Enugwu Nnem: Valorizing the Environment of Enugwu-Ukwu as Mother in a Patrilineal Community

AUTHOR : Onyinyechi P.C. Wariboko
ISSUE: Volume 6 Issue 2– March 2020 Article 2
PAGES : 105 -113
DOI : 10.32051/erats.2020.032



Just like most other African communities, Enugwu-ukwu is strongly patriarchal.However, members of the community from time immemorial, sentimentally refer to her as mother. Enugwu nnem! (Enugwu my mother) is regularly expressed by members of Enugwu-ukwu community. This paradox which is significant to the female gender influences the value system of Enugwu-ukwu people and how they relate with their environment. Unfortunately, because of urban migration and gradual loss of language vis-à-vis culture, this value is however fast eroding.This ethnographic study therefore appreciates the rationale behind referring toa strong patrilineal community as mother and how this worldview affects their relationship with flora and fauna. Insight is basically drawn from participant observation, oral histories and buttressed with extant literature. Data is analyzed with the instrumentality of qualitative content analysis and the research method is descriptive. The thought of Enugwu-ukwu as mother impacts the people’s traditional religion, where most of the deities in the community also have female counterparts that wield equal powers. More so, since motherhood is revered,the land is revered and nurtured as one would one’s mother. Certain parts of the environment are also sacred and not to be tampered with at all as certain parts of one’s mother’s body is sacrosanct. The effect of this thought pattern on their religion, culture and the environment is phenomenal. In order to nip the erosion of this cultural value of Enugwu-ukwu as mother that must be protected, nurtured and revered in the bud, it is recommended among others, that oral histories and values should be revivified for gender sensitivity/inclusivity as well as environmental protection and sustainability in Enugwu-ukwu in modern times.

Key words: Enugwu-ukwu, Motherism, Stiwanism, Environment, Patrilineal Community

Author Biodata: Onyinyechi Priscilla Christian Wariboko, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, where she teaches Sociology of Religion and other related courses. Her research interests are religious conflict and gender studies. Email:onyinyechi.wariboko@uniport.edu.ng