Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In Memory of Dr. Catherine Acholonu

Shortly before Catherine Obianuju Acholonu was hospitalized, she sent this e-mail message to Nenad M. Djurdjevic in which she expresses her belief that God is immutable and in this life we see dimly, as in shadows:

"The gods are back. In fact they never left their ancient posts for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no threat to Truth. Things happen when they must. The tide of life turns right, and then left, up and then down. It is all for providing sport for Deity. Nothing changes in their world, but semblances of change happen in ours, which are actually just shadows."

Catherine Acholonu
Alice C. Linsley

I received with sadness the news of the death of Igbo scholar, renowned writer, and university professor Catherine Acholonu-Olumba. Catherine Acholonu was born on 26 October 1951. She died this morning after being hospitalized for renal failure.  May she rest in peace.

We shared the same birth month and many of the same interests. We communicated by email and sometimes on Facebook. I refer to her research at Just Genesis and she referred to mine, saying "Alice C. Linsley is an original and originals are few."

Professor Catherine Obianuju Acholonu was the mother of four children and a leading scholar of Nigeria’s prehistory. She established the Catherine Acholonu Research Center in Abuja and traveled throughout Igboland conducting research. Dr. Acholonu regarded Iboland as the cradle of Afro-Sumerian peoples.

She gained a master’s degree (1977) and a Ph.D. (1987) from the University of Düsseldorf, Germany. From 1999 to 2002, she was the Special Adviser on Arts and Culture to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under ex President Obasanjo.

The late Dr. Acholonu was the author of at least eighteen books, many of which are used in secondary schools and universities in Nigeria, and in African Studies Departments in USA and Europe. She supported Radio Biafra and helped with the "million man march" and was steadfast in her defense of the indigenous peoples of Africa, especially in Biafra.

Catherine and American friend Sidney Davis

She was a strong advocate of traditional Igbo culture and religion and those who knew her well addressed her as Ezenwanyi, which in Igbo means "a women with the power of a king."

She advocated equality for women. Her book Motherism discusses gender, culture and identity with a focus on women and mothering. This is offered as the Afrocentric alternative to western feminism. Acholonu affirmed that the notion must “be anchored on the matrix of motherhood which is central to African metaphysic and has been the basis of the survival and unity of the black race.” For her, motherism denotes motherhood and therefore rules out lesbianism.

Acholonu recognizes complementarity between male and female, and refers to the Male and Female principles in the creative order. Yet she asserts that in the hierarchy of Nigerian society where the male dominates, there is yet respect for the reality that the female is the bearer of life.

She also maintained that Biblical Eden was in the Niger delta, for which there is some evidence if we understand Eden as being a vast well-watered region extending from the Niger Basin to the Nile Valley.

Dr. Acholonu connected the Ar of Canaan to the Aro of Nigeria. She wrote, "In Nigeria the caste under reference is the Ar/Aro caste of Igbo Eri priest-kings, who were highly militarized in their philosophy." The Amorites were the Am-Ar, meaning the people/tribe/caste of Ar. They are called the Aro among the people living at the confluence of the Benue and Niger Rivers in Nigeria. Some migrated to this well-watered region before the time of Abraham. Catherine Acholonu claimed that they were a caste of scribes.

She wrote, "The Igbo Ar/Aro are the scribes of the Igbo God Ele/El (Chukwu Abiama) who dwells in the southern extension of the Underground Duat called the Long Juju. They were and are still proficient in various kinds of ancient scripts called Akwukwo Aka Igwe, and Nsibidi which has many Sumerian pictographs and Egyptian hieroglyphics and has been said to be older than 5000 yrs. Sumerian pictographs were in use by 3500 BC. That shows how old Nsibidi is. It has been called the oldest writing system in Africa. The Aro were originally the military arm of the Eri clan of Priest-kings who were the first Pharaohs of Egypt and the first kings of the world. They were charged with guarding the Great Serpent's Shrine called ARO BU N'AGU."

Here is a YouTube video of Dr. Acholonu speaking on one of her favorite topics. Here is another video where she discusses "The Lost Testament of the Ancestors of Adam" - her eighteenth book.


Booker said...

RIP my good friend. Those of us who had the opportunity to know you knew you were special in so many ways. One thing stood out about you; you are not a greedy fellow.

Marcia said...

Rest In Power, Warrior! may your Spirit be well received