From Ajiri Daniels, Abuja
‘Journey to Igbo Civilization,’ a highly anticipated exposé on the historical and sociocultural cosmology of the Igbo ethnic group, one of the largest single ethnic groups in Africa, living primarily in southeastern Nigeria, is set for global release on various media platforms and TV Stations.
Created and produced by award-winning Director and Producer, Donald Iheonunekwu Oluchukwu, along with co-producers Ngozi Obi, and Uzoamaka U. Obi, in collaboration with MOB TV STUDIOS, the film takes an immersive look inside the age-long system of folk beliefs, traditions and socio-cultural heritage of the Igbo tribe, dispelling the most harmful misconceptions and reshaping the narrative on the origin and historical civilization of the Igbo ethnic group.
In the fact-based exposition, viewers are taken on an intimate journey where they learn more about the Igbo ethnic group, their culture, their traditional medical practices, the 1966 coup d’état, the Nigerian civil war, and events that reshaped the Igbo narrative following the war.
The narrator, Donald Iheonunekwu Oluchukwu, provides an origin story for the unique, beautiful, and artistic ways that Igbo people all over the world express themselves through their language, culture and socio-political ideologies. The epic documentary also explores other key elements such cultural fragmentation, political unpredictability, anti-Igbo pogroms, persecutions, and the vector of marginalization which have been the central themes underlying the Igbo history.
It may be noteworthy to mention that there is an ongoing debate over the Igbo ancestry. The Igbo people are thought to be descendants of Eri, a mythical deity who, according to legend, was sent by heaven to begin civilization. According to the Bible, Gad, one of Jacob’s sons with his concubine, was the father of Eri.
Aware of these growing contentions, and being a filmmaker who has always identified with culture, Iheonunekwu’s mission to spotlight the Igbo story was borne out of the desire to articulate an important history that chronicles the coming-of-age of the Igbos, and how the Igbo culture and civilization narrative deserves better visibility and acknowledgment.
Iheonunekwu, who discussed the inspiration behind the film, said “Journey to Igbo Civilization” was created out of a desire to find the answers to fundamental questions about the Igbo ethnic group’s existence and to shed light on the raging debate about the Igbos, who they are, and the seemingly endless tensions that exist between the Igbo and their neighbouring ethnic groups.
“I learned to view Igbo historically through the lenses and eyes of many people – first the Yoruba and then the Hausa. These are their close neighbours who tend to hold unfavourable views of the Igbo; the West also has its own misconception about the Igbo. It all became more intense, though, when I began to have inquiries regarding the Amalgamation, the discovery of the River Niger, and other topics. These inquiries piqued my curiosity and motivated me to conduct research. Along the way, I uncovered a ton of factual and historical proof that dispels a number of myths. Being Igbo is therefore an intriguing thing, and since I’m a filmmaker, why not make a documentary on your findings? So, I got in touch with Ngozi Obi, the well-known author of “Land of the Rising Sun,” and we got things going. Knowing who an Igbo man is, is where it all begins, and from there, you may discover the fascinating road to Igbo civilization.”
‘Journey to Igbo Civilization’ features foremost nationalist and first Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, son of late Igbo leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Jr., Nigerian activist Ralph Uwazuruike, Prof. Chidi Osuagwu, a Chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, award-winning Nollywood actress Patience Ozokwor, Nollywood veteran actor, Chiwetalu Agu, HRH Chukwuemeka Eri and a host of other cultural icons.
After receiving numerous nominations and awards, including the Best Documentary Film Award at the 19th Abuja International Film Festival and the 2022 Villafest Best Documentary Film Award, to name just a few, the award-winning documentary is scheduled to screen in major cities across the nation. According to the producers, The story of legacy exhibited in the documentary, deserves to be widely disseminated so that more people can learn about it and perhaps develop new perspectives on the Igbo narrative.