An Appraisal Of Cultural Festival Of Afizere (Jarawa) People Of Jos East Plateau State, Nigeria – Complete project material



Cultural festivals are celebrated at different periods of the year in many communities in Nigeria.These traditional festivals vary from one culture to another. The study explores the activities of the Afizerecultural festival of Jos East, Plateau State, Nigeria. The problem of the study is centred on the lack of information on the cultural festival of Afizere. There is no comprehensive academic work to the knowledge of the researcher has been done in this direction. The aim of the study was to appraise the cultural festival ofAfizere,while the objectives are to document their historical events, examine theroles of the cultural festival, analyse the various costumes used by this ethnic group and to assess the sustainability of the Afizere cultural festival. The study is justified in its capacity because of the current disturbances and crisis in Jos which did not allow people to hold the festival at the right time. This research, have make a documentation of the Afizere cultural festival and to bring out the basic elements enshrined in the cultural festival being practised. The review of relevant literature revealed the gaps existing in the previous studies, especially in the examination of the form, content and interpretation of Afizere cultural festival of Plateau State. The sample of this study was drawn from the population to represent the community. The historical and descriptive methods of data collection analysis and discussion were employed. The study found out that, elements of the traditional cultural festival of the Afizerelike costumes, musical instruments and dance are influenced by the surrounding ethnic groups. The study recommends the need to carry out further studies in the areas of traditional values associated with cultural festival.




Title Page – – – – – – – – i Declaration – – – – – – – – – ii Certification – – – – – – – – iii Dedication – – – – – – – – iv Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – v Abstract – – – – – – – – vi Table of Contents – – – – – – – – vii List of Figures – – – – – – – – xi List of Plates – – – – – – – – xii CHAPTER ONE Introduction – – – – – – – – 1 Background of the study – – – – – – – 4 Statement of the problem – – – – – – – 6 Aim and objectives of the study – – – – – – 7 Research Questions – – – – – – – – 7 Justification of the study – – – – – – – 7 Significance of the study – – – – – – – 8 Scope and Delimitation of the study – – – – – – 8 Conceptual framework – – – – – – – 9 Operational Terms – – – – – – – 11
CHAPTER TWO Review of Related Literature – – – – – – 14 Introduction – – – – – – – – 14 Definitions of Cultural Festival – – – – – – 15 Origin of Festival – – – – – – – – 16 Festivals in Africa – – – – – – – – 17 Festivals in Nigeria – – – – – – – – 24 Festivals in Plateau State – – – – – – – 40 CHAPTER THREE Research Methodology and Procedure – – – – – 43 Introduction – – – – – – – – 43 Research Design – – – – – – – – 43 Research Population and Sample – – – – – – 44 Sources of Data – – – – – – – – 45 Method of Data collection – – – – – – – 45 Research Instruments and tools – – – – – – 46 Observation – – – – – – – – 46 Interview – – – – – – – – 46 Photography – – – – – – – – 47
Method of Data Analysis – – – – – – – 47
CHAPTER FOUR Data Analysis and Discussion – – – – – – 49 Introduction – – – – – – – – – 49 The Origin of Afizere – – – – – – – 49 Afizere Location – – – – – – – – 50 Thefestival Celebrated by Afizere (Jarawa) – – – – – 51 Circumcision Ceremony “Izhak” – – – – – – 52 Puberty Ceremony “Igasang” – – – – – – – 54 Burial Ceremony “Unet” “Isah Ashon” or “Inyak Abuko” – – – 56 Hunting Ceremony “Nyam” – – – – – – – 58 Afizere Masquerades – – – – – – – – 60 Afizere Masks – – – – – – – – – 61 Custodians of Afizere (Jarawa) Cultural Festival – – – – 63 Categories of Dancing Groups – – – – – – – 66 Dancing Styles – – – – – – – – – 77 Audience – – – – – – – – – 78 Afizere Dancing Costumes and Instruments – – – – – 79 Musical Instruments – – – – – – – – 89 The Drums – – – – – – – – – 93 Flute – – – – – – – – – – 94 Significance of the AfizereCultural Festival – – – – – 97
CHAPTER FIVE Summary, Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations – – 99 Introduction – – – – – – – – – 99 Summary – – – – – – – – – 99 Findings – – – – – – – – – 100 Conclusion – – – – – – – – – 101 Recommendations – – – – – – – – 103 Contributions to Knowledge – – – – – – – 104 Notes – – – – – – – – – – 105 References – – – – – – – – – 109 Appendix 1 – – – – – – – – – 114 Appendix II – – – – – – – – –



