places, if a wife and husband weren’t living together due to big fights, divorce, or other bad things before the husband died, she might not be allowed at his funeral ceremony.

This can also happen if the wife is blamed for doing something terrible and needs to go through special rituals before joining the ceremony.

Oath-taking and covenant

In some communities, if a woman is accused of wrongdoing, especially related to her husband’s death, she might be asked to perform rituals or take oaths to prove her innocence.

For Christian women, this might involve swearing to the Bible. For others, it could involve drinking water used to bathe the corpse or even touching the body directly.

These practices are based on the belief that if a woman is truly guilty, she will suffer misfortune or even die within a certain time. If she remains unharmed, she’s considered innocent, and those who accused her might face consequences.

It’s important to remember that these traditions are complex and vary greatly within different communities. This is just a simplified explanation, and it’s important to respect different cultural beliefs and practices, even if they seem unfamiliar.

Also, it’s crucial to note that these practices can be harmful and exploitative, especially when they involve coercion, pressure, or potential health risks. It’s important to promote understanding and respect while also advocating for the protection of individuals from harmful traditional practices.

Abia

Life for widows in Abia can be tough. Though the mourning period has shortened to 3-6 months in most communities, accessing their husband’s property remains a big issue. Many are pushed out of their homes or denied inheritance.

Churches like the Anglican Communion, through Bishop Nwosu, strongly condemn this maltreatment and offer support through housing, prayers, and even business grants for vulnerable widows.

For this, men are advised to choose legal marriages, where Wills protect inheritance rights. However, Abia currently lacks a specific law protecting widows.

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Young widow shares the 'inhumane' treatment she was subjected to after losing her husband at 23 [VIDEO] - BarristerNG.com

Enugu

In Enugu, mourning traditions for widows vary greatly across communities. Some practices have softened over time, reflecting changing beliefs and the influence of Christianity.

In Imufu Community, men and women mourn for only one month, thanks to the progressive leadership of a former chief who challenged the longer periods common elsewhere.

Ezeagu Local Government Area is where widows of prestigious “Ozo” title holders face stricter customs. They’re confined to secret rooms for two weeks, served by female virgins, and undergo cleansing rituals before rejoining the community.

In the Nimbo Community, it is a unique case. Nimbo buries its kings after seven years, leading to extended mourning periods for their widows, who remain secluded for eight years.

While some areas like Nimbo hold firmly to tradition, Christianity has brought changes in others. Black mourning attire has shifted to white in many communities, and mourning periods have shortened. In Olo, even the “Ozo” tradition has adapted to Christian values.

Some communities are addressing the exploitation of widows. Town Unions work to uphold social justice, protecting widows from property grabs based on outdated customs.

While progress is evident, challenges remain. Widows in Ibagwa Ani are still pressured to marry relatives of their deceased husbands, and Lejja sees mourning periods ranging from six months to a year.

The story of widows in Enugu highlights the complex interplay of tradition, religion, and evolving social values. While harmful practices persist in some areas, others demonstrate a commendable willingness to adapt and prioritize the well-being of widows.

Imo

The widowhood practice in the southeastern part of Nigeria, particularly in Imo State, is still prevalent and has become more sophisticated and severe over time. The tradition originated from historical practices and was often imposed on women suspected of causing their husband’s death. It served as a severe punishment for women perceived as irresponsible, wayward, or disrespectful to their husbands, families, or community traditions.

In some cases, even if a man had a harmonious relationship with his wife, people might still claim that the woman used diabolical means to control her late husband, adding a bizarre aspect to the practice. The belief is that no man is considered to have died a natural death; some factors are always linked to his demise.

The absence of a written constitution specifying the rules and limits of the practice results in variations across communities in Imo State.

Common practices include forcing widows to bathe with floodwater, water from traditional receptacles, or any available dirty water. This is done to symbolize the devaluation of the woman’s pride, represented by her late husband. Married and single women are typically responsible for carrying out this ritual.

