Uncommon Stories

SIBLINGS WE DO NOT KNOW

Igbo Tradition And Relationship

As my father narrated the story last night, it did not move me. My mother, who was sitting next to me, shared in his astonishment. The only thought on my mind was: ‘What would happen to these customs when these folks are gone?’

‘You know Arinze?’ Papa directed the question to me.

‘Which Arinze?’ I asked.

‘The second son of Oduma. That lanky man that lived before Oganiru Town Hall. Near Okaa Udemezue’s compound. You should know him.’

I know Mazi Okaa Udemezue. His house always welcomed us in the late 80s when we walked from house to house during Christmas day taxing the occupants. Okaa was a generous man but I know very little about his neighbors.

‘Papa, I know Oduma,’ I lied. ‘Dark and lanky’

‘No, he is not dark. He is very fair. You are supposed to know him; he comes to the kindred meeting always.’

I wonder how many times I have been to the kindred meeting.

‘Ok, Papa, What happened to him?’

Siblings We Do Not Know

Oduma’s second son Arinze, who lived in the Europe, came back during Easter for the first time with his wife. The couple met 5 years ago and married in the UK. Impressive enough, the wife is from Ogbunike, and they already have two children.

‘That’s the problem with the younger generation,’ my father continued. ‘They don’t ask questions before delving into something as serious as marriage. That girl’s great-grandmother is from Okoye family in Umunnachi; she was our daughter. So the girl is a distant part of the family. The two should not have gotten married. They are siblings.’

Not to offend the elders, I kept my opinion to myself.

My father went on: ‘The worst part was that the fool was told what he would do to cleanse the abomination and he swore he would not waste a penny in the effect.’

Not knowing what they expected of me, I squeezed my face to express my disappointment in Arinze.

‘Tufiakwa,’ my old man ranted on. ‘It is like a brother marrying a sister.’

In Igbo Tradition And Relationship, this is a taboo.

Then I remembered when I was so close to a girl. Her mother, my father’s distant cousin, was married to another family in my village. One day, I took the girl to my Uncle’s house.

Seeing her, my uncle asked: ‘Are you the daughter of Mr. X?’

To his question, the homely girl answered yes.

With a stern countenance, my uncle turned to me and coldly said, ‘Ozioma, hope you know she is your sister?’

I nodded.

There are implications. I know she is my immediate younger sister.

Have you read about Igbo Names?

Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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