There is something peculiar about one’s “root”, as it shows culture, tradition, and most importantly the people associated with that demography.
My name is Jude Queens and I am from Igbo – Ukwu Village in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, in the southeastern part of Nigeria. Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve never heard about Igbo – Ukwu Town; then allow me to take you on a ride about my village and her beauty.
IGBO -UKWU VILLAGE is made up of seven villages, called Obiuno, Ngo, Akukwa, Umudege, Ezihu, Ezigbo and Etiti. Over the years, these seven villages have lived in peace and have expanded in riches and generation of children of which am part of.
On arrival to my village, its major feature is her red soil which is rich and fertile for all sorts of farming activities which brought about her popular Nkwo market day (the largest ancient local market in Africa), known by all and sundry who visit there, as 1 out of every 3 families come out to sell some of their farm products such as palm kernel, Red oil, Akpu, Pears, Orji,Plantain, Palm wine etc at a very cheap rate.
You could say that Igbo – Ukwu is the centre place of Igbo’s and you wouldn’t be wrong, because just as Ile – Ife is the centre of Yoruba Culture and History – Igbo Ukwu holds evidently Igbos’ History, Culture and Art works. This is no wonder that her Artworks are still studied in Eastern Part of Nigeria’s schools.
Interestingly, my ancestors just like myself were known for their hard work and their life work (Metal Artworks) as early as the 9th century is today a legacy that will be talked about for more centuries to come.
Their Artworks (bronze treasures) were accidentally discovered by a worker who was hired to dig a cistern by Mr. Isaiah Anozie during dry season in 1939. The treasures were eventually brought to the National Museum Lagos in 1957 by the Colonial Assistant District Officer in charge of the area who got to know about the incident.
Three sites have been excavated, revealing hundreds of ritual vessels and regalia castings of bronze or leaded bronze that are among the most inventive and technically accomplished bronzes ever made.
They were the earliest smithers of copper and its alloy in West Africa, working the metal through hammering, bending, twisting, and incising.
A trip to Igbo – Ukwu Arts and Museum will explain why some people have called Igbo – Ukwu an ancient city of Igboland; the ancestral land of the entire Igbo – race, and the cradle of black civilization
No fewer than ten world renowned Igbo cultural monuments stands tall in Igbo – Ukwu town for historians, archaeologists, tourists and lovers of history to behold. These include the Centre for Black Arts& African Civilisation (CIBAC), National Gallery of Arts (NAT), National Museum, National Yam House, Old People Home (home for rehabilitation of old people), and Anambra State Museum.
Apart from our historic bronze work, we extended our creativity to culture and traditions.
Just like anyone would like to appreciate a refined Art work with a befitting music (personally speaking), we believe that to understand the creativity behind a piece of our Artwork you just need to view our dance steps, hear that perfect pitch flute, appreciate the design of our masquerades, and of course see our daughters and sisters get married in our traditional style.
Every December 29th over the years have drawn men and women outside the community and the country to come and appreciate sophisticated King’s worthy masquerade day in Igbo – Ukwu Village – make this years’ December 29th a day to remember.
A unique cultural display and dance moves will make you drop your jaw, as each New Yam Festival avails our guest an opportunity to spectate and enjoy the yam harvest while the flute plays.
Traditional marriage ceremony is one occasion every Igbo – Ukwuian, would lock up their shop and attend, especially when the Umuada parades themselves with pride that one of them is getting married and Umunna in their valor ready to state their traditions upfront to their new in-laws as they make sure their list of demands are meant to their satisfaction.
The girl to be married is properly decorated as she is required to come out 3 times to present herself to the guest in 3 different attires – to witness this tradition, will make anyone want to marry.
This carefully selected agenda for the ceremony is to tell and remind the new in—laws that the girl they want to marry has a root and her root will go to War for her sake.
Igbo – Ukwu people practice Christianity (mostly Roman Catholics) and Omenani. The present day Church buildings in Igbo – Ukwu still shows that distinct appreciation for Artworks, an example of such Churches will be Our Lady of Fatima Parish Igbo – Ukwu which is located at the heart of the town.
Igbo – Ukwu has a Traditional Ruler, His Royal Highness Igwe Dr. Barr. Martin N. Ezeh (Idu II)
Igbo – ukwu over the years have grown and yet little development can be seen in the village. In the Town itself we have only one bank ( Union Bank)which been the only bank in my village for some years now and nothing have been done about this.
Poor electricity and health care facilities is another sector that have suffer for years now and needs to be improved on.
Apart from the Nkwo Market that is still functioning, no major or little commercial activities is bringing in people to invest and explore the village.
unfortunately, even the historic Artworks of our ancestors have not been improved on nor preserved well.
Igbo -Ukwu needs to do more, come back home and develop our root – so that the future generation will have a place to call home