War dances and cultural identities: a study of the Ogbo dance of Ahaba community in Delta State

  • Nicholas Chielotam Akas
Keywords: Ahaba Experiences, Ritual Purification, and Cultural Identification


Ritual Dance is an indispensable performance in the Ahaba community in Delta State because it serves as the connecting link between the world of the living, the dead, and the unborn. Unfortunately, ritual dance has received myopic interpretation as a performance that is totally against the Westernized belief system on morality and idolatry, thereby making some ritualistic dances go into extinction. This debased ideology on ritual dance triggered the aim of this study, to sensitize people that all ritual dances are culturally inspired. The researcher sets to examine the different iconic symbols used in the performance, which made each community where they existed stand out and to interrogate why these ageless ritualistic dances are going into extinction and the possible ways of reviving them. The methodology suitable for this research is descriptive and interpretative design methods, where the researcher will collect data and analysed them accordingly. The theoretical framework for this research is the Cultural Identification theory. Findings exposed how some people dread the selected dance because of its initiation style, form, beliefs cum principles, while some who are members already want to denounce their membership, thereby creating more worrisome impressions on the true image of the dance. In conclusion, ritual dance should not be written off out rightly as being mundane, but empirical studies make it communally appreciated and valued. Historically Ahaba communities are made of warriors who fought for the safety of their community during the warrior. A lot of people were killed during the war by Ahaba warriors. But years later the blood of people they killed during wars started tormenting them and causing a lot of havoc among the warriors, especially when they retired. So Ogho ritual dance was introduced as a purification means to cleanse and separate the living warriors from the spirits of the dead.


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eISSN: 1595-1413