Observations of an Invisible Woman

The Igbo’s of Nigeria

Igbo Village

Igbo man with religious scarification

My quest for self-discovery lead me to south-eastern Nigeria. We are Igbo, a branch of the Niger/ Congo family. The Igbo may be grouped into the following main cultural divisions: northern (Onitsha), southern (Owerri), western (Ika), eastern (Cross River), and northeastern (Abakaliki). Before European colonization, the Igbo were not united as a single people but lived in autonomous local communities. Most of them were carpenters and farmers growing crops designated to them by gender. The men were responsible for yams and the women were responsible for cassava, pumpkins and peppers. Did you know that the Igbo’s are one of the largest distributors of palm oil?

Land is owned communally and crops are shared amongst everyone with their village. Igbo’s believe in an Almighty Creator which they call, Chukwu, and his female companion, Ala the Earth Goddess, who sends Spiritual descendants to protect and watch over the living. Many of them now practice some form of Christianity although there is a sect of Hebrew Israelites who claim ancestry to the son of Jacob. They worship in synagogues and speak “Original Hebrew”, their Mother Tongue.

In roughly the 17th-18th century, the Igbo’s were captured by the Portuguese and sent via slave ships to the many islands in the Caribbean and south America. Once there, they harvested crops and eventually married and spawned children with another indigenous group of Melaninated Peoples: The Arawak’s. From the islands, they were transported by Colon’s men to Maryland and Virginia to work in the cotton fields. A rebellious group, they fought back and often committed suicide in defiance of their condition.

Under the practice of polygamy many Igbo men have more than one wife. The general rule is to never marry a woman and spawn children that you cannot support. This involves providing farm plots to help the women and their dependents make a living. Beyond that unit is the extended family, consisting of all the sons in a family and their parents, wives, and unmarried daughters. The extended family may have anywhere from five to thirty members. Ideally, all of the members of the extended family live in one large compound.

Do you think you could have such a life? One rooted in polygamy?

Here are some Igbo words that we still use today in Creole (island and Louisiana/ Southern states) or Ameriklan Black English:

Ama/ Ima = I’m gonna or I am. “Ama go to the market.”

Redbone = A light skinned person. ” I only like redboned women.”

Okwuru = Okra. The vegetable that makes Gumbo.

Unu = Y’all or You all. “Unu wait and see.” (Unu can also be traced to Yoruba)

When I discovered that a certain man I’m lusting after and I have the same lineage, I prayed that we were not related:

My future husband…if he’s not my cousin

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30 thoughts on “The Igbo’s of Nigeria

  1. How about the word: Red Ebo- Red Ebo meaning red skinned, light skinned African person. I remember back in School in the caribbean I was nick named red ibo and didn’t know the word is from our people Igbo. As for Polygamy you explained it very well, it came about when the women needed help to harvest the fields, and back then the man was the bread winner. Women needed protection and so that was the way of life. Read the the book “The spirit of Intimacy” by Sobonfu Some, who imparts ancient frican teachings in the ways of relationships.

  2. mary burrell on said:

    Chiwetel Ejiofor is a very talented brother. Very smooth. He has swagger for days. Love all of his movies. I concur with you Sister Negress Chiwetel is the truth.

  3. Charmain

    Excellent! Yes, that too is a derivative of redbone. I especially liked the fact that the husband helped the extended family to survive and they all owned equal parts to the farmland.

    Thanks for the book recommendation.

  4. Miss Mary


    I can stare at him for days.

  5. Love his eyes soclean and clear.

  6. To paraphrase Cuba Gooding Jr in Boyz N The Hood: Y’all go’on and do that incest thang. lol…the Egyptians did it, so why not? lol..

  7. love that they take care of each other and live close and share their crops.i couldn’t do the polygamy thing though.I just like the fact you’d have other women to help with the chores and children but i don’t want someone else sleepin with my man lol.I’m like if you having other women then let me have other men.I can’t have a man going from one bed to the other on different nights. I’d be like no get away from me i saw you over there with her last night get these other women to have your babies because i’m not, greedy somma bich.

  8. larissa on said:

    @ms i agree i too would find it hard. then again maybe if we had never come in contact with the european’s version of love and romance, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  9. soforeal on said:

    would love to meet the igbo’s one day a long with the jarawa’s they are one of my favorite tribes.

  10. Sincere on said:

    Can anyone help with a place or site that I could get legit DNA tracing on my ancestry?

  11. Sincere

    Do not do it. It’s a trap designed for tracking down your bloodline and isolating your genes/ bloodline.

    This is how whites create DNA specific bioweapons.

  12. Amarie on said:

    That man is a great actor, but him playing the role of drag queen Lola in “Kinky Boots” made me think of the post on The Feminization of the Black Male posted by Negress. It does seem most black male actors are forced to play that role at some point in their career.

  13. Amarie on said:

    I agree if we hadn’t taken the ways of the european, I think most of the sistas could deal with the situation and the children would have a father in the home.

