Woo…Boy! I just HAD to post this!

Eat my historical dust all you moralistic Igbo men!!!

So according to this document, we had crossbows.

According to this:
Uvele – Bolt from Crossbow.
Akpede – Crossbow
Ota – Bow
Edide – Poisoned Arrow
Ibiebili or Ibubunku – Barb of an Arrow
Ota (diff tone of course) – Shield (made of wicker)
Ota (Again, diff tone) – Cloth made by Hausas


Otokoto – Mud (based on this I’m going to assume that Poto-Poto is a word of Yoruba origin)

Idu – Benin City ( fancy that!)

Obwa – Spear

Ube – Toy Spear used to train children

Get this, there are different names for different spears depending on their design and the shape of the spear head.

Nkokpa – War Club (the kind you use to bash your enemy’s skull in! :D) Also Nkolo

Yay for weapons and bloody warfare!!! 😀

Okay, so of course, his spelling or whatever might be a teensy weensy bit off, but we forgive him for he is British.

So I know everyone’s been asking what books I’ve been reading and I would love to tell you all right now, but I’m doing research for the Penguin African Writer’s contest so I promise you, once the manuscript is completed I will publish a FULL list of every book I have read on Igbo history, language, and culture.

Pinky Promise. 😀

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  1. Moody Crab

    Did you know that orgies were practiced as a way to get to the heart of the gods? Like sacrifices, sex was used a way of communicating with the gods.

    Also, I was told that before a young girl gets married, she is shipped off to live with women who practiced sex as a form of trade (i.e. prostitute, as we know them today.) The idea is to get first-hand experience on what is required of them on their wedding night. Sometimes, young girls are sent back to their parents home cos they were not good in bed. In fact not being good sexual partner was the second worst form of familial embarrassment (the first being inability to bear children). HA!

  2. L-VII

    I enjoyed reading this, but I am always rather sceptical about these books, they were written by people who saw Africans in a particular way so…. but put up some more.


  3. mizchif

    Very interesting stuff.

    I know i haven’t been commenting on your blog lately, but i just want to commend you on your work on the Ndebe initiative, the way you use your blog to raise issues which you feel are important, and your love and passion for all things African.

    I don’t always agree with all your points, but i definitely respect the fact that you are not afraid to put them out there and stand your ground.

  4. eccentricyoruba

    this is soooo cool! and i love that you have discovered this because it hints that at one point in time the Igbos must have been a matriachal society. i’ve only heard about other cases like this in some parts of India (where a woman could have multiple husbands) and in medieval Japan when a man would come to a woman’s window if he saw her in the market place and was interested (he also had to ask her parents for permission though).

    just know that i envy you o! all the information that you have been finding is so precious. keep it up!

  5. ChinenyeN

    Igbo culture differs from region to region, so those excerpts shouldn’t be taken as being representative of all of Igbo groups. Other than that, interesting.

  6. sugabelly

    @Chinenye: Actually the author DOES say that this is the practice throughout Igbo land but that the level of sexual freedom varies slightly from place to place (naturally this is expected). He did however state that at the time all unmarried Igbo girls were allowed to have sexual lovers from a certain age. According to him, one of the things that varies is the age. (for example in Ibuza it might be thirteen and in Onitsha it might be fifteen). That sort of thing.

    This report is actually representative of almost all Igbo groups. I’ve only put up one or two pages here but the anthropologist that wrote this report travelled throughout Igbo land for quite a number of years in order to garner all this information.

    Also, he did a previous similar report on the Bini Kingdom before being assigned to do Igbo land, so I would say that his stuff is pretty accurate. I am also in possession of his report on the Bini Kingdom and while it far smaller than the report on Igbo land (The Igbo report is six books long), by comparing the two it can be seen that the man has a penchant for extraordinary attention to detail and both reports are amazingly comprehensive. EVERY aspect of life is covered, even the process of having a bath during those times is described in utmost detail.

    How he even got anyone to allow him watch them taking a bath I don’t know, but somehow he did it.

    It’s pretty cool.

  7. mellowyel

    I have only one question: what did they use for contraception??? I mean, granted STDs weren’t as prevalent then as they are now, but this whole thing seems a little unsafe. What if the girl gets pregnant by her “friend”?

  8. sugabelly

    Oh yeah, I read about that. Well apparently there are certain plants that prevent conception and the girls generally avoid getting pregnant until they get their mbubu marks ( scarifications – will post pics) but after they get their marks if they get pregnant they just go to their husband’s house when they get married.

  9. ChinenyeN

    Really? Throughout all of Igboland? I have to say, I’m not at all familiar with that cultural practice. That’s not my understanding of how things work where I’m from, in regards to sexual matters.

    I’ll have to go and ask though, to confirm…

  10. sugabelly

    @ChinenyeN: this book was written in the 1800s. The culture has obviously died out everywhere which would explain why you are not aware of it and why I was not aware of it until I started doing research. Besides, even if any Igbos were still practicing it, the advent of HIV would have wiped it out permanently. Plus the missionaries told us that all our customs were from the Devil anyway.

