ÉKÈTÈ: MEANING, ORIGIN AND TYPES -By Họlyns Hogan

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© Họlyns Hogan, 2023

1. MEANING OF EKETE

Ekete broadly refers to the Efik name for a small, native, fresh-palm frond basket used [traditionally] by occults, native priest, witch-doctors, herbalist or pagan for religious veneration, juju or occult[ic] sacrifice purpọses in shrines, on roads, junction, village square/market places etcetera. It is learnedly conceived as one of Efik’s most pọpular ancient spiritism tools, worship modes, symbols/ esoterica that trascendentally point beyond mundanism to extra-mundanism in original Efik polytheism foundation in Ndemism (belief in Ndem deity) and Mbukpoism/Atěism (the belief in mbukpo or ancesteral spirits) and Myampeism (the belief in Ekpe or Mkpe) as triumvirate-linkers of man, nature and society to Ata or Akwa Abasi Ibom (the Almighty God and author of Enyọñ Ibom- Heaven/sky; Inyañ Ibom-the ocean/water bodies; and ererimbot- the universe/world). (Source: Hogan, Họlyns (2023). Efik Ancient Religion, Deistic Esoterica and Poetic Implications. LAP-UK, Hogiftz Press. All rights reserved.). Also see Aye (1991), Goldie (1864) et al for further reading and assertions.

Note in the above definitive/lexical premises that “Ekete characteristics”, major users and purposes are clearly embeded/encapsulated for better understanding, interpretation, usage or evaluation by sundry readers of Efik and non-Efik origins.

2. EKETE ORIGIN/ETYMOLOGY

Etymologically, Ekete simply derived from the meaningful corruption of marriage between two Efik words- EKE (that of, belonging to, for the, eg. eke nyin-ours, eke iren-men’s); and ATÈ (Dead Patriarchs, seen broadly as lead integral part of Mbukpo, the Efik name for the spirit of the intered dead-Ekpo, drawn from Okpo-corpse; derived figuratively from Mbu-Okpo- rot corpse- to infer dead soul and/or ancestral spirits, usually not less than a decade after death/burial.

Therefore, Ekete etymologically translates directly to that which belongs to; is intended for; or offered as “sacrifice bowl”/ “physio-spiritual dinner plate” for the spirits-of highly respected late partriarchs, nobles, kings, the gods etc., believed to have spiritual powers, wisdom or ability to guide, protect/bless the living when traditionally consulted, appeased or entreated by believers for good and/or evil (Hogan, 2023).

3. TYPES OF EKETE

Depending however on purpọse, viewpoint or perception Ekete are broadly classified as follows.

1. EKETE UWA

Reserved usually in shrines for use in offering sacrifice of blood, sacred ornaments, recommended worship or appeasement items, not limited to animate/inanimate things, including flowers, egg, cowries, chalk, food items, money, baby, humans private parts, goat, native hen etc.

2. EKETE IBỌK

Strictly for juju/evil purposes. Found mostly [placed] along major or local road-sides, junctions, near or under monumental trees planted around or used by occults, witches, ritualists or herbalists as “night temples” etc.

3. EKETE [UDIỌK] ABAÑ ISỌÑ

Used mainly by traditionalists in the ancients or very remote Efik towns/villages to place deistic native water pots meant not to touch the earth, usually used to house an animal totem or symbol of a god[dess] of believer (s). It is also known to be used for the placement of a magic or juju pot in a village’s main shrine or private chamber, from where a king drinks and lives invincibly by the special waters of the gods, particularly in times of war, threats to life or fear of evil death by foes.

4. EKETE ISO NDEM

Imagined by believers to spiritually exist at “a river head” or “sea chest”/entrance to Ndem’s marine cove/cafe …as final “offering basket” or “sacred bowl” to which all accepted Ndem worship, entreaty and/or consultation items are emptied.

5. EKETE IBUOT IDEM

Traditionally carried/seen adorning the headgear of some Efik ancient masqurades eg. Okpo Ekak/Nsibidi and/or Idem Ibọk.

6. EKETE ISIN

A figurative or humorous phrase used differently to admire, abuse/ridicule women with “healthy waist”/ “chubby buttocks”.

 

Hogan is a prolific Efik scholar, he writes from the ancient port city of Calabar