Eccentricities History

A Brief Introduction

After an extended delay I am back to write on select topics regarding women and society in pre-colonial and colonial Igbo land. This series of posts are based on reading Nwando Achebe’s The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe.


When I really started delving into Nigerian history, I started close to home, that is I read and researched on Yoruba history. I thought (and still think!) Yoruba history is awesome, in particular the Yoruba philosophy, cosmology and worldview. However, I could not help but notice how there was little information out of the stereotypical on women in Yoruba history. For example, it remains hard to come across information on sex and Yoruba women, any Yoruba history book paints a picture that all women were virgins before marriage because pre-marital sex was a big disgrace. There is next to no mention of sex work. Even looking at the rituals surrounding female initiation ceremonies, which was usually an open place where sex could be discussed among other African ethnic groups, the Yoruba remain silent. Now I understand there are some information that is not meant to be shared but I will not lie, part of me genuinely wonders about historical accuracy and if “factual” statements to the historical attitudes of Yoruba towards sex are/were in any way influenced by colonialist puritanical Victorian values.

I have recently being introduced to Igbo history partly due to reading Nwando Achebe’s academic works and also due to Sugabelly‘s influence and help. I am genuinely pleased to say that from my introduction to Igbo pre-colonial history, women have been mentioned again and again. I wonder if this difference is part due to Nwando Achebe being my starting point. She writes candidly about sex work, woman-to-woman marriage, and Goddess marriage in Igboland. Other “standard” versions of Igbo history, the ones that are easy to come across online or in any Nigerian history book, those ones hardly ever mention women or female institutions outside of the Aba women’s riot of 1929.

My initial plan was to write three posts centred on women, sex and power in pre-colonial and colonial Igboland based on what I’d read from Nwando Achebe. The first post was going to deal with sex work, woman-to-woman marriage, and woman-to-Goddess marriage, the second would look specifically at Ahebi Ugbabe the “female king” of colonial Nigeria, while the last would form the conclusion and round up my impressions of women and power as discussed earlier here, matriarchy and patriarchy. However, in writing I found that three posts would not be enough. Woman-to-woman marriage is a hot topic that deserves an entire post on its own, so there will be four posts all together. Five really, including this introduction.

I believe this post is long enough for an introduction. I shall put up these posts weekly, the first one on sex work and marriage to Goddesses in pre-colonial and colonial Igboland should be up by Wednesday.


  1. When you mention “women to women” marriage in what context?

    Several scholars have noted that this marriage was not based on intimacy or anything along those lines which is often insinuated but rather other factors namely to produce children, especially if a woman was barren she could go and “marry” a woman who was not. It was not marriage in the context we know today.

    1. I don’t know…could you have waited until I had the post on woman-to-woman marriage up before leaving this comment? It may take a week but all of your points above and more will be discussed in that post.

      I’ll just say one thing, I sincerely believe only straight heteronormative people would believe that no intimacy or “anything along those lines” would come from such an institution. I wonder what time machine these scholars have entered to go to the homes and bedrooms of those women who were married to other women in the past that they feel so confident in letting us know that there was no intimacy. Tbh I’m kissing my teeth and rolling my eyes right now. We had a similar discussion on twitter a while back, but let’s wait until that post is up and you’ve read it before continuing here.

  2. I have read some of your other posts on this topic and some of the other topics you mentioned above

    Present the scholarship and leave your emotions out of it. Eye roll, suck teeth. Seriously? Okay…

    I look forward to seeing what you post on this in the future.

    1. But I haven’t written on this topic before…can you provide links to these posts that you’ve read? I’d really like to know what and when I’ve written on woman-to-woman marriage on this blog. Or did you see it on Tumblr, or Twitter? Very strange as I’m pretty sure I have not written any in-depth post on this topic before.

      And I see that I cannot be informal on my own blog. You should know that I can never write without putting my every emotion into it, so if you’re uncomfortable with that perhaps you should find some other place that “presents the scholarship and leaves emotions”.

      1. It was linked on tumblr.

        Anyway, it is your blog obviously write what you please but you responded in the manner you did for no apparent reason. Just because I wrote something that didn’t sit right with you hence my comment about scholarship.

        If you are already rolling your eyes and I barely wrote anything…yet lol…

        1. That it was linked on Tumblr doesn’t necessarily mean I wrote it though.

          Eyyy, I didn’t/don’t see anything wrong with my response. Your mistake is in assuming that my rolling eyes were aimed at you writing something that “didn’t sit right” with me…when it fact it was not directed at you at all. My issue is with heteronormativity and those know-it-all scholars, and seeing as this is the first comment you’ve left on my blog, I don’t know enough about you to decide where you stand. Also your comment is something I’ve seen before, it expresses a view that I am familiar with, so…

          I know I refer to this blog as my “serious” blog on Tumblr but I think you’ve taken my reply a bit too seriously :/

          1. Taken your reply a bit too seriously? Hardly…lol.

            What I saw, you definitely wrote. But, anyway in the meantime, while you gather your information for your post, I will go consult with Igbo elders, Vodun and Isese (Yoruba) practioners and go directly to an oracle. It is one thing to write about culture, it’s another thing to live it. Have a wonderful day and I look forward to reading what you write.

          2. I imagine since you are a Yoruba woman who from what I see is very interested in culture and history that you practice Isese, right?

  3. I was wondering when you’d return to your blog. Remember when I told you that I’d secretly been viewing your blog? Well It was always rather disappointing when I’d check to see if you’d written something new, and you hadn’t lol. In any event, I realize that you have your life to live. I’ll just wait patiently for whatever comes next. 🙂

    1. Hello! I’d remember clearer if you told me your real name (as I’m not familiar with iEbbnFlow, sorry!)

      Apologies for disappointing you! To be honest, I have a list of excuses, including typing out a most beautiful post only to have to disappear on me and yes real life, but I should be back on schedule starting tomorrow. And this is not an empty promise, I’ve actually scheduled a post for Wednesday.

      1. Haha, “iEbbnFlow” is just kinda my “internet name” lol. I used it when I posted on your “about” page! 🙂 It’s okay lol!

        Well take your time! I’m not going anywhere haha.

        1. I honestly honestly thought I’d met you in real life! Because your comment made me imagine we’d spoken face-to-face about my blog (this happened a lot in the past few months).

          Thanks for sticking around though 😀

          1. lol, That’s funny! I imagine it must be a little hectic running a blog.

            But yeah, you have a loyal, devoted follower lol! You’re very welcome! ^_^

          2. Haha, it is not too hectic tbh. The only stress comes from my guilt at not posting as often as I’d like (which I feel would happen if I only knew time management!).

            But yeah, you have a loyal, devoted follower

            Ahh! A million thanks and *hugs* over the internet!

  4. I love this genre of research and history works. Keep up the good work because our history is part of what defines us and it must not be found in the extinction list.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment/support. History means so much to me, I constantly worry about it being “found in the extinction list”. As long as I have access to sources and the time, I shall keep on sharing.

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