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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Theatre Arts Students of IMSU initiated in seemingly fetish event. See photos

It was like scenes from an ancient traditional Igbo festival. Yesterday was a memorable day for the year one students (2015/16 intakes)  of Imo State University Theatre Arts department who celebrated their induction and traditional initiation into the department. 
The initiation and induction ceremony is required for the students to become full performing members of the association. 
The day started with the inductees dressing up in white wrappers and decorated with chalks and mascara for the ladies. 
All the inductees were then taken to the makeshift shrine located at the front of the department for presentation before the gods by the chief priest (Ezemuo),  the elders and the king (Igwe of ITASA). 

At the presentation to the gods,  the men who wore white wrappers around the waist and were bare-chested, were slapped on the chest,  had gin spat onto their faces by the Chief priest and palm leaves (Omu)  was put in their mouth as they were instructed to speak no word until the initiation was over. 
The same thing applied to the ladies except that they were not spat on the face with gin and they were not slapped on the chest. 

The initiated students were then paraded around the school,  then paraded outside the school (as far as IMSU junction)  and taken back to their department. 
While being paraded and initiated,  the town crier made lots of exclamations in Igbo language while the chief priest made incantations and chanted proverbs. 
All through the match,  the inductees and the priests matched around barefooted and the rains didn't deter them. 

The inductees were accompanied around by some of their older colleagues, some of who lightly flogged them. 
Back at the department,  the inductees were flogged by their older colleagues. They then took the oat of membership to the organization. 

And that was it for the initiation.  The newly initiated thespians cleaned up and wore their normal western clothes for their official induction programme. 
The event consisted of drama,  dance,  musical performances as well as admonition from staff and older colleagues for to the inductees. 

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 While speaking at the event,  a lecturer in the Theatre Arts department of Imo State University, Mr Anthony Ebiriukwu, said the initiation and induction is done accross all departments of Theatre Arts accross Nigeria and that any student who exempted himself or herself from it has cut himself or herself off from the core and primary activity in the association.
According to Mr Anthony "There is nothing diabolical or fetish about the initiation.  It is a requirement to become a member of the organization just like other organizations have theirs. The event marks the year one students as full members of the department. Theatre arts is culture and entertainment.  The initiation is just ceremony and it is part of what makes the students artistes" Anthony said.

Also speaking to GistGate.Com, the outgoing ITASA "Ezemuo" (Chief Priest), Ebujiem Chibuike Samuel,  who said he was a born again child of God and would not involve in diabolical things said the whole initiation process was a means of alleniating the year one students from stage fright and bring out the giant in them. It is the portrayal of the beauty of the African culture.

Others who spoke about the initiation included the President of the IMSU Theatre Arts department Mr Agbaraonye McAnthony (Babanla),  the ITASA Igwe Omekannaya 1 (the king);  Ejiogu Emeka Williams and the Director of Information in the department,  Mr Anselem Chima Okoro.
They all said the initiation had nothing diabolical about it and it was all an act to invoke the spirit of the Thespist (the first man on stage)  into the new students and give them the liberty to become real performing artistes. They insisted that all year one students were mandated to participate in the initiation or pay a fine of N5,000 per person or be excluded from stage performance in the department.

Theatre Arts is indeed an amazing course to study.

A masquerade was necessary 

The chief priest, his assistants and, the elders,  the king and the bearers of the carved deities at the shrine 

Ladies who were on their period were not allowed to participate because of the rain. 

The inductees matched as far as IMSU junction and attracted lots of onlookers. 

The inductees walked barefooted and the males were half naked

Earlier in the day,  the inductees got ready for the big day

At the shrine before the parade began

Mc Jebi

President of IMSU ITASA, McAnthony Agbaraonye

Lecturer Ebiriukwu Anthony presenting garden eggs to at the induction 

Igwe Williams of IMSU ITASA blessing the cola


A musical artiste Yungregg performing 

Some of the inductees possed with their candles at the official induction ceremony 

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