Introduction Cultural festivals have been an integral partof humanbeingsfor a long period of timeand have been practised in different parts of Africa. Such festivals are meant to celebrate some deities or ancestral gods to bringrain, prevent drought, bountiful harvest,to protect deathfertility and among others (Banjoko, 2009).Despite the fact that, many of these festivals have religious origins they entwine cultural and religious significance in their practices. Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali and Eid al-Adhaare some of the most prominent religious festivals observed annually. In someparts of Africa,the end of the harvest is also celebrated for joy and abundant blessing (Robertson, 1992).Cultural festivals started as a religious celebration and evolved into celebrations of a specific theme usually as repeated events in one specific time of the year or an agreed season in a community. African traditional art in the social set up in African society,is characterised by ceremonial activities such as dances and festivals, in which the mask, costumes and body decorationsare featured prominently (Saliu, 2010).
In Nigeria, there are three ethnic groups which are regarded as the majority due to their evident numerical size and these are; the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa ethnic groups. According to Sale, Barry, Mark and Umar (2011), studies have been conducted on the three major cultural groups (Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa), while fewer studies have been carried out on the minority groups likethe Tal, Gwari, Pyem, Ngas and Afizereof Plateau State. Oral tradition has it that, the people of Afizere are dispersedly settled on the Plateau.
The tradition of the ethnic group can be viewed in the way they live in the community and need to be documented. In Nigeria,festivals date back to the period before the coming of the two major religions (Christianity and Islam) in the eighteen century (1800C). These festivals display dance, masquerades and beautifully adorned costumes, all which possess visual artistic features. The festivals coverenormous range of events from harvesting of crops, initiation, hunting, fishing, coronation of chief and funeral ceremonies. Most of these festivals are celebrated annually, while some have intervals of four to five years as the occasion or tradition may demand (MacDonald, 1992). Some of the most celebrated cultural festivalsinclude Argungu fishing festival, Eyo festival, Osun festival, Sharo and Shadi festival, harvest festival, Durbar festival and many more. Despite Nigeria‟smany ethnic groups, there are similaritiesin the practice of traditional dance. There are however, stylistic differences between one ethnic group and another. Language texts play an important role in danceas such tends to influence musical style and texts belonging to different ethnic groups (Omojola, 2006). According to Magaji in Samuel (2015): …Atyap engaged in several ceremonial activities, some of such were social activities during the dry season believed to be resting period. This necessitated the production of various musical instruments used by various age grades, the young, middle aged, the palace praise singers and religious Abwai cult for diverse cultural events.
Cultural festival is a special occasion organized and observed by people to commemorate certain aspects of the culture of a community. Festivals which are culturally relatedare usually embracedby every member of the community, and are referred to as traditional or festival theatre. This is because it involves the employment of dramatic methods and conventions in achieving the desired purposes. Nasiru (2009) states that,such methods and
conventions include rehearsals, use of costumes and props, dances, stylized movements, rituals, gestures and displays. For Banjoko (2009), he opines that “cultural festival is to create an opportunity for people to celebrate, worship as well as perform different cultural traits of the society”. Nigerian cultural festivals, owned origin from the traditional religion,however, before any festival takes place in Nigeria, there are rituals performedby the chief priest, some of which are monthly, annual and seasonal. Various cultural festivals in Nigeria, are celebrated with reasons to meet the needs of the society. Drumming and dancing are common features in every ethnic groupduring such festivals. The Yam festival of Igbo of Enugu for example, is usually organised for one celebration or the other, the chief priest makes some sacrifices to the gods of the festival before any festival takes place.It is also around this time that the members of the community will invite friends and relations from other communities to come to the feast (Omojola, 2006). Oshunis another festival that is held at the end of the rainy season at the Oshogbo sacred forest usually in August. The festival is a weeklong celebration in honour of the river goddess Oshun, which is an important Yoruba deity.During the festival ceremonies,the priest seeks protection for the communities through sacrifices to the goddess (Robin,Monica and Cole, 2008). Another Nigerian festival, according to Ademola (1970), is the Orisapopo festival dancethat is held annually. The festival of Orisapopois not only celebrated by the Orisa worshippers alone,as the non-worshippers too enjoy the glamour of the occasion.The author further states that, the festival brings about the assembly of many celebrants from different parts of the country.
