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Okpu Igbo: Traditional Igbo Hats (Male)

What are the traditional Igbo hats?

 

Name: Okpu agu “leopard hat” (a sign of bravery/warriors)

Style: Woven with white, black and red stripes (an abstract depiction of leopard spots)

Origin: Abia/Cross river region, from the Ekpe (leopard society)

Variation: Okpu mboko (black and white, worn by highest grade of the Ekpe society)


Name: Okpu ozo “Ozo cap” (Red cap)

Style: Red, study material, suede texture

Origin: Anambra region – sacred/earned, traditionally worn by titled men e.g. ‘Nzes’, ‘Ichies’, ‘Ozos’, ‘Ogbuefis (chiefs and kings)

Variation: Ugo (Eagle) feather on higher ranks

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Imu ahia/ (Ímù Ólú/Oru) – The Igbo Apprenticeship System

Imu Ahia /Ímù Ólú/Oru

How the Igbo Apprenticeship helped heal the wounds of Biafra.

In 1967 Nigeria declared war on the secessionist state of Biafra (formally Eastern Nigeria predominantly of the Igbo ethnic group, alongside many of their neighbours like the Ibibio, Efik and Ekoi). 

What followed was one of Africa’s most brutal and genocidal conflicts where an estimated 1-3 million Biafrans died.

The carnage of the Biafran war left Igbo people socially and economically devastated whilst simultaneously fueling ethnic tensions which still plague Nigeria till this day.

Despite these major setbacks if you visit Nigeria today Igbo people are the economic heartbeat of Nigeria and are a visible (often dominating) presence in every major trading hub in Nigeria. 

But how have Igbo people recovered from the devastation of Biafra in order to impose such an economic presence in modern Nigeria?

One of the answers is… Imu Ahia (The Igbo Apprenticeship system).

Imu Ahia

The  Igbo apprenticeship system is a practice where an established Igbo businessman (occasionally women) foster a young person (often from a less privileged family) in order to train and rear them in the practical and economic elements of their trade.

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OMUGWO: Traditional Igbo After-birth Care

OMUGWO: Traditional Igbo After-birth Care
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There is always delight and anticipation in the air when and Igbo family are expecting a new child.
The family unit is at center to Igbo culture. And whilst pregnancy can be an exciting, scary and nerve-wracking experience all rolled into one. It is a process that Igbos hold in very high regard.
Despite this, pregnancy can be a challenging time where your body and lifestyle will go through many unexpected changes.
These changes can leave new mothers feeling overwhelmed without a robust support network made up of family and friends.
Igbo culture’s answer to these post-natal challenges is a practice called “Omugwo”.

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