Widows are also subjected to eating restrictions, using disused or disfigured plastic plates considered suitable for feeding dogs. They are prohibited from eating with others, and their cutlery differs from those used by everyone else. These practices contribute to the complexity and harshness of the widowhood tradition in the region.

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ARTS & CULTURE

10 Facts About Lions That Will Blow Your Mind

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10 Facts About Lions That Will Blow Your Mind | Fab.ng

Lions: they roar, they’re fierce, and they’re the undisputed kings of the jungle, right? While all that’s true, there’s a whole lot more to these majestic creatures than meets the eye.

Beyond their undeniable strength and bravery lies a world of fascinating facts and surprising behaviours that might just blow your mind. We will see some of these facts below. So, buckle up and get ready to discover 10 incredible things about lions you never knew.

While you might often hear lions referred to as the “King of the Jungle,” the truth is, they don’t actually live in jungles! This nickname likely arose from a couple of reasons. One possibility is that it’s simply a result of a translation error. In some languages, the word for “lion” is similar to the word for “jungle cat,” which could have been misinterpreted.

Another possibility is that it stems from a more general lack of understanding of where lions actually live. Historically, people in Europe and North America may not have been familiar with the specific types of habitats found in Africa, where most lions reside. So, they might have mistakenly applied the term “jungle” to any wild, untamed area, and lions, being the apex predators in their environment, naturally became the “kings” of these imagined jungles.

In reality, lions primarily make their homes in grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands. These regions provide them with the perfect combination of hunting grounds and cover to thrive.

Lions don’t just roar to sound tough; they’re actually having a loud conversation. Their roars can reach a whopping 114 decibels, which is about as loud as a motorcycle engine. That’s enough to be heard over 5 miles away, almost like sending a sound message across the savanna.

These mighty roars are how lions talk to each other, letting everyone know where their territory starts and reminding other lion groups to stay away. It’s like a long-distance phone call, but way cooler.

While many might picture ferocious kings of the jungle constantly on the prowl, lions actually surprise us with their laid-back lifestyle. These big cats are champs at chilling, spending a whopping 20 hours a day snoozing or relaxing.

Why the need for all that rest? They’re strategic planners. By conserving their energy during the day, they’re perfectly fueled for hunting expeditions during the cooler nighttime hours.

Think of them as nocturnal ninjas, taking advantage of the darkness to catch their prey with renewed energy and stealth.

Don’t let their chill vibes fool you. Lions might be the ultimate nap champions; they don’t mess around when it comes to hunting. When duty calls, these big cats can transform into speedy predators.

In short bursts, they can zoom across the savanna at 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres per hour)! That’s almost as fast as a car driving in the city! This impressive burst of speed helps them catch their prey by surprise, ensuring a successful meal after all that lounging around.

Lions aren’t just about roaring and lounging around. Their manes aren’t just stylish accessories; they actually tell a story. A male lion’s mane is like a built-in resume, revealing clues about his health, age, and even how manly he is.

Like a badge of honour, a darker, fuller mane tells everyone that this lion is strong and healthy. Not only does that impress the ladies (lionesses), but it also sends a clear message to other male lions: “Don’t mess with me; I’m the king of the jungle.”

Crazy, right? Whenever you see a lion with a magnificent mane, remember, that it’s not just fur—it’s a walking advertisement for his awesomeness.

The mighty lion might roar the loudest, but it’s actually the lionesses who are the real action heroes of the pride. These fierce females are the hunting squad, working together like a well-oiled machine to take down even the biggest prey.

Forget the image of lions lazing around all day. These lionesses are strategic and organised, coordinating attacks to surround and capture animals like zebras, wildebeests, and even towering giraffes.

Teamwork makes the dream work, and these lionesses prove it every time they bring home a meal for the whole pride.

Lions may be big cats, but unlike their loner cousins, like tigers or leopards, they love company. They live in groups called prides, which can be like big, bustling families with up to 30 members.

