Ebulue: Not your Conventional Book Launch
Chiedozie Udeze’s Ebulue chronicles the lives of his parents—Nze Eyisi Ozoekwe and Lolo Iyom Udeze—from the beginning of their lives till last year when their marriage clocked fifty. Both staunch upholders of the Igbo culture and tradition, theirs is a story of love, for one another, for family, for community and for tradition. So, it was not strange when at the book launch, conversations were punctuated by Igbo language. The book launch—which held on August 25, 2018—was not the conventional book launch but a celebration of indigenous culture.
“Dioka!” Ikem Mgbemena, the compere of the day shouted.
“Abunya!” responded some members of the audience.
The natives of Umudioka community in Neni, Anambra state understood this salutation as well as their community anthem, while non-natives of the community listened and enjoyed the patriotism that oozed out of the singing voices.
Next was the kola nut breaking session. This was another lesson in Igbo tradition. The kola nut is that constant at every traditional Igbo outing. The host of the event would present the bowl of kola nut to the oldest person in the gathering. After which it is passed according to age from one person to the next. This tradition, sometimes, is wrought with playful banters on superiority. The bowl of kola moved from one elder’s hand to the next, accompanied by prayers—all recited in Igbo because the kola nut does not understand any other language.
“We should embrace and celebrate the positive aspects of our culture. Just as Chiedozie has done with this book, I beckon on everyone to be historians or archivists, to record their own history. It is important to have this record for the future,” Vivian Ogbonna said as she admonished the audience on the significance of cultural knowledge.
Buchi Onyegbule on the other hand was more interested in the kind of history being taught in schools.
“It is important that history has been returned to the school curriculum but if it is the History where Mungo Park discovered River Niger, then, it should be questioned…We should also have the older people call younger people together to tell them stories from the past. Tell us what really happened during the Civil War…and not from just one side,” he said as he admonished that Nigerians’ revisit what is known as history and how the narratives are shaped.
Mr Sule Ahmed from the Nigerian Institute for Hospitality and Tourism said that books like Ebulue are important to the preservation of culture.
“It is a welcome development for a man who wants to promote his parents ideals through the communal values that they cherish. It is a welcome development,” he said that culture and tourism go hand in hand.
The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Albert Ibeanu. Chairman, Ibeanu Brothers commented on the significance of everyone coming together to celebrate culture.
“No one will do it for us, we have to do it ourselves,” he said even as the unconventional book launch—packed with knowledge of indigenous traditions as well as an ongoing photography exhibition—wound to a close.
Other photos from the event: