Pre/Post colonial Igbo culture By Layla Roper

(Source: Book cover taken from Google images)

“The policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”. Is the definition of Colonialism.

Traditionally in the Igbo culture the picture of a "real man" is of a man who has successfully married two or more wives. Polygamy is an accepted ceremony among the women of the tribe, as well as the men. The wives are taught to live with respect towards each other and both contribute to the family. As mentioned by Kenalemang: an older wife might suggest the husband to remarry a younger wife as well as the younger wife having respect and no hateful actions toward the first wife. (Source 1, pg 8)

Another ceremony that is accepted that is frowned upon by the white missionaries is the acceptance of killing people and children of the tribe. This is not looked down upon by the Igbo and is normal as long as there's is a reason imbedded in their religion because their fifth commandment in a nutshell is that God decides who lives and who dies and God only. (Source 1, pg 9)

"Yes, Umuofia has decided to kill him. The Oracle of the hills and the Caves has pronounced it. They will take him outside Umuofia as it is the custom, and kill him there." (Achebe, pg 57)
(© / Fotolia)

Another ritual is the week of peace Before the harvest of the yams to honor the earth goddess for good harvest. It is heavily respected and there are harsh consequences for not following tradition, however the book states that over time consequences are less severe then in previous times.

"You know as well as I do that our forefathers ordained that before we plant any crops in the earth we should observe a week in which a man does not say a harsh word to his neighbor." (Achebe, pg 30)

In 1821 the English government signed and recruited an expedition to Borno and then a few years later set off for the coast of Nigeria. The leader of the expedition returned to England and then there was a new expedition commissioned to go to south Nigeria and explore for their rich natural goods. (Source 2)

When the British missionaries came they were very disapproving of most of the Igbo culture and intervened with their own, but they didn't intend to disrupt the peace of the Igbos'. Little did they know that those frowned upon aspects of culture are what kept the tribe together and at peace. (Source 1, pg 9)

British white missionaries intervened forcing Christianity upon the Igbos which caused conflicts with marital beliefs, because the British did not believe in Polygamy. This ultimately lead to the division of The Igbo tribe and the start of more modern aspects in their culture.

Work cited page (source 1) Kenalemang, Lame. "Things Fall Apart of Pre and Post: A n Analysis Colonial Igbo Society." primary sources.

(Source 2) "HISTORY OF NIGERIA." HISTORY OF NIGERIA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.

(Source 3) Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart : a Casebook. Oxford ; New York :Oxford University Press, 2003.

Created By
Layla Roper


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