But here’s the twist: the queen bees in this pride are the lionesses. These strong females lead the whole crew, taking charge of hunting food and raising all the adorable cubs together. Forget the image of a lone lion ruling the savanna – lions are all about teamwork and girl power.

Did you know every lion has its own special freckle code? Just like humans have unique fingerprints, each lion has a distinct pattern of spots on their whiskers. These whisker spots are like personal ID cards for lions—so different that researchers can use them to tell individual lions apart in the wild.

It’s like a secret language hidden right under their noses, helping scientists track and learn all about these fascinating creatures. Pretty cool, right?

Lion cubs are adorable little creatures with fluffy fur and big, curious eyes. But did you know that they also have a built-in disguise? When they are born, lion cubs are covered in dark spots that help them blend in with their surroundings. This camouflage is essential for their survival, as it helps them hide from predators while they are still young and vulnerable.

The spots on a lion cub’s fur are similar to the spots on a leopard’s fur. They help to break up the cub’s outline, making it more difficult for predators to see them. This is especially important in the tall grass and savannas where lions live, as these environments provide plenty of hiding places for predators.

The spots on a lion cub’s fur will gradually fade as they grow older. By the time they are adults, the spots will usually be gone completely. However, some lions will retain faint spots into adulthood. These spots are a reminder of the cub’s playful past and their time spent hiding from danger.

The future of these majestic creatures is uncertain. Lions are sadly listed as “vulnerable” on the Red List, which means they’re at risk of disappearing forever. Over the past 20 years, their numbers have dropped by almost half—that’s like 4 out of every 10 lions gone. This decline is mainly due to three big threats:

  • Losing their homes: Lions need wide-open spaces to roam and hunt, but their natural habitat is shrinking as more land is used for farming and other human activities. It’s like their jungle gyms are disappearing.
  • Clashing with humans: Sometimes, lions and humans come into conflict, especially when they wander near villages or livestock. This can lead to both lions and people getting hurt, which is never a good thing.
  • Poaching: Sadly, some people hunt lions illegally for their body parts, even though it’s against the law. This is like stealing from the animal kingdom.

These threats are serious, but people are working hard to protect lions. By learning more about these amazing animals and supporting conservation efforts, we can all help give them a roar-some future.

Check out more facts here.

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ARTS & CULTURE

3 Smallest Tribes In Africa And Their Cultures

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3 Smallest Tribes In Africa, Their Culture And History | Fab.ng

Africa is a continent filled with over 3,000 unique tribes, each with its own rich traditions, languages, and histories. Every tribe deserves recognition and appreciation for their contributions to the continent’s cultural landscape.

While some tribes have grown in population over time, others have remained smaller, preserving their distinctive customs and identities. Today, we’ll go into the stories of three of Africa’s smallest tribes, their unique ways of life, and the significance of cultural preservation.

Deep in the heart of northern Uganda, roughly 370,000 individuals known as the Karamojong Tribe make their home. Their journey to this land stretches back centuries, with studies suggesting they migrated from Ethiopia around 1600 AD. Today, they proudly speak their own distinct language, Karamojong, and fiercely hold onto their cultural traditions.

3 Smallest Tribes In Africa: Their Culture And History | Fab.ng

The Karamojong people are deeply traditional, taking immense joy in their unique customs and practices. They tend to view any outside attempts to alter their way of life with suspicion, requiring careful understanding and sensitivity to bridge cultural gaps.

Their way of life revolves around livestock, with herding forming the core of their existence. In regions where herding proves challenging, they supplement their income by cultivating crops.

Sadly, the Karamojong population is steadily declining, highlighting the importance of recognising and preserving their valuable cultural heritage.

The Kunene region of northern Namibia and southern Angola is where the Himba tribe proudly carries on their traditions as one of Africa’s smallest communities, numbering around 50,000.