Similarly, the cultural festivalis a traditional festival of theAfizereof Jos East, Plateau State,which is celebrated with laid down rules and regulations of the customs and traditions guiding the people. Though the festival is not widely recognised as the other festivalsmentioned above, the ancient tradition and culture of the people still plays a majorrole in the festival. The cultural festival showcases similar activities like dances, songs, display of masquerades and costumes of the Afizere. Background of the study The Afizere, like most African ethnic groups, do not have any written information of their migratory history.Thisas to when and where the people originated fromto the present location, because most historical origins are based on oral traditions. These claims are backed with artifacts, religion, culture and customs of the people.According to Azi (1976), the name Afizere is derived from “Izere” which is a yellow flowery and highly scented edible herb that grows around their households, usually around the month of September. The people are calledAfizere, while the Hausanick named them as Jarawa because ofthe feet draggingmovement while dancing.
To trace the origin of theAfizere, Azi (1976) observes that, the people have linkswith the people of China and India, while Abok (1988) highlightes that, there are three main myths surrounding the traditions of origin of the Afizere. The first claim of the origin is from Chawai in Zaria province, the second is from North East of Borno,while the third is from mysterious holes and lake in Afizereland. The most commonly acclaimed originis from the Chawai in Southern Zaria in the ancient times (present day Southern
Kaduna), in the area around Kafrigana. According to Abok (1988),the Afizereremained there for some time (about one to two generations). Another legend also says that, the Afizere came from Gobir in Borno as hunters and settled around the hills of Shere, Fobur and later left to settle at Kavambana, and then to Pengana (Afan, and Abus, 2005). From Pengana, theAfizereleft for the valleys of Toro,and they later broke off from Toro section and retraced footsteps westwards, which seemed to be a more permanent and secure abode for them.This westwards movement, is said to have given birth to the Afizere settlement of Jos. Theysettled in Jos, on a hill at the very place where the National Museum is currently situated in Jos (Azi, 1976).TheAfizeremoved to the Eastern part of Jos and settle there,occupinga large part of Jos North. Presently, they dominantly occupythe Jos East which is 1200 square kilometers,with a population of about 124, 661,and a home to other ethnic groups as well, (Population CommissionStatistics, http:www.citypopulation). To the North-West are the Bujel, Ribina, Duguza, Anaguta and Buji; to the South-West are the Berom and Irigwe, the Rukuba lay out ison the West, and at the Easternpart are the Sayawa of Botto in Bauchi, and Pyem in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State (Abok, 1988). Presently, the group that occupies the area of Pengana in Plateau State are called Afizere. The Afizere ceremonies are called “Izhak”for circumcision, “Igasang” for puberty, “Nyam” for huntingand “Unet”for burial. While the major annual festival in Afizereis the Igoon-Izerecultural festival, held in January of every year (Azi,1976).
Statement of the problem In the Nigerian society, cultural festivals exist among ethnic groups.There is hardly any ethnic group in Nigeria that does not hold one form of cultural festivals or the other. The cultural festivals generally have important functions attached to them however, the gradual dominance of western civilization on most Nigerian cultural heritages and values is alarming. Cultural festival in Afizere have existed for decades, but are gradually mixing up with other ethnic groups. Again, civilization is part of what is affecting the cultural festival.This means that, if no adequate researches are conducted and made available for generations to come, the younger generations may not have historical records of their cultural festival, as some cultural festivals are gradually fading out. Most cultural activities such as masquerading, dances, music, costume display and others which could have helped in sustaining these cultural festivalsare being marginalized and not given adequate attention in recent times. As such, there is a missing link that has been created due to the non-promotion of cultural activities, most especiallycultural festival practised by Afizere people of Plateau State. The non-explorations of these diverse Nigerian festivals have contributed immensely to the stagnation of the nation, against other western nations which have extremely benefited from several cultural festivals and carnivals. There is also,no or little documentation on many cultural festivals in Nigeria, and the cultural festival celebrated by the Afizere of Plateau State is not left out. The problem of this study is theinsufficient information available on the cultural festival ofAfizereethnic groupof Plateau State and the need to document the study for further scholarly studies and posterity.
