The Ethical, Social and Judicial Significance of the Ekpe Fraternity Shrine Among the Effik
Traditional institutions and shrines play very important roles in the life of the communities within which they are situated in the African setting. These traditional institutions and shrines have existed from earliest times and in some cases are as old as the communities where they exist. Prior to the advent of Christianity, Islam and other external modernization influences, the traditional institutions and shrines had very far-reaching and important influences. However, in spite of the impact of these external forces, traditional institutions and shrines have maintained a central focus in the cosmic life of the typical African man and the community at large. This is because, though the African may not believe in the efficacy of the traditional institutions and shrines he is still conscious of their existence and influences. Thus in most cases, the individual conducts his/her affairs in such a way that he/she tries to avoid contact or conflict with the shrine and traditional institutions or their ceremonies. One of such traditional institutions and shrines is the Ekpe Fraternity shrine among the Efik of the lower Cross River Basin. The fraternity shrine had played a very major and significant role in the past and still plays some roles in the present. Although its influence had declined due to the introduction of modern institutions of government and the impact Christianity, it still plays a role in the lives of the inhabitants of the community. In this paper, we shall be considering the ethical-social and judicial significance of the Ekpe fraternity shrine and the changing roles of the fraternity over the years in the Efik community.
SOPHIA: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 9 (1) 2006: pp. 45-48