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

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

“By tradition seats are reserved at the far end of the courtyard opposite the Obi for the titled women of the Inland Town, but at this moment no women are sitting there. However, while we watch the division of meat, Onitsha women (and men) in various styles of dress are continuously walking back and forth across the yard on their way to or from the Obi’s private chambers, where the corpse is now on view.

As part of this procession, now the Onitsha “Ivory Association” (Otu-odu), an elite group of modern-titled women, led by their patron Chinyelugo Etukokwu, appear through the entry archway.

The male patrons, all Ozo-titled men, carrying their iconic elephant-ivory horns (Okwuodu), enter the public chamber; above right, they turn to witness the entry of the Otu-Odu (Ivory Association), women who wear conspicuous, massive elephant ivory bracelets, the most senior women of the group dressed in white robes and burdened with very large, heavy ivory anklets, and necklaces of large red pipestones. Notice the Acolyte who approaches at far right, holding an ornate fan in his right hand.”

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

Onitsha, 1961.

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