AFRICAN CULTURE: HOW ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA MARKED GOLDEN JUBILEE
October 08, 2015 | Uhuruspirit
Chief Peter Chukwurah, Isi-Igbo South Africa, arrives at Woodstock Community Hall, Cape Town, the venue of his golden jubilee celebration on 5 September, 2015.
The beauty of Igbo culture and tradition was on showcase some weeks ago during the 50th birthday celebration of Chief Peter Chukwurah, Isi-Igbo South Africa.
The colourful event which took place on Saturday, 5 September, had brought together several cultural enthusiasts, members of Umunri Welfare Association South Africa; Igbo community leaders; South African traditional leaders; leaders of other Nigerian communities; relatives; friends and well-wishers of Chief Peter Chukwurah at the Woodstock Community Hall in Cape Town.
After all the guests were seated, Isi-Igbo South Africa then later made his grand entrance to the venue. He was dressed in his ceremonial white robe, which was complemented by eagle-feathered red cap, royal beads, brass and ivory anklets and brass staff of authority. As he entered, the shouts of Isi-Igbo! Isi-Igbo!! Isi-Igbo!!! had erupted at the venue. And dancing to the majestic beats of the traditional music by the Igba-Eze Umunri cultural troupe, the Isi-Igbo went round the venue, acknowledging cheers from the guests and exchanging pleasantries with other titled men. Among those in his entourage were: Ichie Obinna Obiorah (Onowu Umunri); Chief Charles Eze (Ide Umunri); Chief Ifeanyi Muo (Isi-Obu Umunri); Chief Emma Nwosu (Chinetugo na Enugwu-Ukwu), who is also the Patron of Umunri Welfare Association South Africa; Chief Amaobi Enujekwu (Akuoma Igbo); Chief Ogbonna Aniebonam Abana (Kpakpando Mbanabo – Anaocha na Umunri) and Mazi Valentine Okafor (Odenigbo), the chairman of Umunri Welfare Association South Africa.
The event had later kicked into full steam after the Isi-Igbo and his entourage had taken their seats in the designated areas. The opening prayer was conducted by Rev. Fr. Oragudosi.
ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA STANDS DURING THE OPENING PRAYER
Though the event was meant to celebrate the golden jubilee of Chief Peter Chukwurah, the celebrant had actually used one stone to kill two birds as he also marked the Igu Aro festival on the same day.
The Igu Aro festival is marked at the end of a period of seclusion during which the traditional ruler goes into spiritual communication with God, seeking His blessings on the people of the entire community. It is also at the Igu Aro festival that the traditional ruler sets out the rural calendar and programmes of events that would take place in the course of the New Year.
Other highlights of the event included the cutting of the golden jubilee cake by Chief Peter Chukwurah, the offering of toasts, and the reading of a special tribute by Umunri Welfare Association South Africa.
ISI-IGBO'S WIFE AND KIDS PRESENT THE GOLDEN JUBILEE CAKE
ISI-IGBO IS ASSISTED BY HIS FAMILY AS HE CUTS HIS GOLDEN JUBILEE CAKE
ONOWU UMUNRI ICHIE CHARLES OBIORAH OFFERS A TOAST TO ISI-IGBO AT THE EVENT
SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA
The reading of the special tribute was done by Mr. Nonso Obiorah, the Vice Chairman of Umunri Welfare Association South Africa. Indeed, the very comprehensive tribute had helped to deal with many questions whose answers were hitherto unknown to most guests. The tribute had provided various biographical details about Chief Peter Chukwurah. We were told that he hails from Enugwu-Agidi – one of the four towns that make up UmuNri. The others are Enugwu-Ukwu, Nawfia and Agukwu Nri.
MR. NONSO OBIORAH, VICE CHAIRMAN OF UMUNRI WELFARE ASSOCIATION READING THE SPECIAL TRIBUTE
As a child, Chief Chukwurah attended the Pioneer Primary School, Onitsha before going to Washington Memorial Grammar School, also in Onitsha, from where he graduated in 1983. He later obtained a Diploma in Marketing from the University of Manchester in the UK. As a successful businessman, Chief Chukwurah is the chief executive officer of Chinemelu Global Nigeria Ltd and Jitpro CC in South Africa. He is married to Chief (Mrs) Magdalene Chukwurah (Odibeze) with whom he has 4 lovely kids.
AN OZO TITLE HOLDER
In the days of yore, the Ozo title society was the most important social grouping in Igbo communities. The concept of peace, harmony and truth was ritually symbolized and enacted in the ceremonies of the Ozo-title men, who were also the political elite. In those days, the Ozo-title men were the conscience of their communities, and they were seen to be fair adjudicators in cases of disputes within the society. History tells us that Nri was the originator and bestower of Ozo in Igbo land. Eri, the progenitor of Nri gave the Ozo title to his son Nri, who in turn bestowed the title to Ndigbo. Though many things have changed since the dawn of European colonialism, the Ozo title society has remained an important and prestigious institution in Igbo communities, where those with the title are normally distinguished in any gathering by their conspicuous red caps. Till today, this revered Igbo institution has continued to serve as an important vehicle for the promotion of Igbo customs and traditions. In his case, Chief Chukwurah was initiated into the Ozo title society in 2011 when he became Ozo Chukwuneme na Enugwu-Agidi and Umunri.
