Afuze people of Nigeria

Afuze people of Nigeria




           Growing up in Africa is adventurous, especially when it is in the rural part of Nigeria. The name of my village is Afuze and I will tell you about the history, culture and traditions of my people. Afuze  is located in the south-south zone of the country. 

            Traditionally, "Afuze" means "the home of the blessed". My late grandmother once told me that the village was named after a stream called "the stream of blessings". It was told that the original inhabitant of the village, traditionally called, "ogendengbe" were warriors who miigrated to the land after losing their lands and properties in a siege on their community. They found the stream after twenty one days of thirst and hunger in the desert. They were so excited that the gods were favorable to them, and named the stream "the stream of blessings". It is said that Kings were bathed in this stream before their coronation. The village has so many strange and beautiful stories surrounding it creation.

          Geo-politically, Afuze is the headquarter of Owan East Local Government, in Edo State. It shares common boundaries with villages like Iruekpen, Ekpoma and Auchi. The village covers an area of 6,000 sqkm and has a population of 10,000 people. This population constitutes old women and children, whose parents had left with their ageing grandparents before migrating to urban areas in search for greener pastures.

           The people of Afuze are majorly peasants. Few of the educated people living there are retired teachers, doctors and civil servants who had returned home, after spending the most beautiful part of their lives in urban areas.
In a world where religious intolerance is gradually becoming the new normal, the people of Afuze are accommodative and tolerant. People from different religious background are seen living side by side in the same compound. Some Muslems and even Christians, participates in the rich cultural heritage of the village. 

           One of these cultural practice is the local festival held annually in the town-hall. The festival marks the celebration of the early settlers of the village, the war they fought and the coronation of the first King. 
Tradition has it that one of the Christian preachers, who failed to join them in the celebration in time past, because of his religious fanatism, later commended the efforts of the elders for organizing a  festival that allows people from different cultural and religious background to celebrate their feats together. It is also said that there is no celebration that surpasses this celebration in the community.

        Although, the village is not exposed to modern facilities and technologies, the residents are passionate about Education. My late grandmother told me before she passed on, that the first commissioner of Education in Edo State, was from our village. According to her, this commissioner advocated for the establishment of the first community Secondary School and College of Education in the village.

         Education is important to the people of Afuze, and it has already become a joint venture between the government and the few rich people in the community. As a result of this, there are seven Secondary Schools in my village, one University and two Colleges of Education.  
One of the most prominent  boarding school in Nigeria, is located in my village. It is owned by the richest man in Afuze. It offers free education to about 500 students annually. 

         However, the school was recently closed down by Government directives. I don't know how true it is, but rumour has it that, the school was closed down, because  dead human parts were found in some bags in the proprietor's car. It was later discovered that these human parts were five students from the free school who was declared missing on their way home for vacation. There are many of these stories about rich people in Afuze and the source of their wealth. Personally, I believe they are mere fabrication of lies, constructively construed to bring down the honorable people of my village.

            Regardless of what is happening, Afuze is gradually becoming a modern community. The youths are returning home,  to establish small lucrative businesses to sustain their family members and the Government representatives in the village are developing our rich cultural heritage into tourist centers, to promote national tourism. It's a place to visit!

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