DOI: https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2019.3(161).171815

Death in Igbo African ontology

Socrates Ebo

Abstract


Death is man’s ultimate challenge. It is his ultimate puzzle. It is at the center of man’s quest for the meaning of his existence. Different cultures at various eras have approached death from their gamut of meanings. The Igbo African society like other cultures in the world have confronted death in their attempt to philosophically give meaning to their experiences. Ndigbo like the majority of the human race, have refused to accept the finality of death. No. Man shouldn’t just disappear. Among the Ndigbo, death is a continuum. The dead continue to live in the memory and activities of the community. Their status in the land of the dead, which by the way is not far removed from the community depends on how well they had lived and how well their progeny had discharged their duties towards them, especially by according them a befitting burial. In the Igbo ontology, the society is the center of existence. Even in the world of the dead, the dead exist for the society. They must continue to bid well for the community by granting it favorable auspices from the gods. Even when the dead don’t make it into the comity of the ancestors, they don’t just disappear. They hang around the community, causing great nuisances to their immediate family and the community at large. When the Igbo dies, he does not desire to be united to any god in any heaven nor to be punished by any demon in a hellfire. His being is essentially defined as “being with the community”. This work x-rays t the Igbo unique way of approaching death, relying on library research, oral traditions and interviews, direct observations of the community’s customs in practice and analyses of lived experiences in the community. It aims at bringing out distinctly in philosophical formation, the uniquely Igbo conceptualization of death as it relates to the meaning of life.

Keywords


Death; quest for the meaning of his existence; Igbo African society; Igbo conceptualization of death

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References


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Ameh, G. (2017, August 7). What new DNA test result reveals about Igbos, Jews. Daily Post. Retrieved from http://dailypost.ng/2017/08/07/new-dna-test-result-reveals-igbos-jews/ (In English).

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GOST Style Citations


Achebe Chinua. Things Fall Apart. London: Heinemann, 1986.

 

Ameh G. What new DNA test result reveals about Igbos, Jews. Daily Post. 2017, August 7. URL: http://dailypost.ng/2017/08/07/new-dna-test-result-reveals-igbos-jews/.

 

Anuolam C. Igbo Value and Care for Life. Pamplona, 1993. URL: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/83562852.pdf.

 

Anyanwu C. The meaning of ultimate reality in Igbo cultural experience. Ultimate Reality and Meaning. 1988. Pp. 84-101.

 

Chukwuelobe Matthew. Language and Igbo philosophy: Towards an Igbo Phenomenology of language. Philosophy Today. 1995. Vol. 39, Issue 1, Spring. Pp. 25-30. DOI: 10.5840/philtoday199539128.

 

Egudu R. African Poetry of the Living Dead: Igbo Masquerade Poetry. Edwin Mellen Press, 1992.

 

Ezeh P. The Ekwensu semantics and the Igbo Christian theolinguistics. International Journal of Research in Arts and Social Sciences. 2012. 4: 501-508. URL: https://academicexcellencesociety.com/book_critique.pdf.

 

Forest T. The Advance of African Capital: The Growth of Nigerian Private Enterprise. Edinburgh University Press for the International African Institute, 1994.

 

Ikechukwu N. The living-dead (ancestors) among the Igbo-African people: An interpretation of Catholic sainthood. International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology. 2017. 9(4). pp. 35-42. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5897/IJSA2017.0719.

 

Ikwuemesi Chuu Krydz & Onwuegbuna Ikenna Emmanuel. Creativity in calamity: Igbo funeral as interface of visuality and performance. Continuum. 2018. 32:2, 184-200. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10304312.2017.1391176.

 

Isichei Elizabeth. Voices of the Poor in Africa. (Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora.) Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2002. P. 81.

 

Kalu P. Anioma: We are Igbos of western Nigeria. eTimes. 2017, August 3. URL: https://etimes.com.ng/anioma-igbos-western-nigeria/.

 

Leonard A. The Lower Niger and its Tribes. London: Frank Cass, 1968.

 

Lovejoy P. Trans-Atlantic Dimensions of Ethnicity in the African Diaspora. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003. pp. 92-93.

 

Miller F. G. Death and organ donation: back to the future. Journal of Medical Ethics. October 2009. 35 (10): 616-620. DOI: 10.1136/jme.2009.030627.

 

Mwakikagile G. African Countries: An Introduction with Maps. Continental Press, 2006.

 

Myers F. Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. New York: Longman, 1903. 416 p.

 

Nwoga D. Nka na Nzere: The Focus of Igbo World. Ahiajoku Lecture, Owerri: Culture Division, Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, 1984.

 

Ogbonna O. Individual Freedom in African Communalism: An Inquiry. 2009. URL: http://www.unn.edu.ng/publications/files/images/OGBONNA,%20OBIORA%20B.pdf.

 

Olaudah E. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Knapp, 1837. pp. 20-21.

 

Onochie O. Are Igbo the lost black Jewish tribe? The Guardian. 2015, September 25. URL: https://guardian.ng/features/are-igbo-the-lost-black-jewish-tribe/.

 

Rucker W. The River Flows on: Black Resistance, Culture, and Identity Formation in Early America. LSU Press, 2006.

 

Religion and Human Enhancement: Death, Values, and Morality / Trothen T. & Mercer C. (Eds). London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62488-4.

 

Veeranah R., Cornell B., Pour N. et al. Little genetic differentiation as assessed by uniparental markers in the presence of substantial language variation in peoples of the Cross River region of Nigeria. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2010. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2148-10-92.

 

Zahan D. The Religion, Spirituality, and Thought of Tradition. Chicago, 1877.






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