Edited by Azizi Powell
This post presents information about the Efik ethnic population who are primarily located in southeastern Nigeria. This post also showcases seven YouTube videos of some traditional Efik dances. Selected comments from some of these featured videos are included in this post.
The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE EFIK PEOPLE
"The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southeastern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River State. The Efik speak the Efik language which is a Benue–Congo language of the Cross River family. The Efik migrated down the Cross River from Arochukwu and founded numerous settlements in the Calabar and Creek Town area. They had sojourned from Nubia through to Ghana and then Arochukwu in present-day South East Nigeria. After staying there harmoniously as guests for about 400 years (11th - 15th century), they left after a disagreement with the Aros. The bulk of them left to Uruan in present-day Akwa Ibom State, some to Eniong and surrounding areas. They stayed in Uruan for about a hundred or so years and then moved to Ikpa Ene and Ndodihi briefly before crossing over to their final destination in Creek Town (Esit Edik / Obio Oko). Creek Town and its environs are often commonly referred to as Calabar, and its people as Calabar people, after the European name Calabar Kingdom given to the state [in present-day Cross River State. Calabar is not to be confused with the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State which is an Ijaw state to its west. Cross River State with Akwa Ibom State was formerly one of the original twelve states of Nigeria known as the Southeastern State.
The Efik people also occupy southwestern Cameroon including Bakassi. This area, a trust territory from German Cameroon, was administered as a part of the Eastern Region of Nigeria until it achieved autonomy in 1954, thus separating the Efik people politically. This separation was further extended when as a result of a 1961 plebiscite the area voted to join the Republic of Cameroon. Most of the area was immediately transferred, but it wasn't until August 2006 that Nigeria handed over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon...
Although their economy was originally based on fishing, the area quickly developed into a major trading centre and remained so well into the early 1900s. Incoming European goods were traded for slaves, palm oil and other palm products. The Efik kings collected a trading tax called comey from docking ships until the British replaced it with 'comey subsidies'.
The Efik were the middle men between the white traders on the coast and the inland tribes of the Cross River and Calabar district. Christian missions were at work among the Efiks beginning in the middle of the 19th century. Even by 1900, many of the native peoples were well educated in European ideologies and culture, professed Christianity and dressed in European fashion.
A powerful bond of union among the Efik, and one that gives them considerable influence over other tribes, is the secret society known as the Ekpe, the inventor of the Nsibidi, an ancient African Writing....
The Efik people speak the Efik language, which is a Benue–Congo language of the Cross River family."
From http://www.efikdc.org/about-nka-ikem-esit/who-are-the-efiks/ Who Are the Efiks
"The Efiks inhabit the coastal area of South Eastern Nigeria and are very well known nationally and internationally partly because of the prominence of Calabar in Nigerian history and also due to their rich cultural heritage. Among the broad culture of the Efiks are “Ekombi”, the Efik classical music, “Ukwa”, the only fencing match in sub-Saharan Africa, “Mbuk”, a collection of Efik folklore, and “Ekpe”. Abang dance is performed for entertainment and at festive occasions. The dance can be simple as well as elaborate with many interpretations behind it. The most famous cuisine “Edikangikong” is renowned as next to none in Nigeria.
There are a host of other traditional dance forms. “Nkuho”, where a young female, who is about to be betrothed in marriage, is confined, taught and molded into womanhood. Here she learns moral values of the community and how to appreciate herself. While in confinement, she is not allowed to do any chores. Instead, she eats as much as she wants; is pampered and taught the Ekombi dance in preparation for the day that she comes out of the confinement. She is not allowed any male visitors except her suitor. The length of time in the confinement has changed over the years."
Source: Akak, Okon E., “Efiks of old Calabar (1982), Vol III, Calabar; Akak & Sons Publisher.
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest dated video given first.
Example #1: Afô ke-edi (Ibibio luv song)
A krachouse Company Uploaded on Oct 31, 2006
Ibibio love song (kind of blues and a lil bit rnb)
The lyrics are translated from Efick to English in the video's sub-titles.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
A M A K U Fruitarian, 2009
"Yeah this is definitely Efik. From what I've been told, xto is Oron but here in this video he's singing in Efik and got the whole Efik costume, Afia awan and everything. Efik and Ibibio dance and music styles are VERY different. Couldn't confuse them at all. There's nothing wrong with recognizing the differences. It would be ignorant not to. Both traditions are rich and distinct in their own way.
