Category Archives: Indigenous Cultures

IGBO

#13 Evil Spirits: The Suicide
     (Northcote W. Thomas, 1913)

Among the Ibo… the evil spirit known as akalagoli, ekwensu or ajomwo excites the apprehensions on the people. The akalagoli is said to be a person who had no wife, no child, and no money, and has committed suicide. They … Continue reading

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YORUBA

#12 Yoruba Laws and Customs: Suicide
     (A. K. Ajisafe, 1924)

When a man finds life burdensome, disgraceful, and perilous to him, and consequently commits suicide he is given great credit and honour. But when out of shame for a mean act he commits suicide, his corpse is considered abominable and … Continue reading

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YORUBA

#11 The Kings of Yoruba
     (Samuel Johnson, 1897)

Sango: The God of Thunder and Lightning, and his wife Oya Sango was the fourth King of the Yorubas…Sango reigned for seven years, the whole of which period was marked by his restlessness. He fought many battles and was fond … Continue reading

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EWE

#10 The Criminality of Suicide
     (B. Ellis, 1890)

In Dahomi it is criminal to attempt to commit suicide, because every man is the property of the king, The bodies of suicides are exposed to public execration, and the head is always struck off and sent to Agbomi; at … Continue reading

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GÃ

#9 The Prohibition of Death
     (M.J. Field, 1937)

This [ceremony] is jointly performed by the La Kpã priest and the Osabu priest. Osabu is a senior of the Kple gods, La Kpã the chief of the later comers and the present head of the whole town. The La … Continue reading

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FANTE

#8 Killing Oneself “Upon the Head of Another”: The Tragedy of Adjuah Amissah
     (Brodie Cruickshank, 1853)

The fame of Adjuah Amissah, a native of Cape Coast [modern Ghana], is still kept fresh in the memory of the natives, by the songs which they sing in honor of her death. People are still alive, who remember the … Continue reading

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ASHANTI

#7 The Price of Intrigue with Women of Royal Blood
     (A. B. Ellis, 1887)

In Ashanti the women of royal blood are permitted to intrigue with any eminently fine and handsome man in order that their kings may be commanding presence. If, however, permission has not first been obtained, the lover, and all who … Continue reading

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ASHANTI

#6 Funeral Rites for Babies and Kings
    (Capt. R. S. Rattray, 1929)

 …I am afraid that some of the following pages may be repellent to some of my readers. I have considered it to be my duty to set out the details of many of the horrors of the old régime. I … Continue reading

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ASHANTI

#5 Law and Constitution: A Suicide’s Trial
     (Capt. R. S. Rattray, 1929)

The offences set out [below] were known in Ashantias Oman Akyiwadie, which, translated literally, means, ‘Things hateful to the Tribe’. These acts were looked upon as sins of which the central authority was bound to take immediate official notice, lest … Continue reading

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AKAN

#4 The Detection of Witches: Ordeal and Punishment
     

Normally, a witch cannot be detected in daylight, but there are certain signs supposed to be warnings that witchcraft is in the air… Ordeals In order to find out the guilty person, African justice in the past often resorted to … Continue reading

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