In original Igbo culture, women don't answer their husband names.

When I read some misinformed ladies on internet saying how patriarchy embedded in Igbo culture makes women change their names immediately they got married to their husbands names, I shake my head, laugh and...
My grandmother died in 2010 at age of 124. She was the oldest and the last surviving woman of her generation. Her name was Ọbaji Nwaigbo Ụnaegwu. It was her name until death. My grandfather's name— her husband was Ogudu Ogo Okoro Anaga.
My grandmother never bore the name of my grandfather and it wasn't a sin or an issue. My father was named after his grandfather—my great grandfather—Okoro Anaga who was the custodian of ụmụnna's ọfọ and a great man of honour. My father as a Christian was named Mark.
I was named after my father hence, Ogbonnaya. That's how I took Mark as my name too cos my father's name is my name.

My grandmother owned lands& properties. She owned yam barns. That reflects her name Ọbaji. She honoured my father by buying him a horse.
She called herself Ọkpụ Ịnyịnya Yaa Enyịm—She, Who Crosses the Ocean with Horse. If I want to make her smile and tell me stories and histories,I would call her this title. Her eyebrows would stair up, she would hang her shoulders,smiling, and begin to tell me about that day.
She said it was on Eke Market day. The whole community gathered, to welcome her and her horse. This incidence took place in the 1950s. Let me not digress.

There was another powerful woman who had taken numerous titles. She took the highest title of women called Okenajị.
Mgborie was her name. I was privileged to meet her. She owned lands, countless of lands and properties more than many men I can think of in the village. Even in her 80s year of age then, she could lend you any amount of money you want with your land as collateral.
She rented plates, spoon and kitchen utensils for festivals and ceremonies. She was answering Mgborie Eze Nwa Ọkpanụkpọ which was her father's name and not her husband's name.

Many women I can think of never bore their husbands' names but their maiden names.
Their husbands call them by their names, they call their husbands by their names. It doesn't mean disrespect. They owned their businesses, farmlands, cultivate crops just as their husbands. Aba Women who rioted in the 1920s should tell you much about Igbo women in the past.
You don't dare them. Are we talking of ụmụada or ụmụọkpụ? Igbo women had great powers. If they handle you, you will understand how far. No one was completely a house wife with nothing doing. As husband is cultivating yam, wife cultivates akụkụ ubi such as ọkwụrụ,
ede, ụgụ, ụgbọgụrụ, akịdị, etc. They collectively work with their husbands to arrange the yam tendrils (ome ji) in the farm.

Some were into business of buying and selling in the market. Some were labourers, working for others, getting paid and assisting the family.
They don't wait for their husbands to give them before they buy the jigida or other beautifying ornament they wished to have...


When the missionaries arrived, things began to change. Early Igbo women Christian converts were taken to Missionary Vocational Centers,
got trained to become housewives to early male Christian converts who served also as missionaries to spread the gospel . I interviewed a woman 3 years ago who received the same training. She's in her late 80s when I met her.
She told me how she was taken to be trained for her husband who was a catechist then. The Anglican training center for women was located at Nachi in Udi almost close to Oji River. Young girls were taken there to learn how to live with their future missionary husbands.
The issue of housewife and wife not doing anything except child bearing became order of the day immediately the early missionaries arrived. These young girls grew up marrying missionary men, the same thing was passed on to the next generation. They're fed by the church members.
The issue of taking names after their husbands came for the first time. Women are trained as housewives, to be cooking food, sowing and doing other vocational activities for their missionary husbands. European culture now passed unto us..
Things began to change, that was how and why after marriage, women take away their maiden's names and bear their husbands names.

If I marry tomorrow and my wife decide not to answer my name, I have no issues with that. It's not part of my culture.
It is borrowed or rather an enforced culture that assimilated ours as a result of religion and colonialism.

Women changing their names to their husbands' is a European culturet and not Igbo culture. It is not an issue of Igbo patriarchal culture as some of you claim,
it is European culture brought to us by the early missionaries alongside colonization. Igbo had an organised system before it was destroyed. Some things we blame on culture today as subjugation of women should go to religion, not culture. We had a cultural balance for all gender.

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More from @maazi_ogbonnaya

5 Jul
Do you know that the Igbo had been trading textiles before the white man came?

We weren't completely naked.

There is a culture of Igbo called ịwa akwa. It predated the Europeans arrival to ala Igbo.

