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article imageDancing young boy wins scholarship at funeral ceremony Special

By Samuel Okocha     Apr 16, 2012 in World
Last month I travelled to Edo, the southern Nigerian state where the culture-rich ancient city of Benin is located. My destination was Uromi, a town of almost an hour drive from Benin, the state capital.
It was a Friday, a day the funeral rite of the late mother of one of my bosses in the office took place.
I had volunteered to be part of the trip. Why? My boss was a nice boss. At least in my own thinking. He was unassuming, down to earth and really good on the jobs - you could learn quite a lot from him if you want to. Another reason, and may be, most importantly, was that I had always wanted to visit Edo, even if it’s just to spend a night.
Activities had picked up when we arrived. What strike you about the culture of the Edo people are their beads. They are beautiful and quite unique. Look at the one the mother in the pix below is wearing.
A mother at the funeral rite with her child
A mother at the funeral rite with her child
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Shortly after arrival, we were quickly welcomed and seated. We had some cold beer, and later, some fried chicken to go with. I was not shy. I gulped my share.
At a point in the heat of the funeral rite, characterized with traditional music, the rains started. The cloud had been heavy with signs that it was going to rain, but we had ignored it. "Someone must have held the rain," I and my colleague thought.
Edo and other parts of southern Nigeria share tales of how, through diabolic means, rain makers can cease or cause rain. This time it appeared there was a battle: one that is between the good-those who are ceasing the rain; and the bad-those who want the rain pour.
But why would any one want a down pour?
This is an august occasion, where people had come from far and near to witness the funeral rights of an aged woman whose children were performing creditably well. "They [rain makers] were not settled," my friend who is experienced in the matter muttered, as rains sprinkled from the sky with steady and increasing intensity. Rain makers can be many and settling everyone or group is almost impossible, we both agreed.
The rain fell. It stopped in about an hour. The funeral rights continued. And the highpoint for me came.
The young boy dancing to the admiration of other dancing adults during a funeral ceremony in Uromi  ...
The young boy dancing to the admiration of other dancing adults during a funeral ceremony in Uromi, Edo state, southern Nigeria.
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This small boy who danced so well was becoming a centre of attraction. His distinctive dancing skills were so evident that he won a scholarship in the funeral ceremony.
The dancing young boy and the musician
The dancing young boy and the musician
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“This boy from today is my son, an awed Musician whose magical artistry on the guitar had set the ground to a dance hall, with the boy taking the centre stage. ‘I will sponsor is education,’ he added.
The musician carrying the young boy at the climax of the music- and dance-filled funeral ceremony
The musician carrying the young boy at the climax of the music- and dance-filled funeral ceremony
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More about Uromi, Boy, Edo, Musician, Nigeria
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