Onitsha History, Kingship and Changing Cultures

The “Black Juju” at Nkwelle

This was a very brief visit to the site.   Below, a full view of our first photograph near the entryway. The shrine clearing was surrounded by high forest.

32-09-iyi-oji-closeupAt right, an effort to provide a better image of the people shown in the photo. Helen of course is in the middle, James Abadom (of Ogboli-Eke Onicha) at right.  I do not know who the man was who acted as one of our hosts.  (We had chronic problems wih underexposure using our Aires 35mm camera.)

Below, a view closer to the entry.  Note that it is guarded by an Oda, a medicinal arch that oversees and protects the entry (a man stands beside it at far right).  Note also the fresh mound with a long stick sprouting out of it, just left of the entry.  The main shrine house stands behind, inside.

Below, the main shrine room.

The ritual objects contained in the shrine included mainly drums, an Ozo-man’s title stool (Awka style), and overhead hangings of black and red cloth.  The place showed no signs to us of recent use.

32-17-iyi-oji-detailBelow, looking out from the main building in one direction, we see the entryway to the deep forest, the continuous residence of the Spirit. Note the log lying athwart the path, indicating that entry is barred.

Below, Looking out of the main building in the other direction, you see the smaller building of the pair. James Abadom stands on the left. The contents of this building were largely an array of stacked chairs, presumably for use during group meetings at the shrine.

Below, a closeup view of the entrance. Anyone who passes in under the black cloth enters into the body of the Spirit, the place where oaths are made.

32-13-nkwele-iyi-ojiOur time available for this visit was extremely limited, and we hoped to return to learn more about Iyi-Oji. Unfortunately, another opportunity never came, as events back in Onitsha absorbed our interest.

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