EKWENSU IS NOT THE DEVIL.


Prince MacDonald Enwere.

Do you know that Ekwensu is not the Devil?
 This has been a great misconception in the post-ancient  Igbo era how "Ekwensu" has been heavily misconstrued to be the Devil. Today, the word "Ekwensu" is erroneously seen as a connotation to evil or the Devil. Whenever it is mentioned, it conveys terror. This misconception has continued to gain much popularity in the modern Igbo interpretation. 

Ekwensu was one of the sons of the Creator "CHI". In Igbo pantheon, Chi or Chukwu is the supreme Creator , the maker of the cosmos, the most powerful, encompassing everything in the space. "Chi"is the source of all other Igbo deities. "Chi" has children which "Ekwensu" is one of them. They were worshipped in Igbo land as gods. Other sons of "Chi" who were worshipped as gods include Amadioha- the gods of thunder and lightening, Ikenga- the gods of industry and fortunes, Agwu - the gods of divination and healing, Ogbunabali - the gods of death and  Njoku the gods of yam. Other female goddess of "Chi" are; Anyanwu - the wife of Amadioha, Ahia Njoku - the goddess of yam, Ani the earth goddess. 

Ekwensu is an Igbo deity with a convoluted modern identity. It is an Igbo name designated for the god of bargaining and trickster, he is a benevolent deity and the god of war. In the ancient Igbo tradition, the spirit of Ekwensu was always invoked by warriors when they want to go to the war front and by head hunters during conflicts and wars. As the god of bargaining and trickster the spirit of Ekwensu was always invoked by Igbo business class to outsmart their rivals in business venture and also for guidance and direction in difficult mercantile situations. This is the reason why the Igbo are the most successful in business venture among the  black African  race. 

The Igbo Christians, have misconstrued Ekwensu as the Christian devil. Ekwensu is not the devil as the Igbo of this generation have been made to believe in the modern religion.

Anthropological evidences have proved that Ekwensu was a highly revered trickster and aggressive god similar to Eshu amongst the Yoruba people and Kratos the Greek god of war. Ekwensu is not the devil as the Igbo of this present generation believe. The truth is that the devil is not synonymous to Ekwensu as erroneously interpreted by some. In Igbo worldview, there is no concept of a dichotomous existence of the great good force against the great evil force.

The equation of Ekwensu with the Devil of Christianity is a great misconception because Ekwensu has been known in Igbo Ethnology even before the advent of Christianity and he was not regarded as Chukwu's arch enemy. It was during the advent of modernism and evolution of Western culture the European Missionaries convinced the Igbo that the devil is synonymous to Ekwensu.  According to the ancient Igbo mythology,   during the colonial enslavement- missionary era (1882-1960) the early European Missionaries erroneously translated and transcribed "Ekwensu" as Igbo epithet for "Devil". The colonial Missionaries who in their erroneous thinking believed that any religious practice that is in divergence with their belief was evil and in their resultant quest for conversion were faced with the task of introducing these alien beliefs into the indigenous people's philosophy. They copied the methodology of the Early Christians of the Roman Empire who absorbed peganism and ritualism by using existing indigenous concepts that had an infinitesimal similarities to their beliefs and distorted them to conform with what they were trying to achieve.

The European colonialists made "Ekwensu" an equivalent of the Devil to complete the spiritual binary of the European masters. The story of the transcription and translation of Ekwensu as the devil is a clear testamentary evidence of the distortions and convolution of African culture and ethnography by the European Colonialists. This article is indeed, a correction to the theo-linguistic error on our tradition and culture. Let me end this with the words of Chinua Achebe "Until the Lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter" .

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