  14. honeytreebee on said:

    They may not be able to find your tribe(s) anyway beacuse some of the tribes that were taken only exist here not. This is the case of the black lady astronaut Jemmson they can’t find her any of her African tribes. Also, they are not that accurate in that they still have problems giving you accurate ratios of your mix because they are using genes that are most prevelant in that group of people. The problem is that Africans contain all of the genes for all of the humans on earth. So, how can you really tell for sure anyway.

  15. Sincere on said:

    Thank you Truth & HoneyTreeBee. One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to trace my roots outside this racist terrain: the south, USA. The next step was to then change my name because I don’t wanna die as property. These “american” names is just that, “a property of,”tag. Y’all stopped a major mistake & even more confusion from happening. I guess outside my knowledge of my family tree I should let it go. Damn, the DISCONNECT is just that. It’s situations like this that infuriate me.

  16. Hi Sincere, what a great discussion post! Sincere, if you are still a bit curious as to at least get idea of what tribes you originate from, might I suggest going to the website http://www.dnaancestryproject.com : )

  17. Hi Everyone, what a great discussion post! Sincere, if you are still a bit curious as to at least get idea of what tribes you originate from, might I suggest going to the website http://www.dnaancestryproject.com : )

  18. Leviqueen on said:

    Great post. The prophesy of Duet 28 is about us, proud to be Hebrew! I am closer to the Mist High because of this truth.

  19. Yaaay I’m Igbo lol.

  20. Tyrone on said:


    Have you ever checked out the website africanancestry.com, which helps blacks in the US and beyond research their maternal and paternal african roots. The org was founded in 2003 by Dr. Rick Kittles and Gina Paige in Washington, DC. Interested sistas and brothas who would like to know which part of Africa they hail from should check out the site. As for polygamy, we might have to go there, being brutally honest with you Sis. All of the violence, disease, and other ish that’s killing us. Is it the best course of action in today’s world, Who Knows? I’m not a true believer when it comes to the Christian view of relationships either. Black women have to decide if polygamy is something they would deal with or not. Blackmen have no say in the convo.


  21. I read the below and it ties into what you stated above about the DNA testing:

    “The pollution and the increasing levels of CO2 is a residual problem from the old collonizer races, wanting to change Earth into a non-oxygen planet. A plan which has been abandoned and instead the strategic game is not to alter our planet, but to capture, withhold and harvest as much higher DNA as possible.

    All DNA holds lineages and connections to all the original systems in the reversed areas. Some of them is less reversed than others, and some holds lineages outside the pitted areas, holding high quanta of CTE. If a holder of higher DNA strands is kept in the overall pool of beings in one specific density and area, such as Earth, the whole consciousness field can be extended for a certain period of time…”


  22. nmaat

    Thanks for that link. So they want all the “air” for themselves, eh? I hope Mother Nature finds a Final Solution for them.

  23. Suffice it to say it’s not going to work. We will all ascend to where we need to be. Here’s another good site. I apologize if this is old hat for some of you. I’m like a kid with a new toy…lol…I’m sure a lot of you know this stuff already, but for those who are not familiar..


  24. It would be so healing if the descendants of former slaves knew where we really came from, who our people were, re-connected with them face to face AND

    changed our slave names (something I’m thinking about doing)

    I believe slavery for most of us is as much a spiritual legacy as it is a economic or cultural legacy

    and by holding on to our slave names, we are locked into a slave tradition that poisons each successive generation

    unfortunately, the slave owners — past AND present — have done EVERYTHING possible to make sure that most of us want little to nothing to do with Africa OR Africans

    because we will spend thousands of dollars to travel to Europe to see European culture and be surrounded by more Europeans

    instead of enriching ourselves AND our African brothers and sisters in our true homeland

    I’m not blaming the victims for our choices, we have been brainwashed

    just making an observation

  25. Yes, there definitely is a lot of people who overlook places like Africa-mainly because it practically never shown on television (and other media outlets) in a positive light. I think the same could be said for Middle Eastern tourism as well..

  26. Tyrone on said:

    @Trojan Pam

    Blacks outside of Africa are the only ones that don’t care about their homeland, everybody else does…Europeans, Arabs, Asians, etc. Our benchwarming is allowing other races to exploit and maximize the resources and culture of Africa, we should be the ones making money from “Mother Africa.” Ignorance of our history is killing us Queen. As for identity, blackwomen should give their children african first names as a start on the road to further enlightenment. It may not seem that important, but it is. We can’t continue walking around with slave names, and this goes for spanish and west-indian blacks as well…Ditto!


  27. but what about our last names?

  28. This brotha is sooo deep…the origins of the word nigger…it’s not what you have been taught…


  29. Umoja on said:

    I never knew why men would call me “red-bone” here in the States. I always thought it was the noticeable red undertone under my skin from my Native American (Wetumpka tribe) ancestry … I mean Native Americans were referred as ,”red men”…..learn something every day here.

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