LEADER OF UMUNRI WELFARE ASSOCIATION SOUTH AFRICA
When the Umunri Welfare Association was launched in 2006 for the promotion of “Udo Nri” (Nri Peace) among Ndigbo and all communities in South Africa, Chief Chukwurah was one of the founding members. He was one of those who worked tirelessly to nurture the organisation during its budding days. Three years later, in 2009, Chief Chukwurah was unanimously elected as Chairman of Umunri Welfare Association.
Under his effective visionary leadership, they held their first ever New Yam Festival in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2010. The event was graced by various distinguished guests and very important dignitaries like His Royal Highness Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo (Osuofia II na Nawfia/UmuNri), His Serene Highness, Chukwudinigbo Agwuna (Mkpume Azaoku) and Ichie Ifeanyi Omeokachie (MFR), then Minister Plenipotentiary at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria. After that, Chief Chukwurah also led them to successfully host similar events in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The period of his chairmanship of Umunri Welfare Association was also notable for the various charitable projects that the organization had initiated. As part of the initiative, they started supporting various motherless babies’ homes - the likes of St. Joseph’s Home for Chronically Ill Children in Cape Town. Other similar initiatives include the hospital visitation project, under which they regularly visit various local hospitals to provide support for the sick; the prison project, under which, they frequently visit various prisons, where they contribute towards the well-being and rehabilitation of the inmates.
There is no doubt that kindheartedness is a trait that runs deep in the blood of every Nri descendant. Founded in about 900 AD, Nri Kingdom is believed to be the ancestral homeland of the Igbos, where most of the culture and traditions as practiced today by the Igbos had evolved. The kingdom was famous for charity and a popular place of refuge for various persecuted people. It was an oasis of peace, justice and fairness. The Nri Kingdom had stood as a fortress against slavery and the slave trade. It was against the killing of twins, which was practiced in many parts of Africa. It is therefore not surprising that today, charity forms one of the important works by Umunri Welfare Association in South Africa.
CORONATION AS ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA
It was in 2013 that Umunri Welfare Association had resolved that the promotion of Igbo culture and tradition in South Africa needed to be taken to a higher level. To achieve that important objective, they decided to create a dedicated institution – The Isi-Igbo dynasty – which draws authority from the historical place of Nri as the progenitor of the Igbo race.
As they needed a very capable person to occupy the Isi-Igbo royal stool, a committee was commissioned to conduct a research and come up with the necessary guidelines for the election of the first Isi-Igbo South Africa. As part of its terms of reference, the committee was also required to interact with the royal fathers of Umunri in order to tap from their wealth of wisdom on such matters. Among the requirements that the committee had finally arrived at, every potential candidate must be a married man and an Ozo title-holder with an impeccable character. Initially, many qualified candidates had indicated interest, but in recognition of his sterling leadership qualities, they all stepped down as soon as Ozo Peter Chukwurah had declared interest to vie for the position. And on 7 September 2014, he was enthroned on the royal stool as Isi-Igbo South Africa during an elaborate ceremony that was performed and witnessed by His Royal Highness, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo (Osuofia II na Nawfia & UmuNri), His Royal Majesty, Eze Nri Ènweleána II Obidiegwu Onyeso, MFR and several other distinguished personalities.
A GOLDEN JUBILEE TO REMEMBER FOR A LONG TIME
Indeed, the golden jubilee celebration of Chief Peter Chukwurah will always be remembered as a remarkable one. It is one that will always bring fond memories to those who were in attendance. Not only that guests were treated to sumptuous meals of various Igbo delicacies, they were entertained with various musical performances by a live band and Igba Eze Umunri cultural troupe. At the end of the day, the happy guests went home with a special memento in form of Isi-Igbo South Africa 2016 Calendar.
THE UNVEILING OF ISI-IGBO 2016 CALENDAR BY SOME VIPS
The golden jubilee of Isi-Igbo South Africa was followed, on Sunday, 6 September, by the 6th Iliji Ndigbo in South Africa (2015 New Yam Festival) held by Umunri Welfare Association South Africa.
SOME MEMBERS OF UMUNRI WELFARE ASSOCIATION LED BY THE CHAIRMAN, MR. VAL OKAFOR PAY HOMAGE TO ISI-IGBO SA
AKAJIOFOR NDI ENYIMBA ENYI SOCIAL CLUB SOUTH AFRICA CHIEF JERRY IBEAWUCHI GREETS ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA
HON. JOE EZE, NUSA WESTERN CAPE CARETAKER COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN AND OHANEZE NDIGBO WESTERN CAPE INTERIM CHAIRMAN SPEAKS DURING THE EVENT.
PRINCE ONYEBUCHI ADIRIKA WITH ISI-IGBO SOUTH AFRICA
MORE TOASTS FOR ISI-IGBO
Chief Amaobi Enujekwu (Akuoma Igbo); Chief Ogbonna Aniebonam Abana (Kpakpando Mbanabo – Anaocha na Umunri) with Isi-Igbo SA
CHIEF AUSTINE IJEZIE (TRADITIONAL PRIME MINISTER OF THE NIGERIAN COMMUNITY IN WESTERN CAPE) WITH ISI-IGBO SA
OHIKA, CAPTAIN AND MADIBA WITH ISI-IGBO SA