“Anansa doesn’t own Calabar”… Controversy Surrounds Youngbone Manuels’ Latest Music Video

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In a recent music video released on 22nd April, rising artist Youngbone Manuels has stirred up controversy with his lyric, “Calabar obio Anansa,” which translates to “Calabar, home of Anansa.” The song, which delves into the nocturnal allure of contemporary Calabar, the capital city of Cross River state in Nigeria, has sparked heated discussions on social media platforms NEGROIDHAVEN can say.

While some listeners resonated with the artistic expression of Calabar’s cultural and historical significance, others, like Holyns Hogan and Efikpedia Esoterica, have raised objections to the portrayal of Anansa as the sole deity associated with the city.

Hogan pointed out that the Efik culture acknowledges multiple deities beyond Anansa, suggesting a more nuanced understanding of the region’s spiritual heritage. Additionally, Efikpedia Esoterica emphasized that while Anansa holds prominence in Efik mythology, she is not the exclusive deity of Calabar.

According to Hogan, “note that Anansa is actually not Efik mother deity but one of the major or lead [founding] famous deities of “Efik Iboku”… precisely made up of Iboku, Obutong, Adiabo, Mbiabo, Enwang, UsuAkpa and Abayen, aside the Eniong led five Eburutu groups that now make Efik 12 ancestral clans in all. Also note that long before the birth of Anantigha and Anansa was heard in Calabar, Eniong, Ito, Ukwa and Idere, otherwise seen as Efik Iboku eldest cousins/kin had marine deities that served their territorial needs and spiritual purposes. Don’t equally forget that Anansa has equals or contemporaries as Afia Añwan, Ekpenyọñ and Ekanem Ukim etc.

“However, despite her recorded fame, grace and feats as one of the Efik’s highly deified and feared water goddess of the originally enlarged Iboku (specifically comprising the top seven initial Efik ancestral clans in now Efik 12 ancestral clans list), there isn’t any Efik oral literature or written history that extols Anansa as the original owner of Calabar”.

On its part, Efikpedia Esoterica an online repository which argued that the Anansa is merely famous added, “that despite being seen at some traditional religious quarters as the best and most regarded deity in Efik Ndemism/Ndemology, it is not Anansa but a collection of all major Ndem Efik Iboku that share the glory (if any), for being integral spiritual parts of the Usan Abasi that truly symbolized Efik/ Calabar popular ancient religion that long predated the advent of Christianity in Africa.

Anansa is a marine deity allegedly invented in around 1300 A.D by Enwañ one of Efik’s Clan to facilitate Efik spirituality. Revered in Efik cosmology, mythology, literature and theophany as an “afia anwan idem”, is said to have spiritually appeared as foggy/hazy atmosphere that naturally seemed like a dense smoky cloud produced by “Asikọñ”. Depicted as a half woman half fish; a serpent with cockcomb figurine head; or a brazen serpent with fish tail and pretty fair lady’s head, was last publicly deified by Efik king and nation in the 1970s. Since then, critics believe that Christianity seems to have diminished the influence of Anansa in contemporary Calabar.

Recall that in 2023 prior to the annual Festival of Glory (FoG) program, the senior pastor of Bible Christian Crusaders Mission (BCCM), Joseph Ifeanyichukwu Okoro, alleged that he had driven Anansa far away from Calabar.