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Oke Osisi Adago (A Mighty Tree Has Fallen) Part II

Oke Osisi Adago (A Mighty Tree Has Fallen) Part II

“On this day the king’s high throne (partly visible at far left in the image to the left) is empty and unadorned. Upon entering the courtyard, We find that the three cows have already been sacrificed, their heads decorating a space before the throne. These heads (and the skins and forelegs of the animals) are set aside for the Obi’s sons, to be divided among the immediate descent group, which had provided the beasts.

Seated on the bench immediately left of the throne, Chugbo the Akwue occupies the traditional space reserved for the Lesser Chiefs (Ndichie-Okwaraeze), He is the only representative of the Lesser Chiefs currently occupying this, their designated location, though others of this group are discussing meat division in the far side of the courtyard.

As the Prime Minister (Onowu) greets me from across the courtyard, inquiring why I am so late (I later learned that I could have blamed Byron, whose overprotective control over my schedule had produced this error in timing), men (at left) crouch in the brilliant sunlight of mid-courtyard, busy carving the meat of the three sacrificed cows and placing it on mats of banana leaves, to be divided for distribution to Ndi-Onicha. (The man in blue trousers to the left is Douglas Molokwu, a member of Ogbeotu who helped me in my research, assisting one of the hired workers to dissect one animal’s ribs.) By custom, the ribs of an animal are to be divided equally among the six Senior Chiefs (Ndichie-Ume).) The Prime Minister receives the heart, liver, and two hind legs as well. Two hind legs and the hips are shared among the remaining Chiefs (Ndichie), and the Daughters and Wives of Onitsha share the Waist parts. The rest is divided among the Ozo-titled and untitled men.”

—Richard Neal Henderson, “Obi Okosi II Death and Burial”,

Onitsha, 1961.



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