Edith Ngozi Onukawa: Leftwardness. An Aspect of Prohibitions in the Igbo Culture


Leftwardness, as used here, refers to any issue or activity that is associated with the left side, especially the left hand. Leftwardness seems to have been an aspect of prohibitions of virtually all known cultures, but presently the seriousness attached to its rejection is sustained in not too many cultures. One of the known cultures in which leftwardness is still seriously prohibitive is the Igbo culture. Among the Igbo of Southern Nigeria, leftwardness is seriously unacceptable/impermissible (but not tabooed). The prohibition of leftwardness in the Igbo culture is expressed via the parts of the body, especially the ones that occur in pairs: the hands, feet, eyes. This article discusses the prohibitions of leftwardness among the Igbo with ample exemplifications.

[Nigeria, Igbo, Igbo culture, left, leftwardness, prohibions]