Awareness of the Inheritance of the Girlchild in Igboland
By Dr Folakemi Ogungbe
The AHSCE (African Hub For Sustainable Creative Economies) Lagos Hub Voucher scheme presents a series of exciting projects.
On the 4th of October, 2022, the CPC for Lagos, Dr. Folakemi Ogungbe, led a series of interesting chats with the collaborators on “the Awareness of the Girlchild in Igboland.” First, let us tell you about this star-studded team of three.
Dr. Maureen Ndu is an academic and a practitioner all rolled into one. She holds a PhD in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan. Dr. Ndu is from the Igbo speaking region of Nigeria. She is passionate about girlchild rights, and she has always been worried about issues of marginalisation, patriarchy, and male chauvinism in the adjudication of the inheritance rights of the girlchild in Igboland. The AHSCE voucher scheme gives her an opportunity to lend a voice to this situation through the staging of a play and help jump-start the movement for change in this regard.
Prof Molinta Enendu is a professor of theatre arts at the University of Calabar. Professor Enendu also teaches part-time at the Madonna University Okija. He has led several interesting projects bothering on Theatre Arts for social change and development. He aligns his vision with the likes of the playwright and academic, Prof. Femi Osofisan, in his advocacy for Arts for life’s sake and not Arts for Arts sake. He believes that Arts must help in grassroots development as there are a myriad of social economic issues bothering Africa that cannot be swept aside.
Mr. Emmanuel Orisunmibare (Emmylyskilz) is a theatre arts practitioner and entrepreneur with formal training at the University of Ibadan. Emmanuel has never been to the Eastern part of Nigeria before but he is happy to partner with Dr. Ndu and Prof. Enendu on this project. Emmanuel’s company, StageAlive has staged several shows in Ibadan. Emmanuel is not afraid to break new grounds. He is excited at the prospects that this collaboration portends in the future. He would also like to make out time to physically visit Okija to watch the staging of the shows. Emmanuel, from the Yoruba-speaking side of Nigeria, who is a creative director and producer, is happy to collaborate with the Igbo speaking collaborators on this project leveraging on technology for rehearsals and meetings. He is grateful to the AHSCE for this opportunity.
Leading the conversation, Dr Maureen Ndu tells us that a lot of girls and women have been marginalised and discriminated against after the death of their father because they are unaware of their rights as women. These ladies are easily intimated and cower when relatives prevent them for inheriting their father’s houses, lands, and farms. One uncomplicated way to mitigate against this is to encourage fathers to write a will before their deaths.
Prof Enendu explains the relationship between Academia and the society, stating that “in everyday dramaturgy, the material is got from the society, re-organised and presented back to the society,” In this sense, academia help to reset the society, addressing a malfunction at a time. Prof. Enendu states that he has worked on various projects targeted at social development. One interesting project that he has worked on is a sensitisation drama programme on the marginalisation of the girlchild’s education in Igboland. He states that he was quite pleased with the outcome of that programme.
Emmanuel leads us through the projects that he had embarked on in Ibadan which includes a stage adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which was adapted into Akinola’s Arike. Emmanuel states that the play received critical acclaim in Ibadan, and they had two re-runs based on the success of the first show. He states that StageAlive has been presenting plays almost on a monthly basis for the past seven years and it has been quite interesting. This present project with the AHSCE is however pushing him into new directions and he is excited about the prospects that will come from it. One thing that stands out for him is that he already finds parallels in the Yoruba culture.
Dr. Ndu is planning an evaluation at the end of the project. This is to access the level of influence that the project has had on the participants. She says that this step is particularly important to her as an academic.
At the AHSCE, we are equally excited by the prospects of this project as one of the UN Sustainable Development goals is gender equality. We are looking forward to the play that will be staged in response to this need in the local community and we are also looking forward to see the influence that this project will have on a short term and how it can jumpstart a long term movement in the Igbo society. We wish Dr Maureen Ndu, Professor Molinta Enendu and Mr. Emmanuel Orisunmibare success in their project.
We will be bringing you updates on this project soon. Watch this space!