Ozi nkwado Ndi Igbo nke Ma'zi Chukwurah Emeagwali
degara Ndi Igbo bi na obodo Calgary, Canada n'oge emume
afo ncheta Igbo.
Ndi b'anyi ndeewo nu O!
felt honored when Ma'zi Kene Ufondu invited me to say
a few words to you. As part of your celebration, I urge
you to reflect and remember the contributions of tens
of millions of Diasporan Igbos (ndi bi n'Igbo Uzo, nwanne
di na mba) that left Ala Igbo a few centuries ago.
On Igbo Day, I remember Ma'zi Jubo Jubogha alias "Ja
Ja," the 12-year-old slave-boy that became King of
Opobo (Eze n'Opobu Igbo). Ma'zi Jubogha was summarily
tried in a British court and found guilty of "treaty
breaking." For "blocking the highways of trade,"
Ma'zi Jubogha was permanently exiled to Barbados and St.
Vincent, West Indies. He is now immortalized in Barbadian
folklore and song.
On Igbo Day, I salute Ma'zi Olaudah Equiano, another 12-year-old
slave-boy, for proudly writing: "I am Eboe"
(Abu m Igbo). I thank Ma'zi Equiano for providing us the
earliest written account of the culture and customs of
Ndi Igbo. I thank Ma'zi Equiano for chronicling the horrific
injustices of slavery.
The following chant mourned the loss of young Olaudah:
Who are we looking for, who are we looking for?
It's Equiano we're looking for.
Has he gone to the stream? Let him come back.
Has he gone to the farm? Let him return.
It's Equiano we're looking for.
Ma'zi Equiano is an ichie, nna-mmuo (revered ancestor,
great spirit). Scholars immortalized this nwa'afo Igbo
(true son of the soil) with the title: "father of
On Igbo Day, I invoke the spirits of the ten heroic "Eboe"
men, women, and children of Georgia's Sea Islands who
jumped off a slave ship and drowned themselves to escape
slavery. Sea Islands folklore recalls how ten defiant
and courageous "Eboe" slaves, shackled at their
ankles and necks, with tears in their eyes, chanted in
unison, the eerie refrain: "The water brought
us; the water will take us away."
The act of courage and fierce resistance of the "Eboes"
to the condition of bondage is immortalized in the folklore
and song of the Gullah people of coastal Georgia. May
the spirits of those "Lost Igbos" walk beside
you, whisper to you, and guide you in your quest for knowledge
Ma'zi Equiano described himself as a "stranger in
a strange land." As strangers in Canada, I commend
you for providing an opportunity for Umu Igbo to know
their brothers and sisters. Ndi b'anyi si na njiko ka,
mmadu ka e ji aba.
nwa Emeagwali bu onye onicha. Emeagwali dropped out of
school at the age of 12, served in the Biafran army at
the age of 14 and came to the United States on scholarship
in March 1974. Emeagwali won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize,
computation's Nobel Prize, for inventing a formula that
lets computers perform their fastest computations, work
that led to the reinvention of supercomputers. He has
been extolled by Bill Clinton as "one of the great
minds of the Information Age," described by CNN as
"A Father of the Internet," and is the world's
most searched-for scientist on the Internet.
The Lost Igbos
you consider yourself nwa afor Igbo? If yes, the following
quiz will determine your knowledge of Ndi Igbo. Post your
answers at emeagwali.com and/or igbo.biz.
1. When did Ndi Igbo emigrate to their
present location in Nigeria? Where did the Igbos emigrate?
What is the relationship between Ndi Igbo and the Bantus?
2. Which is the darkest holocaust of
Ndi Igbo? The Atlantic slave trade or Biafra? Did we learn
anything from the slave trade and/or Biafra?
3. How many Ndi Igbo were stolen during
the slave trade era? How many were converted to osu and
4. Which small Central American nation
has a place named "Eboe quarters?"
5. Can you name the Caribbean "Eboe
King" (Eze Igbo) that was executed for initiating
his Island's first slave uprising? What is the meaning
of the Haitian saying: “Ibos pend cor a yo”?
(i.e. Igbos hang themselves) Can you name the ancestral
village of Olaudah Equiano?
6. What percentage of the slaves in the
New World (North, Central and Latin Americas) could appropriately
respond to the exclamation "Igbo Kwenu?"
7. What is the full name of Dr. Baker
or the first white man to travel into Igbo heartland?
The Igbo expressions Ala Bekee, Ndi Bekee translates to
"land of Baker, white people."
8. Who is James Africanus Horton? Why
is he called the father of Igbo self-determination?
9. Why is Edward Wilmot Blyden called
the "father of West African nationalism? Where did
he refer to himself as "a true son of the Eboe tribe?"
10. What document contains the first
recorded misspelling of "Igbo?" Hint: Igbo was
previously misspelled as "Heebo," "Eboe,"
"Ebo," and "Ibo." Is the Igbo language
will forward a few photographs under a separate email.
Below are direct links to 30 digitized and professional
Thirty high-resolution photos (in uncompressed bitmap
and tiff formats) and their detailed captions can be downloaded
Excerpt from Emeagwali’s interview published in
Portuguese language in the Brazilian newspaper O Estado
de S. Paulo (www.estadao.com.br, September 11, 2001).