Aim and objectives of the study The aim of this study is to appraisethecultural festival of theAfizere,while the objectives are to:
1. document the historical events of the cultural festival ofAfizereof Plateau State,
2. examine theroles of the cultural festival of the Afizere,
3. analyse the various artcostumes and instruments used by Afizere ethnic group duringthe cultural festival and
4. assess the sustainability of the Afizerecultural festival.
Research Questions
1. What are the historical events surrounding the cultural festival ofAfizereof Plateau State?
2. Find outthe roles of the cultural festivalof Afizere?
3. What are the various artcostumesand instruments used byAfizereethnic group during the cultural festival?
4. How sustainable is the Afizerecultural festival?
Justification of the study
There are quite a number of people in Nigeria, who have only heard of the festival existing inAfizere,but have not witnessed the cultural festival. Thismay be due to the current disturbances and crisis in Plateau State which have affected the official festival time which is meant to hold in January of every year. The Afizereethnic group are known to describe their cultural festival orally, as such, there are limitedliterature kept
specifically on the cultural festival of theAfizereethnic groupof Plateau State.This research is therefore meant to raise awareness on the cultural festival and artistic heritage of the Afizere ethnic group, and to document the basic elements enshrined in the cultural festival being practised. Looking at the trend of events in Nigeria, in the near future, there mightbe challengesin sustainingthe cultural festival activities of Afizere, thus the justification of this study. Significance of the study Generally, cultural festivals have specific reasons why such are performed, and mostly serveas social and aesthetic functions in different societies. The research has found out the historical events of the Afizere, and suggests possible ways to revive and maintain the festival in contemporary times. The study is significant because it is necessary for the coming generations to have the knowledge about the cultural festival in their society before they become extinct.Italso aids in reviving the Afizere cultural festival by elucidating its benefits. Itis equally significant because it will help in correcting misconceptions held by individuals towards the masquerades performances and dance participation in the festival. It will also add to the body of knowledge on the cultural festivals in Nigeria and further help in documenting the history of cultural festivals, which will serve as bedrock for academic researchers and the upcoming generation of the Afizere and the indigenes of Plateau State. Scope and Delimitation of the study
Afizereoccupies Jos North and Kanam Local Government Areas of Plateau State, and are also found in Bauchi and Kaduna States respectively.The research is therefore,
limited to the Afizeredomiciled in Jos East, where their rich cultural festivalare analysed and appraised.In cognizance to the fact that there have been studies on Afizere art practices, this research dwells on the cultural festivalwhich involves most of the ceremonies of the Afizere. These ceremonies include circumcision, puberty, hunting andburial ceremonies of the Afizere in Jos East, Plateau State and the impact of the festival on the societywith a population of about 124, 661 individuals (National Population Commission Statistic, 2017, http: costumes used during the festivalwere also sampled and analysed.This is purposely done to have a thorough investigation to reveal the aesthetictraits in the various elements used in the practice. Due to traditional rules and taboos, the researcherwas not able to gain access to all important ritual materials used for the cultural festival. As a result, some important information on this festival islimited. Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework for this study is hinged on the ideas of Okachi (2015), whose concept is on semiotics of sign as propended by Saussure (1857-1913) who defines sign as being composed of the signifier and signified. The „sign‟ being the wholeresults from the association of the signifier with the signifiedand the „signifier‟ as the form which the sign takes. The„signified‟ is the concept or content it represents, while the relationship between the „signifier‟ and „signified‟ is refered to as „signification‟. The signifier, signified and signification as applied in his study means the form, contents and significance or interpretation of Carnival in River State. Semiotics is the concept of the production of interpretation and meaning. This basic principle is that, meaning is made by the deployment of acts and objects which function as “signs” in relation to the other signs.
