Ofo: the tangible and intangible heritage of the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria

Ajaebili, Nnamdi C. and Eze, Okonkwo C. and Omeje, Paul U. (2020) Ofo: the tangible and intangible heritage of the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria. The International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 15. pp. 104-113. ISSN 1975-3586

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The ofo is made from a tree known as detarium elastica. Among the Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria, it is the material and mystical symbol of truth, purity, justice and authority. The fundamental principle inherent in the institution of ofo is that right is might; right here is defined as justice. Through the institution or cult of ofo, the traditional Igbo defend and apply this principle in their personal and social relations, ofo is thus the defender of the innocent. The weak can also be protected by this principle, but only if they are innocent, that is, if they have ogu on their side. This gave rise, in Igbo cosmology, to the twin principle of ofo-na-ogu (justice and innocence) which is the foundation of all the basic moral principles in Igbo traditional ethics, such as truth, justice, innocence, uprightness and moral purity. The purpose of this essay is to survey the mundane and spiritual dimensions of the age-old ofo institution which has been a bedrock in the sustenance of traditional Igbo society but which, unfortunately, is fast losing its relevance among some so-called ‘modern’ Igbo.

Item Type: Article
Cultural Property: Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria
Keywords: ofo, ofo-na-ogu, truth, justice, purity, authority, spiritual and mundane dimensions, Igbo of South-eastern Nigeria, detarium elastica, odu-atu, Ala, Christianity, colonialism, social practices, rituals and festive events (ICH domain)
Subjects: B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 01 Generalities
B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 05 Social practices, rituals and festive events
L Geographic areas > 01 Africa
Depositing User: Mr Jose García Vicente
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 22:41
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 22:41
URI: http://culturainmaterial.es/id/eprint/76

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