Adamma The Princess
Rights of Passage Festival
Globalization and cultural assimilation have unfortunately impacted the rate of preservation of ethic languages and cultures. The European colonial administrators in Africa did little to encourage Africans to preserve their cultural heritage. In fact Europeans regarded such cultures as primitive and encouraged Africans to move away from it and embrace European Cultures.
Igbos are very proud people and have a very rich culture passed on from their great ancestors and it is often a source of pride and joy for the Igbos to pass on this great cultural heritage legacy to newer generations of Igbo children and posterity. The "Rites of Passage Festival" is a day of cultural celebrations, men, women and children assemble at the designated venue each person dressed in one of their best cultural outfits, beads and ornaments.
Princess Adamma is ready for marriage. In Igbo tradition certain "Rights of Passage" festival must be fulfilled before she could choose a marriage partner. Adamma belongs to the Igbo tribe, one of the largest ethnic groups in the West African country of Nigeria. Her town is called Abanna, a beautiful town adored with mangrove forests with tropical trees such as palm trees, coconut, iroko, and more in this tropical rainforest town. In a nut shell, Abanna was a tropical paradise several miles away from the famous river Niger.
This essay is about the Igbo "Rites of Passage Festival". By the way the author of this piece is also a proud Igbo. When a young Igbo woman gets to the age of marriage and turns 18, there are certain Igbo cultural rites that must be performed and completed before her Dad could give her hands away for marriage. Adamma's Dad was not an ordinary man, he was at the time, the king of Abanna and such an event like the marriage of Adamma the princess would attract the entire community and neighboring villages alike.
One day, Adamma's dad Omengboji (meaning the Provider) called Adamma into his palace one early Sunday morning. Adamma enters her fathers central room and gave the traditional Igbo salutation for parents and in this case the king (Igwe) of Abanna who also happens to be her dad. She approaches her dad, and knelt down before him, close enough for the king to pat her on the back with his traditional Igbo staff of office used by Igbo Kings (Igwe) as a symbol of their authority. Igbo tradition mandates that daughters and sons of a kings (Igwe) must kneel down before their dad as a way of showing their ultimate love and honor for him.
Omengboji pats Adamma on her back for the second time and calls her by her name. "Adamma, Adamma" (meaning my beautiful daughter). Omengboji proclaimed. Adamma smiled and reassures her dad of her great love and admiration for him. Adamma tells her Dad, "Nnam afurum gi na anya" (Daddy I love you).King Omengboji acknowledges Adamma's gesture of love and solidarity.
Omengboji tells Adamma to seat down and be comfortable. Adamma says "Thanks Dad" Adamma takes a seat next to the king who was seated on his throne flanked on his left and right sides by two security guards whose jobs includes taking care of the king's needs as well as for his security needs at all times. Because this was a family matter, Omengboji asks his two guards to exit from the room until he concludes his conversation with his daughter Adamma. The guards exited from the room as requested by Omengboji.
Omengboji was now alone with Adamma in the room and time has come for discussions with Adamma with respect to her "Rites of Passage Festival". Omengboji tells Adamma about the need for her to perform her "Rites of Passage Festival" asking her if she knows the significance of "Rites of Passage" festival to Igbo people?. Adamma says "No Daddy" Omengboji asks Adamma if her mother explained to her yet about the "Rites of Passage" event? Adamma replied "no Daddy" explaining to Omengboji that she will need more education and explanation of "Rites of Passage" Festival.She adds "I am excited Daddy" No problem my beautiful daughter Omengboji replied.
Omengboji calls Obinna(one of the guards) back to the room and tasked him to go and call Oliaku. (Igwe's wife). Oliaku (means beloved wife) enters the room and bows down before Igwe as she proclaimed Igwe! Igwe! Igwe! Omengboji welcomes Oliaku and asked her to take a seat. Oliaku inquires from Igwe if all is well and asked if Adamma did anything wrong? "No" Igwe replied to Oliaku and tasks her to explain to Adamma everything she needs to know about Igbo "Rites of Passage" festival now that she has come of age.(Adamma just turned 18 years). Oliaku thanked Igwe and left the room with Adamma.
End of Scene 1 to be continued