3 Smallest Tribes In Africa: Their Culture And History | Fab.ng

For over 500 years, they’ve called this land home, and their lives have been centred around tending livestock. Though small in size, their cultural spirit remains strong, guided by a unique system of inheritance where both maternal and paternal lineages hold importance.

Due to the arid environment, their diet primarily consists of fermented milk, porridge made from maize, and sometimes simply porridge without additional ingredients. To supplement their food sources, they incorporate cornmeal, chicken eggs, wild herbs, and honey into their meals. Occasionally, they sell cattle to acquire cash.

The Himba communicate in their own distinct language, Otjihimba, a branch of the Bantu language family. This rich tapestry of traditions, language, and resilience makes the Himba a truly remarkable community within the diverse cultural landscape of Africa.

Only 300 El Molo people, the smallest tribe in Kenya, live on the beaches of Lake Turkana. They arrived there over 3,000 years ago, leaving their Ethiopian farming life behind to become fishermen.

3 Smallest Tribes In Africa: Their Culture And History | Fab.ng

Their own language, El Molo, keeps their unique culture alive. While some now live in modern houses, many still choose traditional huts by the lake.

Many El Molo follow a traditional religion worshipping Waaq, a single god, like in ancient Oromo beliefs. Some have also embraced Christianity.

When someone dies, El Molo buries them under a small pile of stones and moves the whole village away, showing respect for the dead.

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Patience Ozokwo, Pete Edochie, Kanayo, Others Attend Unveiling of ‘Igbo Cinema’ In Ebonyi

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Igbo Cinema: Actors Attend the Unveiling in Ebonyi | Fab.ng

A brand new cinema is coming to the southeastern region of Nigeria. To celebrate, some of the big Nollywood crew rolled out the red carpet for the big reveal. Movie makers from eastern Nigeria recently launched a special project to celebrate and share Igbo traditions with the world. The “Igbo Cinema and Culture Project” was officially announced last Saturday in Abakaliki, and everyone was excited about it.

Big names in Igbo entertainment, known for bringing their culture to life on screen, were super excited about this brand-new project and gave it a big thumbs up. The governor of Ebonyi State, Mr. Francis Nwifuru, also thinks it’s a great idea. He says it will help people feel even prouder to be Igbo, and many others agree. The project is dedicated to using movies, music, and dances to showcase the unique culture of the Igbo people.

In Ebonyi State Igbo Cinema First Emerged It Is Time To Narrate Our Stories Exactly As They Happened

Ebonyi erupted in excitement thanks to a dazzling event. The whole state buzzed with anticipation, and the ceremony itself was a star-studded extravaganza. Nollywood legends like Pete Edochie, Patience Ozokwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo, and Chiwetalu Agu joined a bunch of other famous people to see the big reveal of this amazing new project. Even the governor himself joined in on the party, making it a total blast for everyone’s eyes, ears, and hearts. It was a big celebration of everything that showcased the heart and soul of Igbo traditions. It was also a real treat for everyone involved.

Actress Chacha Ike was there to capture all the excitement, sharing videos of everyone having a blast. Legendary Igbo actors like Pete Edochie, Patience Ozokwo, Kanayo O Kanayo, Chiwetalu Agu, Rachael Okonkwo, and Somadina were all there, lighting up the place with their smiles.

Nollywood filmmakers unveil Igbo cinema, culture project in Ebonyi - QUICK NEWS AFRICA

The audience in attendance was brimming with elation, and in videos online, Pete Edochie even gave a big shout-out to the people who made it all happen. He emphasised that the cinema would continue to draw support from the community. Kanayo and Ozokwo echoed Pete Edochie’s words, praised the pioneers of the cinema project in the state, and urged them to persist in their efforts to keep the project thriving.

This Igbo cinema project might just be the next real hit. It’s like a big spotlight being shone on Igbo culture, and the pioneers are hoping it will bring people together and keep these traditions alive for generations to come.

Check out more updates here.

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