Enugwu Nnem: Valorizing the Environment of Enugwu-Ukwu as Mother in a Patrilineal Community

Onyinyechi P.C. WaribokoORCID iD

Issue: Vol.6  No.2 March 2020 Article 2 pp.105-113
DOI :https://doi.org/10.32051/ERATS.2020.032 
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


Just like most other African communities, Enugwu-ukwu is strongly patriarchal.However, members of the community from time immemorial, sentimentally refer to her as mother. Enugwu nnem! (Enugwu my mother) is regularly expressed by members of Enugwu-ukwu community. This paradox which is significant to the female gender influences the value system of Enugwu-ukwu people and how they relate with their environment. Unfortunately, because of urban migration and gradual loss of language vis-à-vis culture, this value is however fast eroding.This ethnographic study therefore appreciates the rationale behind referring toa strong patrilineal community as mother and how this worldview affects their relationship with flora and fauna. Insight is basically drawn from participant observation, oral histories and buttressed with extant literature. Data is analyzed with the instrumentality of qualitative content analysis and the research method is descriptive. The thought of Enugwu-ukwu as mother impacts the people’s traditional religion, where most of the deities in the community also have female counterparts that wield equal powers. More so, since motherhood is revered,the land is revered and nurtured as one would one’s mother. Certain parts of the environment are also sacred and not to be tampered with at all as certain parts of one’s mother’s body is sacrosanct. The effect of this thought pattern on their religion, culture and the environment is phenomenal. In order to nip the erosion of this cultural value of Enugwu-ukwu as mother that must be protected, nurtured and revered in the bud, it is recommended among others, that oral histories and values should be revivified for gender sensitivity/inclusivity as well as environmental protection and sustainability in Enugwu-ukwu in modern times.

Keywords: Enugwu-ukwu, Motherism, Stiwanism, Environment, Patrilineal Community

Acholonu, Catherine O. Motherism: The Afrocentric Alternative to Feminism. Abuja: Afa Publications, 1995.] Encyclopedia.com. “African Feminisms.” Updated November 4, 2019. https://www.encyclopedia.com/ social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-feminisms

Agwuna, Osita. Igu Aro. Address presented at Obu Ofo Nri palace Enugwu-ukwu on January 5, 2004.

Akinbobola, Yemisi. “Neoliberal Feminism in Africa.” Accessed July 15,2019. https://www.eurozine.com/neoliberal-feminism-Africa/

Bradley, Harriet. Gender. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013.

Chinweizu. Anatomy of Female Power. Lagos: Pero Press, 1990.

Dube, Musa W. Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible. Missouri: Chalice Press, 2000.

Ebunoluwa, Sotunsa M. “Feminism: The Quest for an African Variant.” Journal of Pan African Studies 3,no. 1 (September, 2009): 227-234, accessed November 2, 2019, http://www.jpanafrican.org/docs/vol3no1/3.1%20 Feminism.pdf

Ezeigbo, Akachi. “Gender Sensitivity and the Role of Umuada in Conflict Resolution.” In Against All Odds: The Igbo Experience in Postcolonial Nigeria, edited by Apollos O. Nwauwa and Chima J. Korieh, 189-200. Owerri: Goldline and Jacobs Publishing, 2011.

Ezeigbo, Akachi. Snail-Sense Feminism: Building on an Indigenous Model. Lagos: Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos monograph series 17, 2012.

Ejizu, edited by Frank A.O. Ugiomoh, Kingsley I. Owete and Jones U. Odili, 495-509. Port Harcourt: Rock publishers, 2017.

Iheanacho, Ngozi N. “The Fundamental Religious Values of Women in Etche Traditional Society. In Religion and the Bounds of Culture: Festschrift in Honour of Professor Christopher Ifeanyichukwu

Jell-Bahlsen, Sabine. “Nneka: Is Mother Still Supreme in Igboland? Reflections on the Biography of Eze Mmiri, Madume Madame Martha Mberekpe of Orsu-Obodo, Oguta, 1934-2007.” In Against All Odds: The Igbo Experience in Postcolonial Nigeria, edited by Apollos O. Nwauwa and Chima J. Korieh, 201-224. Owerri: Goldline and Jacobs Publishing, 2011.

