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    1. #1
      JrFem's Avatar
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      Anaforuana? Ekpe?


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      Does anyone know about these two things?

      Anaforuana is the writing, or symbols

      and Ekpe is the society/religion

      I'd like to know more about these, thanks.
      -jennia
      "forward ever"

    2. #2
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
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      I know Ekpe as a type of Masquerade, like Egungun or Gelede. Masquerades are part public/ part private festivals that involve priests or priests in training in elaborate outfits to concel identity. The dancer is most often possessed during which time he may address an community inequity, even that of the royal family or the most beloved elder. Most masquerades are designed to: (1)honor a particular Divinity (2)inspire a particular behavior (3)discourage through embarassment and exaggerated enactment negative behaviors. Messages are conveyed during the festivals and people get insight into their spiritual and social development. There are blessings for children and business etc. A spiritual grouping, society or order care for a particular kind of masquerade and perform community, and private ritual through the masquerade as needed. They are close and share spiritual sciences among themselves.

      I will need to search or ask for particulars of Ekpe.
      All is Well. Workin' Hard - Tryin' to Save Time for Fam. Check in Periodically.

    3. #3
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
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      what i could find:

      ===================
      EKPE FESTIVAL

      Ekpe is celebrated in the villages in the Ikuwuano
      Local Government area of Abia State every market day fro the 1st to the 15th of January. It is an ancestral thanksgiving that culminates in the sacrificial goat ceremony when the masquerade must cut off the head of the goat with one strike of the matchet. Failure to accomplish this brings odium and sadness to the villagers. It involves three days of dance and all kinds of merriment

      ======================

      the cult of Mgbala Ekpe, a masquerade which carries out judicial and law enforcement functions.

      According to Mazi Okereke, the Ekpe masquerade in the old oracle represented authority where villages or individuals at war and other forms of conflict came to the Ekpe fraternity to resolve the issues. The white cloth or palm frond heading is often the symbol of authority and when involved must be obeyed or "the offender will face the wrath of the gods."

      ======================
      Ekpe Festival Of The Ngwas

      Among the Igbo of Nigeria, there is a wealth of cultural heritage manifested in ceremonies connected with marriages, births, farming and myriad of other social institutions. These cultural activities contain the germs of rich poetry and prose, excellent music and lively drama which have not been raised far above their traditional level.

      The Ekpe festival, an action-packed festival with songs and dance, is one of such cultural events, and is very popular among the Ngwa of Igboland. It is also widely celebrated in neighbouring areas such as the old Umuahia and Owerri provinces. As a festival, Ekpe is celebrated yearly because it is an important cultural event in the life of the people being the culmination of their year rites. Its roots are deep in traditional religion and ritual.

      It is only a tragic event such as the death of a village hero, or permission from the gods that can stop the staging of Ekpe. (Ekpe festival takes place on Eke day. It is preceded by a free-for-all night of dancing and rehearsals for drummers, dancers, chorus leaders and their choric groups. On Eke day, many choric groups perform, ranging from groups of elderly men or women to children's groups.

      But the most important of all these groups is the one comprising men drawn from different quarters of the village who accompany the masquerade dancer and chief actor. Before noon on Eke day, this group rouses the village and begins the series of a circular movement designed to take them to the village square and out of it. It is led by a choric leader who, in the Greek sense, is the epheboi. The epheboi sings in praise of the village ancestors, especially those of them who had been chief actors, soliciting their blessings for the current chief actor and the village. Other choric groups of young men, women and children perform in the village square. They tour the village with the main drummers and not with the chief actor.

      This participation by these minor choric groups add up to the communal significance of Ekpe. The only staging device of Ekpe is the "Arena staging" in its most traditional form. There is no raised platform for the chief actor or the drummers. Everybody is on the same level, including the spectators who have to peep over a forest of heads to see what is going on in the innermost circle enclosing the chief actor and masquerade dancer. It is significant that the old village shrine forms a background for the stage, with the drummers backing it and the chief actor facing it. It reminds one of the traditional Attic theatre thousands of years ago.

      The dance movements of Epe are the vehicles of plot advancement. The entry dance leads the chief actor to his ancestral shrine where he obtains blessings for a successful day's performance. The second dance movement is the climax of Ekpe. It marks the critical stage of the performance, and it is here that the chief actor's role as a communal representative becomes clear.

      As the music changes from "aja" into a more vigorous type, a sharpened knife is handed over to him. The chief guide admonishes him that "the village looks on to you." When the actor takes the knife, he moves round and round the sacrificial goat tied to a peg on the sacrificial spot trying to make a decision. He re-enacts an ancient sacrifice by their forebears during which a human being is sacrificed to the gods. After the chief actor has taken so many tours round the goat, he appears to make up his mind.

