Photo credit : Original Source. Lifted from Facebook post by Bassey Edet Etim Ekpenyong in "The Efik People" platform.
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© Holyns Hogan, 2023

As a globally reputed Efik Prince, teacher, scholar and OtuEkong (ie. authorised defender, promoter and preserver of Efik heritage in theory and practice), it is very difficult for me to be silent or ignore what clearly adulterates [my] Efik cultural heritage with extinction threat engendered by ignorance and piteous submission to the influence of excess Western civilization.

Agreed that it is common (but not normal) for ignorance to unguidely argue/wrongly use self-undermining and “racially derogatory metaphor or tragic paradox as “Efik Edi Mbakara” to defend such strange acts that not only negate tradition and originality, but critically suggests the inferiority complex that makes it to arrogantly (yet wrongly) feel that Efik is really “mm’akara” when she unguidely europianizes her heritage.

No doubt beautiful, creditable and unquestionably okay by its wearer and maker’s informed choice and creativity. Yet, while I condemn not the persons involved in the making and choice of design made in this supposed Efik traditional marriage clothe worn in the attached picture, I remain resolute in my criticism that it, contrary to deserved or earned praises, far mis-represents original Efik Ọnyọnyọ, hence, not fit to be so called for negating original Efik traditional marriage gown in style/fashion.

Photo credit : Original Source. Lifted from Facebook post by Bassey Edet Etim Ekpenyong in “The Efik People” platform.

A critical insight is that Ọnyọnyọ (native/original to only Efik, despite being widely copied, admired/used globally by Efik neighbours and other ethnic groups) is never an “open back gown”, and doesn’t usually have “excess puffed designs” as seen in the hand and body of the dress.

Research however shows that most wearers, makers and sellers of Efik traditional/royal ceremonial attires are either not Efik or mixed-blood. Thus, they naturally care-less or don’t even understand what harm their ignorance causes Efik heritage’s posterity.