Discover Ibibio

Ibibio is the language of the Ibibio people of South South Nigeria in Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State, and Eastern Abia State. It comes from the Cross River language cluster and is a member of the Niger–Congo Language family. Ibibio is spoken by over 6 million people in Nigeria.

Main Communities

Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket, Oron

Common Names and their Meanings:

  • Edidion - blessing
  • Adiaha -first daughter
  • Mmenyenemem - I now have peace
  • Nkpoikankeabasi - nothing is hard for god
  • Uyai - beauty 

Staple Food

Afang soup - This delicacy is a thick stew primarily featuring Afang leaves. It is cooked with palm oil, a variety of meats, and spices. Afang leaves strengthen the immue system and are great for bone and heart health due to their rich supply of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and antioxidants.

Culture and Traditions

Ekpo masquerades - these masquerades represent ancestors and are considered intermediaries between the physical world and the afterlife. The Ekpo masquerade costumes are made from organic materials like raffia, leaves, animal hides, and intricately carved wooden masks, embellished motifs and important symbols. The masquerades dance to cultural routines at special events and their dances tell tales and deliver messages to the neighbourhood. 

Mbopo This ritual consists of fattening young women in preparation for marriage in an effort to enhance the beauty of an unmarried woman and prepare her for married life. During this process, the maiden learns details about childcare, motherhood, how to keep a home among other skills. Maidens may stay in the fattening house for a period of three months to seven years where they are are well fed well and not expected to do any labour. Mbopo is a practice that is currently dying out. 

Notable figures:

Margaret Ekpo - activist. She is best known for her advocacy for women's suffrage and political participation in Nigeria. Ekpo was a prominent figure in the struggle for Nigeria's independence and was one of the first Nigerian women to vie for a seat in the country's parliament.

Dr. Okon Edet Uya - doctor.  A public health advocate, Uya is best known for his contributions to healthcare in the Ibibio region, including his work in combating diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. Dr. Uya's efforts led to improved healthcare access and outcomes for the Ibibio people.

Ini Edo - actress. One of Nollywood’s leading ladies, Ini Edo has acted in over 200 films. She has several awards including Best Actress awards from African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), the Nigeria Entertainment Awards (NEA), and the City People Entertainment Awards.