Martial Infidelity and Traditional Ritual Cleansing in Nsukka Cultural Area of Igboland

Author: Ossai Anayo Benjamin
Department: Religion and Human Relation
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The research studies the socio-religious significance of traditional ritual cleansing of infidelity among
people of Nsukka cultural area of Igboland. The work investigated the extent to which the ritual cleansing has helped in curbing marital infidelity in Nsukka area. This ritual has been misinterpreted by Christianity and some advocates of Westernization as victimization and marginalization against women. This dissertation argues that such expression may be misleading because the ritual is a mark of family identity that aims to achieve harmony with spiritual forces. The ritual is a holistic reconciliation between humanity and divinity within the cultural belief of Nsukka people for normalcy to return after marital infidelity. The work also argues that because ritual cleansings are also performed on men in some areas, it is not marginalization against women. Primary and secondary methods were` used in the data collection, while phenomenological approach was adopted in the interpretation of the data. It analyzed the ritual cleansing as a religious belief peculiar to Nsukka people. The study unveiled that the
ritual is an expression of strong family bond, maintenance of community consciousness and efforts for harmonious relationship with the supra mundane. Belief is as strong as reality, therefore it was discovered that this belief in ritual cleansing amply curbs marital infidelity among Nsukka people to a commendable degree. The study revealed the need and importance of “Igbo Renaissance”. The dissertation is of importance to the scholars and students of African religion and philosophy who may want to embark on similar study.

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