"...The song is EFIK, and the dance is an EFIK dance called EKOMBI! The tittle is misleading"
"Brings back so many pleasant memories. On the difference between Efik and Ibibio, there is none. According to E.N. Amaku, the Efiks are Ibibio. The indigenous dialect of mainland Calabar is Ejagham (Ekoi). Even Hope Waddell land (Leopardstown) is Ekoi. Efik language and the Efiks are Uruan. As you can see from the google maps Uruan and Duke Town, Creek Town etc are on opposite banks of Akwa Akpa Uruan (Great Uruan River - Cross River Estuary). Somehow the Uruan dialect(Efik) dominated the area."
Asari Ekpes, 2012
"MY WONDERFUL EFIK CULTURE AND LANGUAGE...I wanna goo home..."
"I love the footwork. Looks like they are floating. soooo beautiful"
"The title is very misleading. The music, dance, clothing, masquerade and everything in his video is pure Efik and not Ibibio"
Example #2: Efik dance 1.mp4
owoito, Uploaded on Nov 11, 2011
Here's a comment from this video's discussion thread:
bassey bassey, 2016
"A typical Efik cultural heritage, absolutely awesome!"
Example #3: Efik Dance Nigeria
fulani100, Published on Oct 28, 2012
A dance that the Efiks do during the traditional wedding of one of theirs
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread
"nteje dancing is always graceful, but why do you guys loooove to fatten up your maidens before the wedding?? Slender beautiful girls enter the fattening rooms and emerge humungous!!"
"The seclusion that we call Nkuho is not really about being fattened up. It's a rite of passage into womanhood. They don't emerge humongous, those who are prone to gaining weight do gain a lot of weight when they are in the seclusion because they are literally not allowed to do anything except learn how to be an Efik woman and many of the maidens loose the weight when they go back to their normal life. If you look at other pictures of Efik maidens you would see that they are not all humongous as you rudely put it."
Su Fang, 2015
"What's up with the guy dropping dollar bills!!!! Is he wife shopping? How sad..."
Erezi Ogbimi, 2016
"+Su Fang it's part of Nigerian culture"
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/09/pinning-birthday-dollars.html for a pancocojams post that explains the Nigerian (and some other African nation's custom) of spraying cash money on dancers and other performers y as indications of blessing and approval. This custom is also found among people in some other African nations. It seems to me that spraying money is particularly a custom among some West Africans. And I think that there's little doubt that this custom is the source of some African Americans' practice of pinning dollars on the dress top or shirt of people who are celebrating their birthday.
Example #4: Ekombi Dance - Efik
Eyen Efik Published on Jul 19, 2013
Ekombi is a traditional dance amongst the Efik people in Calabar, Cross River State - Nigeria.The movements are derived from the motions of the ocean. It is a graceful dance with incredible footwork, it's a dance of peace and happiness. Ekombi shows a woman's beauty and femininity, the dance is also a good platform to choose a partner for marriage.
Selected comments from this video's discussion thread:
"what are those golden decorations in her hair called????"
Eyen Efik, 2015
"+pwetty4r4 there are called "brass combs." The Efik women adorn their hair with brass combs to depict wealth and royalty"
Example #5: Efik music: Yak Ntobo Fi Eftop by Offiong Peter Effiom
Eyen Efik Published on Jul 19, 2013
Artist: Offiong Peter Effiom
Title: Yak Ntobo Fi Eftop
Music Genre: Highlife
Example #6: Nnabo 1 - Efik Masquerade
Eyen Efik, Published on Jul 21, 2013
Nnabo is one of several Efik masquerades in Calabar, Cross River State - Nigeria. Nnabo was used by our fore-fathers to fight war against their enemies.
Example #7: Nnabo 3 - Efik Masquerade
Eyen Efik, Published on Jul 3, 2014
Masquerades are one of the oldest traditional and cultural events amongst the Efik of Cross River State, Nigeria. Masquerades are deeply rooted in the traditional religion and are accompanied with chants, songs, and dances.
Okut Ama Edi Ukut Iso
Edidem Ekpo Okon
More videos of Nnabo masquerade:
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