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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The rites of passage theory and the 'Okonko' initiation ceremony of the Ngwa Igbo of Nigeria
Author:Obuh, S.O.S.
Year:1989
Periodical:Journal of Asian and African Studies (Tokyo)
Issue:38
Pages:177-187
Language:English
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:Igbo
rites of passage
Abstract:The basic premise of this essay is that the 'Okonko' initiation ceremony of the Ngwa Igbo of Nigeria is performative and conforms with the rites of passage theory as presented in A. van Gennep's 'The rites of passage' (Chicago, 1909, 1960). Van Gennep's three main phases of rites of passage occur in the following order: separation, transition, and reincorporation. The author shows that 'Okonko' is a model of performance which combines different performance modes such as masking and disguise, initiation, competition and arguments. He demonstrates that all phases of the rite are carefully marked and not only help the initiates gain insight, but also lead to their permanent transformation. A description of a typical 'Okonko' performance is included. The author concludes that Van Gennep provides a framework for the analysis of 'Okonko' and most African traditional performances. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.
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