This photograph captures a scene from the ‘horse funeral’ performed by an Afikpo man named Oteleri. The eldest son of his late father, Oteleri had become gravely ill after his father’s death.
By the aid of a ‘dibia’ (diviner) it was discovered that his illness was a sign of the displeasure of his late father’s spirit over his failure to complete the necessary funeral rites. This ‘horse funeral’, which was often performed years after a loved-one’s death, was soon after completed to placate his father’s restless spirit.
Photo: Simon Ottenberg, circa 1952.