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In Nigeria, Being a Slave Descendant is an Impediment to Love
Category :- Culture & Society Author :- L J KINGAH 
Posted on September 14, 2020, 12:00 am
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News in the 21st century that love relationships and marriages are still denied by families of the concern in Southeastern Nigeria, Igbo has raised alarm following the tragic death of a pair in Nigeria who killed themselves earlier this month as homage to Romeo and Juliet. They took the drastic step after they were forbidden by their parents from getting married due a slave descendants’ trace.


According to yahoo!news, “The lovers, who had been of their early thirties, hailed from Okija in south-eastern Anambra state, the place slavery was formally abolished within the early 1900s, as in the remainder of the nation, by the UK, Nigeria’s colonial ruler on the time.”

By native tradition, the many Igbo ethnic groups who inherited the standing of their ancestors are forbidden from marrying “freeborn”.

The latest victims of this stigma who chose death over life in separation left a heart-whelming letter. The letter has however sparked global reactions on social media and various social groups.

Slave Descendants Stigma

Part of the letter read, “They’re saying we won’t get married all due to an historic perception.”

“God created everybody equally so why would human beings discriminate simply due to the ignorance of our forefathers,” the letter further rhetorically questions.

It is traumatic enough because most of these relationships are sometimes derailed when they are already getting ready for wedding ceremonies, after a long-term dating. This is when parents step in to instruct their children to not have anything to do with their partners, the outcasts.

Though parents’ urge is sometimes met with defiance and hesitancy, stress from them and other siblings often quickly wear out some victims. This causes unhealthiness, a lot of damage, and pains as many eventually see reasons to break up and be others left heartbroken.

Chinua Achebe

Reports have equally revealed that marriage is just one barrier faced by slave descendants in this part of Nigeria. They are also banned from positions of conventional management, elite teams, and are sometimes shortlisted from working for political workplace and in parliamentary representation of their respective communities.

Most of these slave descendants rapidly embrace the introduction of Christianity and formal schooling because they are pushed by ostracism. Though some of them are among the many most affluent of their communities having obtained a lot they are still given inferior treatment.

Slave Descendants among the many Igbo tribes are in two essential classes, the Ohu and the Osu. “The Ohu’s ancestors had been owned by people, whereas the Osu’s had been owned by gods – individuals devoted to neighborhood shrines.” the yahoo!news explained.

Meantime, Ugo Nwokeji a professor of African research on the College of California, Berkeley has indicated that Osu is worse than slavery,” Nwokeji, a professor of African research on the College of California. According to him, missionaries are the ones who wrongly categorize the osu as slaves.

Nigeria: Slave Descendants Stigma

“Slaves may transcend slavery and have become slave masters themselves however, the osu’s for generations unborn may by no means transcend that.” Prof Ugo Nwokeji has said, reported yahoo!news.

Reports show that many Igbo couples come throughout such discrimination. But from schooling or financial development, they are not hindered.

For fear that many may continue to go through this same stigma, victims are urging that since these laws affecting them are influence by men, they should sit down and remake the foundations for a positive change.

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Tagged Keywords: ohu, igbo, osu, outcast
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