Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ekpo Secret Society
Ekpo is the principal society for men in Ibibio towns in southeastern Nigeria and in Iyekorhiomwo. Iyekorhiomwo, which means literally “behind the Orhiomwo (Ossiomo) River,” is located to the south and east of Benin City in Benin. Although it is not clear when the Ekpo society originated, it did exist before the colonial era. Ibibio elders say that there has been Ekpo as long as there have been ancestors. Ekpo in Ibibio language means “ghost.” All ancestors are ghosts or spirits of those who once lived. Ancestors founded their villages and established a settled way of life for themselves and their descendants; consequently, kin groups similar to clans were formed. A general theme in traditional African philosophy is that living humans and ancestors are linked; therefore, the Ekpo society is designed to enforce the norms of the ancestors. This entry looks at the initiation ritual and its social function. In ...