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

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

"You will note that, around all the banks of the chamber, men sit bareheaded under a glaring sun — in this court, only the Obi might wear a cap (except on the occasion when he ritually bestowed one upon a new chief). The two most senior chiefs wear robes of white, while all the others (except for the butchers, clad in short pants and undershirts) are dressed in the brilliantly colored gowns (made of expensive cloth from Akwete in the Igbo hinterlands, of Kente from Ghana, or spectacularly decorated materials imported from England and the Continent) which constitute the standard “dress suits” (agbada) of tradition-oriented Onitsha men. Since every indigene is entitled to a share of the meat, and since shares vary systematically according to social status, some individuals from each set of participants are watching the division jealously to ensure that it is entirely customary. As I watch, the ranking chiefs and lesser chiefs argue over how some of the goods are being allocated, their voices rising in indignation."

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

Onitsha, 1961.



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