At the threshold: Childhood masking in Umuoji and Umuahia

Chika O. Okeke

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter suggests that the masquerades in the Ndume-Ibeku community there were very different from those in Umuoji. Although the adult masking tradition in Umuoji was different from that in Umuahia, children's masquerades in both were very similar, perhaps because they did not involve ritual. Apart from proving one's speedy prowess by the number of "hits" recorded before sunset, another significant part of childhood masking in Umuoji had to do with proving one's ability to endure pain. The masking culture in Umuahia is not as elaborate as that of Umuoji. For the adults the major masquerade is Ekpe, which usually performs during the annual Iri ji festival at the village square. It is important to point out the two different types of children's masquerades: the aggressive, cane wielding type, and the dancer type usually accompanied by music makers. The first was more prevalent in the Umuoji, the other more fashionable in Umuahia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPlayful Performers
Subtitle of host publicationAfrican Children's Masquerades
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781351499514
ISBN (Print)0765802864, 9780765802866
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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