© Holyns Hogan, 2023
Etymologically, Ndom, the Efik word for chalk is religiously believed to come from the corruption of Ndem -the Efik generic or collective name for marine spirits (mermaids/mermen).
Ndem is equally seen as the plural form of Idem mmọñ or water deity in Efik cosmology and spiritism, aside being borne as Efik male name.
This belief (as previously noted in my related online article) is basically inspired by the reality that NDOM (as seen or applied from the perspective of Efik cosmology, spirituality and/or mythology) is often religiously and ritually conceived by believers as a sacred, ornamental, curative/natural endowment found mainly in coastal or wateriness territories as decor at Ndem’s vicinity/entrance to Ndem’s cove/ cave called Ekuk Idem mmọñ, Ekuk obom itiat or Ekuk itiat Ndom.
TYPES OF NDOM
Naturally, ndom comes in two (2) different types or main colours as follows.
1. AFIA NDOM (White Chalk)
This type of Ndom is usually all-white or whitish in colour.
2. AWA NDOM (Ashy/Gray Chalk)
This simply refers to the type of Ndom that comes in grayish/ashy colour. It is fully called awa ntọñ ndom. Note that AWA as Efik name for colours generally refers to all shades or grades of dark/deep or intermediate colours eg. Awawa (green), awa mmọñ ibọñ (pink), awa [ikpa] enyọñ (sky blue), awa ntọñ (Gray/ash), awa mmọñ inyañ (sea green) and awa ikọñ (leaf green).
Further note that Ndom sometimes carry both colours (1&2) and that doesn’t negate or change anything about its types as aforementioned.
3. IDUOT NDOM
This actually refers to the type of Ndom used mainly by the Ejagharm people to decorate/design Mọniñkim dancers as facial/body make-up. It is basically called because of its colour, not because it is derived from edem iduot leaf/plant as some people may wrongly think.
USES/PURPOSES OF NDOM
1. ORNAMENTAL/BEAUTIFICATION PURPOSE
Ndom is used for ornamental/beautification purpose(s). Mainly to achieve “aesthetic”/visual effects in arts and theatre paintings, drawings, scenic designs and make-up (facial, body, straight or costume type).
2. SACRED/RELIGIOUS PURPOSE
Ndom is used for religious or sacred purpose to evoke the highest level of critical consciousness in a believer about the nature, context and motif in which white symbolizes sanctity, sacredness or purity in Ndem Efik worship, entreaty or appeasement.
Precisely, Ndom is used to decorate and draw Ndem’s attention to key sacred objects of used by believers during Nden’s rituals, appeasement or worship session. For instance, Ndom is used to adorn the mirror, the maidens/priestest etc. seen during Ndem’s procession.
3. MEDICINAL/CURATIVE PURPOSE
Ndom is used in traditional medicine to prepare pasty concoction or lotion etc., to cure skin infections/ rashes. It can be added to enema to locally cure or calm severe stomach upset, internal heat or any other inner body ailment.
4. CULTURAL AND ARTISTIC PURPOSE
Ndom culturally and artistically used to enhance aesthetic in designs, pictographs, drawing and make-ups used in traditional plays, dance, pageantry and/or theatre settings/ performances. It is also used to design or decorate ñwan nkuhọ’s body and for Ekpe initiation purposes.
5. COMMERCIAL/ECONOMIC PURPOSE
Ndom is sold or commercially used to generate income and in so doing, serves employment and economic development purposes.