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Davido’s Igba Nkwu: A Heartfelt Tradition

By Polycarp Onwubiko


Recently, a Nigerian music superstar, singer, songwriter, and record producer, David Adedeji Adeleke OON, known professionally as Davido, celebrated a significant milestone with his wife, Chioma. The couple had a traditional Igbo wedding ceremony, known as Igba Nkwu, which is a heartfelt and meaningful tradition that marks an important step in their journey together. Davido is regarded as one of the most important Afrobeats artists of the 21st century, and for popularizing the genre globally. A Heartfelt Tradition: Davido’s Igba Nkwu stands as a testament to the enduring beauty of Nigerian culture

A Moment to Remember 

Chioma handing the Palm wine to her husband, Davido

In a heartfelt and joyous occasion, the legendary Yoruba musician and social activist, Davido, recently embraced a cherished Igbo tradition by conducting the traditional marriage ceremony of his beloved wife, Chioma. This joyous event, known as “Igba Nkwu,” is a cornerstone of Igbo culture, symbolizing unity, love, and respect between families.

The Ceremonial Act of Love

Mr. & Mrs. David Adeleke, the new couple

During this unique ceremony, Davido’s wife, Chioma, presented him with a tumbler of local palm wine blessed by her father. In a gesture that moved everyone present, Davido drank the wine, honoring a tradition that holds deep significance in Igbo culture. This act is not just a formality but a heartfelt exchange, marking the acceptance and respect between the bride and groom’s families. The presence of relatives and friends added to the significance of the event, making it a day to remember.

Overcoming Modern Fears

In recent times, the tradition of drinking palm wine during Igba Nkwu has been marred by fears of malicious intentions, with some suggesting that poison could be covertly added to the drink. This leads some bridegrooms to avoid drinking the wine altogether. This fear, whether realistic or phony, stems from the belief that evil forces are at play. However, Davido’s brave act of drinking the palm wine boldly countered these fears, reinforcing trust in this beautiful tradition and highlighting the importance of faith and courage.

Davido and wife, Chioma

Confronting Evil with Faith

A social media commentator aptly described the modern-day challenges as “The Devil has gone ‘nuclear.’” This phrase underscores the pervasive fear and suspicion that can infiltrate joyous occasions. According to the Bible, the Devil’s mission is to deceive, kill, and destroy, urging us to remain vigilant and grounded in faith. In this light, Davido’s actions can be seen as a testament to the power of love and trust over fear.

Honoring God in Tradition

Chioma and husband, Davido Adeleke

Igbo customs and traditions hold deep significance, yet they must be practiced in a way that aligns with the worship of God in spirit and truth. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is a guiding light, reminding us of the importance of aligning our cultural practices with divine principles. Traditional ceremonies, including marriages and funerals, should reflect God’s will and not succumb to idolatrous rituals.

Re-evaluating Cultural Practices

Certain Igbo traditions, such as “Idu Ozu,” where a deceased married woman’s spirit is returned to her parents’ home, need reevaluation. These practices often contradict Biblical teachings and can impose unnecessary burdens. The Bible provides clear guidelines on marriage and burial that are devoid of such rituals. Educated individuals should lead the way in aligning cultural practices with Biblical teachings.

Rationalizing Marriage Traditions

Another tradition, “Idu Nwanyi Uno,” involves parents gifting household items to their daughter upon marriage. While well-intentioned, this practice often leads to financial strain on families. Rational thinking and modern perspectives should encourage individuals to prepare independently for marriage, reducing unnecessary burdens on parents.

Challenging Idolatrous Rituals

In some communities, rituals like “Mmanya Nkwughe” and “Mmanya Nkwuchi,” involving palm wine offerings to gods for fertility, persist. These practices, rooted in idolatry, contradict Christian beliefs. The advent of Pentecostal churches has brought a refreshing change, rejecting these rituals and embracing a purer form of worship.

A Call for Change

As we celebrate A Heartfelt Tradition: Davido’s Igba Nkwu, let us also reflect on the need for cultural practices to evolve. By aligning our traditions with the teachings of the Bible, we honor our heritage while embracing a future rooted in faith and rationality. Together, we can preserve the beauty of our customs while ensuring they reflect the true spirit of worship.

Polycarp Onwubiko is an author and Public Policy Analyst, and writes from Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria




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