      He waits for the opportunity for the goat to stretch its neck, a propitious movement. All of a sudden, he takes a stance, bends and rises - the sacrifice is done. The head of the goat is thrown up to show the audience amid volleys of gunshots and wild ecstasy. The sacrifice has been successful and the village can expect increase in crops, livestock and children during the coming year. As in most traditional African ceremonies, the costumes used for Ekpe are very colourful indeed. The chief actor wears a white net-like mask covering from head to ankles.

      He carries a wooden figure of Ngwu on his head. Ngwu is one of the deities of Alumerechi. He is the symbol of traditional strength and power. The Ufo-bearer carries a magical concoction believed to destroy the power of charMs. His costume consists of tattered rags and he smears his body with charcoal. Some comic asides are provided by the bow-man who carries a bow and some arrows and frightens the audience as he pretends to shoot into it. He looks funny with his white and black face and charcoal-smeared body. The element of disguise is very strong in Ekpe. Young boys usually disguise themselves as young girls by wearing ladies' dresses.

      The trick is so exquisitely done that a spectator cannot find out the truth. Young ladies simply cover their breasts with broad cloth exhibiting the intricate design of the tattoo on their skin. They wear large beads around their waits and their hair-do is strictly cultural. Within the Ekpe cycle, there are ceremonies, such as Ogbom dance, which are comparable to rural dionysia, or the Lesser Dionysia, or the Dionysia or the fields which were held in many country districts of Africa when the harvest had been completed in December each year, as a festival of dedication and thanksgiving to the fertility god for the first fruits of the year. Ogbom also resembles the Lenea festival of fifth-century Greece because the ceremony is a platform for competition in choric verse. These festivals do not have any tragic overtones.

      It is the comic or the satirical that dominate. Ekpe itself is like the Greek city Dionysia during which visitors from all parts of the world visited Athens. Like the city Dionysia, Ekpe enjoys communal participation. Both occasions are dedicated to fertility gods. But whereas Ekpe appears an odd mixture of serious and comic elements, the city Dionysia is performed on one place, that of religious ritual dedication. In movement, Ekpe follows closely the three ritualistic movements of the Greek chorus. The entry movement of Ekpe could be regarded as the Greek prologues, the sacrificial movement, its stamina, and the exit movement, the Greek exodus, the three stages in the primary act of religious ritual. Ekpe as dance-drama stands in dire need of structural reconstruction to lift it above the level of traditional art.

      Copyright © 2001 Post Express.
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    4. #4
      IfasehunReincarnated's Avatar
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      what we can gather from these passages is that Ekpe is similiar to what Egungun and Gelede are. Gelede does all these things of behavior modification, healing, law enforcement and festivities, but in honor of the Collective Mothers of the Earth. Egungun does these for the Collective Ancestors.

      Ekpe seems to have some Ancestral connections too. But I can't be compeletely convinced at this point. It is definately associated with our sister and brother the Igbo.
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    5. #5
      JrFem's Avatar
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      Thanks for the information. I've been looking more into writing systems of African cultures, and the ekpe, the traditions of the secret society, have produced one of the most interesting symbol system. well, i'm drawn to it.

      I was wondering if you can direct me towards more information on Veve's and such from vodou, which may be connected to ekpe and anaforuana(writing), and Nsibidi(writing), and abakua(secret society).
      -jennia
      "forward ever"

    6. #6
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      i am working on something that will reference nsibidi. but i have to warn you that your efforts will be practically fruitless. most writing systems in afrika were for elder an used to store sacred information. some of these languages still exist, but they will never be released to the public. never. as far as Ekpe, Oro, Egungun, Gelede, Ogboni, Iyaami or any other "secret society" sharing the meat of their content is a crime by their members. We have loads of info on their intent, as they serve to heal and educate the public, but process ....well, if you are drawn to Ekpe as a society or any other you have only one option, decide that you believe in the indigenous spiritual systems of the Igbo and Yoruba and go their to be initiated into one of these socieities. If even there 30 volumes of information on them you would never understand it without direct contact with those spirits. Or you would hurt yourself. This is the reason for some information not be divulved to the public. The term "secret society" does not exist in any African context.
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    7. #7
      JrFem's Avatar
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      I understand.

      My interest is because, I want a writing system, one that wasn't created by a person in the 1900's reacting to Europeans, but something more ancient, and everything "more ancient" has this sacredness to it. But what about a public written language?

      I just thought it would be a good addition to the spoken languages which we should learn, but also a written one. We romanitize so many languages, why cant we africanize them instead, but many alphabets are symbols, I like the adinkra characters, but they only go so far, and they are just symbolic representation of stories and proverbs. We could speak that way, but it would be too complicated.

      So far, i'm concentrating on learning more about the Mande systems of western africa, and particuallarly King Njoya's, of the cameroon area, written language - Shu-mom. He wanted to do alot for his people, and his language speaks to me as well as nsibidi and anaforuana.