  11. eccentricyoruba

    Sugabelly said: ‘Plus the missionaries told us that all our customs were from the Devil anyway.’

    thanks for bringing this up. it is not only the missionaries per say but colonialism in general. i wonder if i am the only one who has noticed that a sort of cultural exchange happened with colonisation. we accepted (or were forced to accept) some of their puritan ways. the problem is that now they appear to be more ahead than us, more open-minded while we are constantly regarded as backwards. i don’t know if that makes sense so i shall elaborate with examples. ok the first one will be what you have posted here, now promiscuity is looked at as ‘un-African’ as something ‘those white people do’. similarly some of the laws against homosexuality in colonised countries such as Senegal and India were written by the French and British respectively. the thing is that now the French and the British have changed (or are slowly changing) their opinions while we insist on following the laws the coloniser has left. another example is tattoos, my grandmother has tattoos but now i know some Nigerian parents who will beat their children if they see them with tattoos while these same tattoos are becoming more mainstream in the West. i don’t know if this makes much sense though.

  12. Gin

    The pics in those books are interesting, but remember it says in the beginning: Law and Custom of the Ibo of the Awka neighbourhood, S. Nigeria.

    And Igboland is VERY diverse!

  13. sugabelly

    @Gin: The report is in many parts. He broadly divided the written report into Akwa and Asaba but when you read through the entire report you’ll see that he says that he and a staff of people (I’m guessing this is his anthropological team) travelled throughout Igbo land in order to correspond their information. He then goes on primarily compare Awka and Asaba. You’ve only got ONE part. It’s a shitload of reading but if you have the time read the entire six books. It gives a much broader picture.

  14. Ijaw

    LOL! So much for the “It’s not African!” crap parrotted by clueless niggers back home. This should be printed in the national dailies back home, I’d like to see what those useless idiots who held the virginity pageant think about this(I think they should all be castrated and shot by the way!).

    You really have to give it to the colonizers (both Arab and European), they done a HELLUVA job on the black man! He’s almost totally useless now!

    We will go about championing outdated European and Arab customs instead of finding out where we’ve come from, why we are where we are now and where we should be going next!

    The only merciful thing that is sure to happen is that if we do not improve, we will be made extinct by nature. The “Creolization” of the black upper class all over the world is a sure sign of this. It’s only a matter of time before we in Africa follow suit. Anybody seen a picture of the Camerounian First Lady? It’s SPECTACULAR!LOL!

  15. sugabelly

    @Ijaw: I strongly oppose the use of the word ‘nigger’. Please don’t use it on my blog again. It’s bad enough that Black Americans say but we really don’t need to go there.

    That being said, you’re right about Africans over-championing outdated European and Arab customs.

    Talk about crying more than the bereaved.

    There’s actually a picture of Chantal Biya (the first lady of Cameroon) somewhere on my blog.

  16. Ijaw

    @Sugabelly: As you wish, it’s your blog!

    I will however say that pretending the word does not exist(or like some Black Americans, trying to make it “positive”) or censoring the word does not change the situation.

    We cannot escape that fact for now. We are viewed like that and have done little or nothing to change anybody’s viewpoint.

    I think your work on Igbo culture and writing is very interesting but it is a shame that all that work which has preserved an integral part of Igbo (and therefore Nigerian, African and Black ) culture has been done by someone else. We now need other people to tell us whom we really are.

    That for me isn’t the sad part. The sad part is that the ignorance and stupidity continues…

  17. Ijaw

    Just want to add that your work has and continues to inspire me. I think the Ndebe script was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a while! With people like you around, we, as a race, are not finished yet! 🙂

  18. ChinenyeN

    Hmm.. Sugabelly, do you mind sharing the names of those books? because I seriously do not believe that at all. Now, I can understand young, unmarried girls having more sexual freedom than married women, because they’re young and they’ll do it anyway regardless of what they’re being told… but my issue is with the “sexual license” part. As far as I know, Ngwa people (my people) observed, and still observe, a cultural code of silence in regards to sexual matters. So, sexual matters were/are typically not to be discussed, especially to and/or by the adolescents. Likewise, Ngwa adolescents were/are culturally expected to not express themselves sexually. Doing so would label them as morally decedent, because sexual expression by adolescents was/is considered deviant, in Ngwa. Yet, the adolescents (both male and female) still actively had sex. So the sex part I can understand, but I don’t believe that all Igbo observed a culture of “sexual license”, particularly among females, in which young girls were allowed and permitted to have active sex lives.

    In regards to this: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QVW98iGMXHI/SiI6-Wh5qCI/AAAAAAAAI9o/Xmth1BISypU/s1600-h/igbo+clip2.png
    I’m not sure we (Ngwa) even have that practice. The reason I say this is because, I take it that, if we did, it would be expressed in our dialect. An example of what I mean is how northern Igbo areas have developed both Oyi and Enyi to indicate two different, but related concepts.

    Anyway, I really would like the names of those books, if you don’t mind sharing them with me.

  19. Riah

    Have you read ‘Afrikan matriarchal foundations: the Igbo case’ by Ifi Amadiume? You seem to be thinking in much the same direction as that author.

  20. GamineGirlie

    I came across an article which said, Women were even allowed to marry women..(edo, ibibio tribes) though not in the lesbian way, but if they werent able to have children of their own..there were so many forms of engagement back then, it wasnt just all about Man marries woman and then children

    thanks for this

  21. Nwakaego

    Hello, I know this post is over ten years old, but I just read it and your rant post and I am awed. I completely share your sentiments on our unintentional rejection of our ancestors humanity and I’m beginning research on Igbo aesthetics and I’ve started looking at museum pictures but I would also love to utilize written sources. If you still have your book list could you possibly share it with me? Or do you think I would be able to find them in the Africana libraries of major universities? Thank you for your time ?

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