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Fefegha, Sunday Alawei (1988) Divination in the Niger Delta with reference to Epie-Atissa community. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis focuses on various aspects of divinatory practices in Epie-Atissa, in the Central Niger Delta of Nigeria, which fall into two main categories, namely: the communal and individual or private types of divination. There are two main instruments for communal divination - the aganaga, 'ladder' divination and its variation, the ugbolo, 'staff' divination. The first is restricted specifically for post-mortem divination, which determines how the dead is buried, that is, if he or she died practising 'witchcraft', ida or not. This is ascertained through Utoken, 'the Earth goddess', to the 'ancestors', inibudu. The second, ugbolo divination is used in connection with other crisis related catastrophes, such as sickness, etc., except death. Both are restricted to communal 'shrines', ugula under the idiomu, operated by men only. The third are the individual or private types of divination which are open to both men and women diviners who make use of various instruments, under an elaborate, ritualistic system. When examined in the light of some of the prevailing theories on the phenomenology of divination in Africa, it was discovered that divinatory practices in Epie-Atissa fall within the categories of possession and intuitive types, with characteristics appertaining to them. Lacking, however, is wisdom divination which is practised among the Yoruba, notable of which is the Ifa divination, and also among the Ibo. An attempt has therefore been made to explain why this is lacking in Epie-Atissa. This thesis therefore assembles some of the most important types of divination in Epie-Atissa, describes, analyses and examines them in the light of various prevailing theories about divinatory practices. It is in several ways a typological study of divination which highlights the praxis, functions and characteristics of these various types of divination. It explains why people become diviners, the various clientele, the reasons for going to the diviners, and the economic importance of this occupation in Epie-Atissa.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:57

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