Pre-colonial Igboland: Marriage to a Goddess

From Emergent Africa Tue Dec 4 2012, 06:00:00

In Eccentric Yoruba:

In Nwando Achebe's recount of Ahebi Ugbabe's life, she looks into the practice of marrying women to Goddesses as a sort of human sacrifice and slavery system.

With the abolition of the international slave trade in 1805, some Igbo people created new deities and mystical forces that were to help them fight the internal slavery that continued on after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, as well as to protect those who were left behind. These primarily female deities functioned to defend societies, they served as both mothers and protectors. The deities shielded communities from slave raiders and they repopulated the communities by using the bodies of women and the sperm of "anonymous human male sperm donors". This institution was called igo mma ogo and allowed female deities to marry women so as to repopulate society. The children born from such unions were said to be children of the Goddess and her human wife, they bore names of their deity parents...[continue reading]

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