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Since I wrote this post on sex work in pre-colonial Igboland, my interest in sex work as it exists (or not) in the history of West African peoples grew immensely. I was especially pleased to come across, Emmanuel Akyeampong’s research on sexuality and prostitution among the Akan of the Gold Coast, looking through the years […]

Ahebi Ugbabe’s life story is to me, equal parts fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating because Ahebi Ugbabe was a woman ahead of her time, and her story provides incredible insights into pre-colonial Igbo attitudes towards gender and sex. And frustrating because of the exact same reason; that is pre-colonial Igbo attitudes towards gender and sex. Ahebi […]

Nwando Achebe writes that “woman-to-woman marriage in Africa has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality” (emphasis hers)…and I actually agree with this…kind of. While I strongly believe in pre-colonial lesbian secret societies littered across the African continent, at the risk of falling into the trap of Eurocentric and Western (mis)understanding of African social institutions, it […]

In Nwando Achebe’s recount of Ahebi Ugbabe’s life, she looks into the practice of marrying women to Goddesses as a sort of human sacrifice and slavery system. With the abolition of the international slave trade in 1805, some Igbo people created new deities and mystical forces that were to help them fight the internal slavery […]

As can be expected with most things related to African history there is extremely little information on sex work in pre-colonial African societies out there. It is for this reason that I was doubly excited that Nwando Achebe dedicated part of her research to revealing the intricacies of sex work in Igboland (particularly among the […]

After an extended delay I am back to write on select topics regarding women and society in pre-colonial and colonial Igbo land. This series of posts are based on reading Nwando Achebe’s The Female King of Colonial Nigeria: Ahebi Ugbabe. * When I really started delving into Nigerian history, I started close to home, that […]

When I read the title of Minna Salami’s most recent post, “There were no matriarchies in precolonial Africa”, my first thought was “oh no but this is a generalisation!” I approached the post carefully and by the time I had finished reading it, I found that I agreed with most of Salami’s points. Especially when […]