      But i do run into the, you just can't coopt a language and not perform some sacrilege act. Hence, why i wanted more information on it, but i dont want to use something that everyone would have to change religions to accept. I want to use languages of revolution, spoken and written, that all may use. So far, i pick shu-mom, but I might have to ask the current royal family. but, who knows. I just might.
      -jennia
      "forward ever"

    8. #8
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      For the record, the adinkra system goes much further than you know. But I understand your sentiment. But understand all african written languages were fairly sacred.

      Which goes to emphasize the point: You can't reclaim part of your Africanity.
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    9. #9
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      how far does adinkra go?
      -jennia
      "forward ever"

    10. #10
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      i know that adinkra can be used in divination. if thats the case then certain philosophical information has to be linked to each, beyond just a one sentence meaning. divination has to be pretty exhaustive. a simple one sentence meaning wouldnt suffice.

      my understanding is that there are really several hundred kinds of adinkra and again logic would say there is a reason why they arent readily available, since ashanti culture is strong. my if it can be used in divination then there is probably a written language that goes along with it. and in that case many combined would equal an african form of sentence.
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    11. #11
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      good one. bump
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    12. #12
      Ajaguna's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by JrFem
      Does anyone know about these two things?

      Anaforuana is the writing, or symbols

      and Ekpe is the society/religion

      I'd like to know more about these, thanks.
      As you probably know Anaforuana is connected to the Abakua of Cuba which draw their origins from the Efik and Ejagham of Nigeria. There is this White Cuban anthropologist who took an interest to our traditions in Cuba named Lydia Cabrera who has a book on Anaforuana. It's in Spanish, and I don't know how informational it will be as the Abakua is a "secret society" of only Afrikan males and she is a white female. But you might do some research on the Efik and Ejagham. From what I understand the writing system (nsibidi) there is public, though certain elements of it are reserved for ritual.

    13. #13
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      Here is something I found:

      The Nsibidi (Nsibiri) script (Nigeria and Cameroon).

      'This script was invented by the Ejagham people of southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon. The exact time of its invention is not known. Some sources say that sibidi means "cruel" in Ejagham; other sources say it means "bloodthirsty", while yet others say it means "magic". What is clear is that it is a mysterious script used only by secret societies and the rich and powerful. The ideographs represent life among the Ejagham and illustrate how advanced and culturally rich they were.

      There were three types of nsibidi. First, there were common signs that were not secret or mystical-signs representing human relationships and communication. Then there were the "dark signs" representing danger and extremity and these were often black. The colors black and white were used to represent death and freshness respectively. Finally, there were the nsibiri or the very important signs of rank and ritual which were secret and known only by priests and initiates.

      Nsibidi signs may be carved on calabashes, painted on walls, printed on cloth or painted or tattooed on the human body.

      The cruel slave trade transported a lot of people from Nigeria and Cameroon who took their Nsibidi secrets with them. Today, nsibidi is still widely used by Cuban blacks and called anaforuana and used by such secret societies as the Abakua.'

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      Something else:

      Victor Ekpuk is Brandeis University’s visiting Artist-in-Residence during October 2004. Along with other Nigerian artists, including Obiora Udechukwa, Ekpuk has incorporated the signifying forms of the semi-secret writing system known as nsibidi, important in the ritual and aesthetic traditions of the Ejagham people of southwestern Cameroon and the Efik, Ibibio and southern Igbo peoples of southeastern Nigeria.Nsibidi plays critical roles in many secret societies of the region, including the Ekpe (leopard) society, and informs the anaforuana script of Afro-Cuban religious practice. Like secrets elsewhere, the signs of nsibidi hover between openness and opaqueness, calling tantalizing attention to their own indecipherability and hinting at mysteries beyond the realms of conventional perception. While the surface meanings of some nsibidi are broadly known to all, the more nuanced associations of the full set of symbols are only mastered through a life-long process of initiation, discipline and revelation. Glimpsed on body decorations, textiles, sculptures and house walls, nsibidi notations may be regarded as visible manifestations of the invisible world, bridging the chasm between normally distinct realms of existence and experience.

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      Ajaguna's Avatar
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      Last thing:

      Flash of the Spirit ends with a discussion of the ideographic writing of
      the Ejagham of eastern Nigerian and western Cameroon. Through the accident of their proximity to Calabar, one of the notorious slaving ports of
      Africa, their art and ideology of accomplishment and prowess, specially
      symbolized among men by the sign of the leopard, indelibly influenced the
      art history of western Cuba. The men of Calabar-area descent founded Cuban
      chapters of the male "leopard" associations (Ekpe) of Calabar and the Ejagham to the north with many aspects of their art and ideographic writing recalling the sumptuousness of the feathered art of the noblewomen of Ejagham. Ejagham artistic influence in the Americas extends a deeply rooted and significant African ideographic writing system, surprising only to those
      who still believe that Africa alone among the continents was without
      letters before the arrival of whites, without a means for recording and
      transmitting moral and folk lore. The transformation of Ejagham nsibidi
      writing into the creolized off-shoot in Cuba known as anaforuana is one of
      the signal achievements of the black New World.

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