Cultura Bias in Mate Selection: The Case of “OSU” Caste System in the 21ST Century Igboland

Azogu Adigwe F


Human social life finds expression in culture. Culture is known to be dynamic. Change is one permanent feature of human existence in all spheres. However, in Igboland one cultural practice has refused to bulge to the vagaries of change that have transverse all the nook and crannies of that society- the ‘Osu’/’Ohu’ caste system. This very cultural practice pre-dates the coming of Europeans to Africa. It is an inhuman cultural practice that operates in the sphere of social relationship. It is discriminatory and unjust when viewed from all angles. Despite increased knowledge and the embrace modern religions this cultural practice has refused to die with time. The worst is that just as the culture makes it a taboo, people dread any open and frank discuss on the issue. Most people prefer to keep it quiet hoping that it will go away. Yet the undercurrent is very strong. This is buttressed when you consider the way society react and treat people who defy this cultural practice. There is an automatic lose of place is social ranking among the people of such community, no matter the height of your achieved status.

Keywords: social discrimination, outcaste, ’osu’, ‘ohu’, Igboland.

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