As part of the task for Face Of Rhodies World Photo Contest Season 6 (My, culture, My Pride), contestants were asked to tell us about the culture they are representing in an expository essay writing. This task carries 2000 votes, and below is an unedited essay writing sent in by this contestant.
Have fun and get to know more about her culture.
Name: Christy Daniels
State of Origin: Akwa Ibom state
Name of the culture you’re representing: The Ibibio culture in Akwa Ibom state
The Ibibio people are Kwa speaking people Benue-Congo group of Niger-Congo language, occupying the palm belt in the southeast Nigeria`s Akwa Ibom state and are regarded as the most ancient of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. They are related to the Anaang and the Efik peoples. The Annang, Efik, Ekid, Oron and Ibeno share personal names, culture, and traditions with the Ibibio, and speak closely related varieties of Ibibio-Efik. Prior to present-day Nigeria they were regarded as Ibibio tribes speaking dialects of Ibibio.
Dr. Monday Noah in his “Ibibio Pioneers in Modern Nigerian History” writes: “The Ibibio occupy mostly the mainland parts of the Cross River State and constitute the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria. The major Ibibio sub-groups include the Oron, Eket, Ibuno, and Annang and there are also some Ibibio communities in most of the fishing settlements along the estuary of the Cross River. The Efik people of
Calabar are descendants of Ibibio people.”
“Ibio-ibio” means short or brief. The name was given due the Ibibio’s brief way of doing things. The nearest neighbours of the Ibibio are the Ibo (Igbo) to the
northwest, Ijaw to the southwest and Efik to the southeast, with the
Qua, Efut and Ekoi further away in the northeast. Among these perhaps
the Efik are their greatest adversaries.
LanguageThe Ibibio tribe is the 4th largest ethnic set in Nigeria, and barely
out-numbered by the Igbo their neighbour. Apart from the Igbos, the
other two ethnic groups that ou-tnumbers Ibibio are the Hausa and
Yoruba. About five million people in Nigeria speak Ibibio as their
mother tongue and inhabit much of the South- eastern part of the
Among the four million speakers are small groups speaking small
‘languages” identified as Ito, Itu Mbon Uso, Iwere, Nkari and Ukwa
(cf. Essien 1987:34).
Genetically, the Ibibio language belongs to the Benue-Congo sub-family
which in turn belongs to the Niger-Congo family, one of the largest
families of knguages in Africa, according to Greenberg’s (1963)
Ibibio belongs to the Lower Cross group, a group of closely related
languages to which Efik and Annang, with which Ibibio forms a cluster
of dialects, also belong, and to which we refer as Ibibiod.
Ibibio Creation Mythology The creator, Abassi, created two humans and then decided to not allow them to live on earth. His wife, Atai, persuaded him to let them, the people, live on earth. In order to control the humans, Abassi insisted that they eat all their meals with him, thereby keeping them from growing or hunting
He also forbade them to have children. Soon, though, the woman began
growing food in the earth, and they stopped showing up to eat with
Then the man joined his wife in the fields, and before long there were
children also. Abassi blamed his wife for the way things had turned out, but she told
him she would handle it. She sent to earth, death and discord to keep
the people in their place, and their numbers down.
Ibibios are regarded as the most ancient of all the ethnic groups in
Nigeria,however, “There are no legends or traditions of origin among
the Ibibio. They have been long enough in the Forest belt to have
forgotten the stories of their origin. (Jeffreys, 192 7,p. 28). As a
result there many stories about their origins. According to Robert
McKeon, the Ibibio are probably the indigenous natives from whom most
small tribes of Qua Ibom and Calabar are descended.
Ibibio Traditions of Origin and Ethnic Relations
Information about Ibibio origins is highly speculative and varied.
the earliest stock of the Ibibio included the Afaha clan whose
ancestral home is believed to be Usak Edet (Isangele) in South-western
Cameroon and that there are strong cultural similarities between the
Ibibio and the Bakoko of Southern Cameroon (Noah, 1980a). It is
suggested that the highland regions of this part of Africa may have
been a major centre of human evolution on the continent (Dike,1956).
According to Ford and Jones, the Ibibio settlement of Isangele now
forms a small tribe in the Kumba Division of Cameroon. Economy
The Ibibio largely engage in farming, fishing, and trading. While farming is the principal occupation of the Ibibio uplands, the river-side Ibibio traditionally work as fishermen at fishing ports commonly known as INE. Trading is done by middlemen who act as brokers between the producers of goods and the consumers.
