Renewing the community and fashioning the individual: A study of traditional communal reconciliation among the Igbo

Okwuchukwu Stan Chukwube, Fordham University


This dissertation is concerned with the practice of Igbo traditional communal reconciliation which aids Ndigbo in forming the individual and transforming the community. This study found that by engaging in this practice Ndigbo perform a very important religious and educational task which is relevant to the discipline of religious education. The study is significant because of the great importance Ndigbo attach to this practice and because no study has focused on the Igbo traditional communal reconciliation from a purely religious and moral educational perspective. The study is also relevant at a pastoral level to the many Igbo Christians who are still trying to appreciate their Christian faith from the standpoint of their traditional practices and culture. This study used a qualitative case study approach. The researcher did an exploratory interview with some elders in Igbo land, observed some practice of traditional communal reconciliation, reviewed relevant literature, and interviewed eighteen Ndigbo of Ihiala cultural zone living in the United States. The interviews were semi-structured after a snowball sampling was used to select the participants. The interviews were coded and analyzed. The findings showed that Ndigbo put much effort in reconciling offenses in order to appease the gods, calm down the community, heal the hurting of the offended and eventually, if the nature of the offense permits, bring back the offender to the rest of the community. Further, the findings revealed that through communal reconciliation Ndigbo educate individuals and so renew their community. In the final analysis, the study showed that Ndigbo value community living to the extent that they expend much energy and resources in reconciling offenses thereby repairing damaged relationships and strengthening others. Therefore, this study recommends that religious and moral education in Igbo land has to adopt a relationship-building strategy in order to transcend the broken ties and the individualistic mindset which has deeply infected modern society. It is only in this way that the Christian faith can be beneficial to the Igbo-African Christian and to the larger society as a means of building strong relationships. The study recommends that religious educators take into account in their teaching and catechesis the traditional practices of Igbos wherever they live.

Subject Area

Religion|Cultural anthropology|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Chukwube, Okwuchukwu Stan, "Renewing the community and fashioning the individual: A study of traditional communal reconciliation among the Igbo" (2008). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3312005.