The concept of „sign‟ was used as the major theory for the realization of this research. According to Okachi (2015), the outcome reveals that the „sign‟ is the form (culture), „signifier‟ the context (carnival), the „signified‟ content (Artistic elements) and the signification the interpretation of the area of study. The culture as „sign‟ therefore,becomes the main pulling factor which influences visitors‟ initial decision to travel to destination in different parts of the world. It is not in doubt therefore, that the sign displayed by culture and traditions of the various ethnic groups that participated in the carnivals which reveal the context within the content such as the artistic elements (masquerades, dances, and mask) and branded events took center stage. The content which is the signified represent the inherent in the festival celebration, are the artistic elements in the cultural festival. This is showcased through masquerades performance and dance. Okachi (2015) states that, the relationship between the signifier and the signified refers to the interpretation and significance of the festival as indicated by the respondents in carrying out the study.The analogy of the festival performance and dancers permits the researcher to view the interpretation of this study from various angles. The events in turn are seen as important tool for attracting visitors, tourists and building image within different communities. The event promotes a level of interaction with the revelers and audiences, which leads to spectators participation.
The relevance of this concept to the research is to appraise and examine the role of the Afizere cultural festival and the impact of the festival on the society. The conceptual framework is therefore used toanalyse the forms, contents in the cultural festival, whichis the interpretation the ceremonies within the cultural festival will climax the appraisal of the festival of Afizerepeople of Jos East Plateau State.
Meanings of Terms Terms Associated with the Afizere (Jarawa) Agwom – King Acham – Youth Agwong Kuwop – Chief Priest Atsi – Priest Azhar – Rattle Ajankai – Masquerade Abage – Fierce masquerade Aner-katsiba – Town crier Atakanu – Lead dancer with ponytail or horse whip Asharwa – Flute Adakunom – Supreme Being Aware – Person in charge of circumcision Atarkai – Anklet Abiko – Drummers Ashirmi – Medium drum Akalangu – Talking drum Agbang-iben – Big drum Agbah – Elderly dance for royalty Akwam-icha – Prepared food Asirik-icha – Gruel made of acha Akpi – Leaves Adokoko – Crown cap
Agafu – Elderly men dancer Amata-orin – Elderly women dance Atum-itorop – Dangling ponytail or horse whip Igoon-Izere – Cultural festival Izhak – Circumcision Igasang – Puberty Isah-ashon – Ceremony for deceased grand father Iyak-abuko – Ceremony for deceased grand mother Ijak – Meat Itang – Flying belt Ite-rigwom – Longhorn Iben – Drum Itop – Small flute (as whistle) Ikirbi – Cowries Izem-kafak – Back belt Izem-atak – Right and left hand band Iben-tson – Twin-gong Kugpwa-ibon – Goat skin Kufe-be-agura – Wooden tray Kuseh – Stem of bamboo Kukon ibin – Drum‟s stick Ma-itang – Circumcision ash Nagwong – Hand ponytail or horse whip Nagong-ibok – Arm band Nyam – Hunting
Nanamang – Young female Ntoo – Dance Rigbah – Short horn Soyir – (spiritualLeader) Unet – Burial Other Terms are: Argungu – Festival to commemorate the Sultan‟s fondly visit to Katsina emirate after protracted hostility between Sokoto caliphates and Kebbi kingdom. Durba – Royal procession of artistic expression made by different people with various cultures, and also horse manship and preparedness for war. Egungu – Generic name given to all masks as spirit of departedrelative (ancestors who came down from heaven to visit and pray for them). Eyo – Masquerade to honour the deceased Oba of Lagos or any worthy indigene of Lagos during final burial rites. Sharo and Shadi – Flogging to test man endurance, for a young man who desires a bride and also for naming of first child and honour a chief. Sango – gods celebrated in Yoruba land in honour of the deitied Yoruba king (who is called god of thunder and lighting)


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