Juschka, Darlene. “Feminist Approaches to the Study of Religion.” Accessed July 14, 2019. http://www.academia.edu/9658186/Feminist_approaches_to_the_study_of_religion.

Maplandia.com. “Enugu Ukwu Map – Satellite Images of Enugu Ukwu.” Accessed July 12, 2019. http://www.maplandia.com/nigeria/anambra/njikoka/enugu-ukwu/

Milner-Barry, Sarah. “The Term ‘Mother Nature’ reinforces the idea that both women and nature should be subjgated.” Accessed July 14, 2019. https://qz.com/562833/the-term-mother-nature-reinforces-the-idea-thatboth-women-and-nature-should-be-subjugated/amp/

Nicolini, Giulia. “The Environment is a Feminist Issue.” Accessed July 17, 2019. www.fcome.org/portfolio-view/the-environment-is-a-feminis-issue/

Nmah, Patrick E. “Traditional Rights of Igbo Women in the Society.” Arts and Humanities Quarterly 2, no. 1 (2007): 34-40

Obiefuna, Boniface A.C. The Youth on Fire. Nimo: Rex Charles and Patrick, 2004.

Oduyoye, Mercy A. “Women and Ritual in Africa.” In The Will to Arise: Women, Tradition and the Church in Africa edited by Mercy A. Oduyoye and Musimbi R.A. Kanyoro, 9-24. New York: Orbis Books, 2001.

Ogundipe-Leslie, Molara. Recreating Ourselves: African Women and Critical Transformations. New Jersey: Africa World Press, Inc, 1994.

Ojukwu, Chinyelu. “Gender Complementarity in the Anti-colonial Struggle: Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo’s ‘The Last of the Strong Ones’.” Journal of Gender Studies, 6, no. 1 (2014): 59-69.

Okafor-Omali, Dilim. My Culture Blackmailed. Onitsha: Noble Resources Ltd, 2013.

Olaopa, Tunji. “Omolara Ogundipe-Leslie: Between the Literary, the Feminine and the Cultural.” Premium Times, December 16, 2019. http://www.premiumtimesng.com/ entertainment/artbooks/217933-omolara-ogun dipe-leslie-literary-feminine-cultural.html

Ritzer, George and Jeffery Stepnisky. Sociological theory, 9th ed. USA: McGraw-Hill Education, 2014.

Sarieddine, Maysar. “Oppression and Violence Against Women: An Ecopsychological Perspective.” Clinical and Experimental Psychology 4, no. 1 (2018). http://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/oppression-and-violence against-women-an-ecopsychological-perspective-2471-2701-1000S2-001-98547.html Doi: 10.4172/2471-2701.1000189

United Nations. “International Mother Earth Day, 22 April.” Accessed June 21, 2019. https://www.un.org/en/events/motherearthday/

United Nations. “International Mother Earth Day 22 April.” Accessed on July 14, 2019. https://www.un.org/en/events/ motherearthday/background.shtml.

Wang’ondu, Maria-Louisa. “What is African feminism? An introduction.” International Youth Coalition. Accessed on June 21, 2019. http://iycoalition.org/what-is-african-feminism-an-introduction/

Onyinyechi Priscilla Christian Wariboko, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, where she teaches Sociology of Religion and other related courses. Her research interests are religious conflict and gender studies. Email:onyinyechi.wariboko@uniport.edu.ng

Wariboko, Onyinechi P. C. “Enugwu Nnem: Valorizing the Environment of Enugwu-Uukwu as Mother in a Patrilineal Community.” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies 6, no. 2 (2020): 105-113. https://doi.org/10.32051/erats.2020.032

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).