Industrial Arts The Ibibio are well known for their skill in wood carving and are
considered masters of an adroit professional technique. Weaving is
generally done by youths of both sexes, whereas women are responsible
for mat making.
Ibibio Kinship Among the Ibibio, kinship is patrilineal (i.e descent is traced
through the father) while family is polygynous. Ibibio kinship structure is also something of a trinity. The Ibibio kinship trinity involves complex of norms involving ayeyin (grandchild), ukod (in-law) and imaan (blood brother). It provides
dependable framework and serves as a pivot of social relations among
Ibibio people living in and outside Ibibioland. The enduring nature of
this trinity among Ibibios belies an assertion that the Ibibios are
unusually receptive to innovation from cultures which they come in
contact (Esen 1982:4).
Religious belief Ibibio believe that there is a Supreme being called Abasi who created
all things including the gods (ndem) to who He gives charge of the
different aspect of human affairs. Thus there is ndem isiong (fertility goddess) to look after land fertilitity, ndem ndua (market god) to protect the interest of those who buy and sell at the market, etc.
Below the gods are unincarnated spirits like eka abasi, the spirit mother that looks after children. Then there are spirits of the ancestors whom they worship too.
Apparels Worn: The apparels worn here are worn by the Ibibio maiden and they consist of a gele that is tied to cover the head,this symbolises dignity and
it is meant to promote pomp and peagantry of the Ibibio maiden.
Next is the topless blouse that is worn from the armpit and leaves the
maidens shoulders open to show off her beauty and ruddy silky skin,
then she has the wrapper that is tied to the ankles. This outfit is spiced with matching accessories. This outfit can be worn to marriage ceremonies, chieftaincy title ceremonies, naming ceremonies, community outings etc.
The people with this culture are the Ibibio’s who are located in the
South-south part of Nigeria. They are unarguably the 4th largest tribe
in Nigeria after Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba.
Apart from dressing I particularly like the Mbopo rites-Mbopo Rites Mbopo also known as “fattening house” ritual is an Ibibio women’s ritual that points to a greater resident culture that heralds ceremonial seclusion, corpulence, and ornamental extravagance as principal components in female identity construction. It is one of
several exclusive women’s institutions found in southeast Nigeria. Mbopo translates as “the fattened girl,” referring to the one who has been secluded to ekuk mbopo, or “fattening house.” The term mbopo also embodies her collective process of confinement, beautification, fattening, and circumcision, the last of which is a procedure that was traditionally considered as a ceremonial rite for a young woman,
ensuring her purity, sexual appeal, marital fortune, and successful pregnancies.
Specifically, the emergence of a “fat and beautiful” girl from a regulated period of seclusion in ekuk mbopo is paramount for the sustenance of a community. Yet, of equal value to her appearance is that she be imbued with strength as well as the skill required to handle the unrelenting rigors of womanhood.
Apart from Mbopo, the Ibibio’s have other typical cultural practices which include:
Initiation Rites For the Ibibio the has two aspects-visible, that is the domain of
ordinary human experience: and invisible, the domain of God, the gods and spirits. Human life passes through these two domains in a cycle; the adult becomes aged and passes into the world of invisible to be re-incarnated and born again as a baby into the world of visible. Birth and death are therefore moments in the life cycle. As a result the Ibibio has a sacrifice for periodic phases of the life cycle. These are:
Sacrifice at naming ceremony (usio enying) Sacrifice at puberty (Mbopo/nkuho)
Sacrifice at death. There are also initiations for certain high ranking personalities in
Ibibio society. These includes: Sacrifice at Chietaincy initiation Sacrifice at initiation into cultic associations Sacrifice at initiation into the guild of diviners (abia idiong)
Death and Afterlife Worship of the ancestors is a very important part of Ibibio religious culture. Sacrifices are often made at the ancestral shrine, which is
kept at the house of the eldest member of the lineage group. Disgruntled ancestors may wander among the living, causing harm until the ceremony of Obio Ekpo (“world of the dead”) is performed so that the spirit can enter the world of the dead. The Ibibio have a concept of good ( eti ) and evil/bad ( idiok). A person has two souls, the immortal soul ( ukpong ) and the animal-linked soul ( ukpong ikot),
which can live in lions, leopards, bush pigs, antelopes, and pythons.
The latter also dies at death, whereas the former is reincarnated or
becomes a malevolent ghost troubling the living.
COMMENT FROM THE CREW
Photo Attitude: Excellent
Attire: Very good
Presentation: Very Good
SCORE: 1600 Votes / 2000
This score will be added to your final votes
Miss Christy Daniels, your photo creativity is very interesting.
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VERY GOOD: 400