By Alex Enebeli
The Centre for Memories (CFM), Enugu, in collaboration with the [Re:]Entanglements project of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London on Saturday held an exhibition on Igbo Spirituality and Cosmology.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that The Center for Memories is a repository of the history and culture of “Ndigbo” – Igbo people, informing and empowering leaders to serve with excellence and integrity.
The [Re:]Entanglements project is to promote the Igbo culture.
It has been re-engaging with a remarkable ethnographic archive – including objects, photographs, sound recordings, botanical specimens, published work and fieldnotes – assembled by the colonial anthropologist, , Northcote W. Thomas, in Southern Nigeria and Sierra Leone between 1909 and 1915.
As well as better understanding the historical context in which these materials were gathered, the project seeks to examine their significance in the present
The Executive Director of CFM, Mr Iheanyi Igboko, said the exhibition was aimed at creating a platform where true and valid Igbo conversation from the past to present could be discussed and documented.
The event was based on photography and arts exhibition on the nature of Igbo cosmology.
Igboko said: “It became necessary so people could understand what our forefathers did and for us to continue in their tradition, to practice it so that next generation can learn from it.
“The centre is working to bridge the gap between the Igbo’s undocumented history, tradition and culture being handed over to them from one generation to another.
“The centre is taking it upon itself to do some documentation of them in terms of preservation and promotion of Igbo identity in areas of their spirituality and cosmology,” Igboko added.
In his remarks, the Provost of Atcoi College of Education, Enugu, Mr Zulu Ofoelue, said there was no evil in Igbo culture as people labelled it.
Ofoelue said the people of the region used culture for restoration and survival.
According to him, anything anyone does that brings evil is not Igbo culture and is regarded as “Nso ala” (abomination); they include killing, human sacrifices and stealing, among others.
“If a person commits an offence, he will be banished and not killed.
“Igbos have authentic existence but they fell into problem because they received white men who deceived them to believe that their culture was not good.
“Even the lands they built their churches was given to them free-of-charge but what did they use to pay us back?, telling us that our culture is evil,” Ofoelue said.
He said it was actually lack of understanding that made people to condemn Igbo tradition and heritage.
Earlier, the representative of the [Re:]Entanglements Project, Dr George Agbo, said the traditional world of every Igbo person comprised of certain beliefs, ideas and thoughts that guide them through life.
He noted that the world held sway over the minds of Igbos which was manifested in their customs, habits, laws, lifestyle and belief.
Agbo said that between 1909 and 1913, an anthropologist, Northcote Thomas, toured Edo and other Igbo speaking areas of Nigeria extensively, recording Igbo spirituality and cosmology.
He added that Thomas and his assistants took thousands of photographs and articles on Igbo cosmology which had been in existence up to this very day. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)