If you translate ịwa akwa literally, it means typing clothes.
But in Igbo cultural practices, it shows that one is man enough. He has reached the stage of being a full man.

At certain age in the past, children were naked but not adults. When you reach certain age, you will use textile to cover your private parts. Women too, except breasts
Breast in Igbo was not recognised as private part. It was used as yardstick to describe a grown up maiden. Remember, there wasn't issue of rape. Morality was high.

That's by the way.

When these guys said we were naked before they came, tell them there was ịwa akwa festival.
Read 6 tweets
5 Jul
Mr Ogugua Arah, from Onitsha- 1934. He was joint leader of the Onitsha Native Orchestra (alternatively Ibo Native Orchestra). This orchestra made the first commercial recordings in Igbo language, in 1939, under C.T.Onyekwelu's CTO Records, later Nigerphone,
and sponsored and distributed by CFAO.
Arah was a middle-level staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and formed the orchestra, alongside Pa Osaji, also from Onitsha. My father in his recent lecture around his memoirs recalled this formidable man, who was a close family friend
and an encounter in the mid-1940's. He met Mr Arah on the street and greeted him as usual, Mr Arah asked how his studies were (as was normal then), my father responded that he came fourth in his class. Arah, had been on his way, when he heard this response,
Read 6 tweets
5 Jul

Nature gifts each people according to her inner maturity. Inner maturity like the biological DNA is the inner code of conduct.This can be altered by maturity or degeneration. Igbo is in degenerating alteration trend of their socio-cultural DNA.
Igbo inner maturity was so high that we were gifted Ụmụnna System.

To accommodate our sedentary migrative challenges, Ụmụnna System birthed Town Unionism. As Igbo confronted others cultures in a common polity, we formed "Ibo" (Igbo) Union, then "Ibo" (Igbo) Federal Union
and then "Ibo" (Igbo) State Union.

But the forces of slavery and colonialism have been eating off our DNA, our inner code of conduct. Then the genocidal period of 1966-1970 finished off Igbo DNA.
Read 6 tweets
5 Jul
Many didn't know that Professor Wole Soyinka was imprisoned for 2 years because of Biafra by Yakubu Gowon.

After becoming chief of the Cathedral of Drama at the University of Ibadan, Soyinka became more politically active.
Following the military coup of January 1966, he met with the military governor Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in Enugwu in August 1967, to try to avert civil war. As a result, he had to go into hiding.

He was imprisoned for 22 months as civil war ensued by Gowon.
They refused him access to materials like books, paper, pen, he still found way to write important notes, poems and articles, criticising Nigerian government while in prison.

In September 1967, while in prison, his play "The Lion and The Jewel" was produced in Accra.
Read 5 tweets
4 Jul
Some Yoruba Army Officials who Fought in the side of Biafra to defend ndị Igbo.

1. Lt. Col. Victor Banjo

One of the first graduates to join the army alongside Ojukwu and others.
Banjo led the 3,000 strong Biafran brigade known as the "Liberation Army of Nigeria"
and also called the "Midwest Expeditionary Force" in the planned invasion of Lagos. His forces reached Benin within 12 hours on August 9,1967. By this time, Nigerian forces had captured Biafran towns of Obudu, Garkem, Ogoja, Nsụka heading to Enugwu and Bonny to PH.
Lt Col Banjo was the highest ranking Yoruba in the Biafran army.

2.Major Wale Ademoyega

One of the five majors that toppled the government of Balewa on Jan 15,1966, he was released from Warri prison during the Midwest invasion in August 1967 by a battalion led by Major Chukwuka
Read 10 tweets
4 Jul
Those of you in Enugwu know Kenyatta street, a popular street that leads to Maryland, Enugwu. You also know Kenyatta market. Have you asked yourself the meaning of Kenyatta and history behind that?

Kenyatta is a name of person. Who is and was Kenyatta?

Let's go to history...
Jomo Kenyatta was the first Prime Minister of Kenya. He was born in 1897 and died on 22 August 1978. A Kenyan anti-colonial activist and politician who governed Kenya as its Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as its first President from 1964 to his death in 1978.
He was a pan-Africanist who fought the British imperialists. They tagged him a terrorist in order to hang him. It was then Nnamdị Azikiwe came for his rescue. As a Premier of Eastern Region, Azikiwe used the resources of the region to fight for his rescue. Ala Igbo saved him.
Read 6 tweets

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