You may be Igbo yourself (born in the diaspora), or your favorite actor, musician, athlete or even doctor might be Igbo; and you just want to understand a little bit more about where they came from. Igbo is a very color culture. There are a lot of different things to appreciate in the Igbo people. Consider all the dialects to start with. Did you know there are many ways to speak Igbo depending on what part of Igbo land you come from? There are also many different ways to practice Odinani (or Odinala or Odinana — depending on what part of Igbo land you come from you may say this traditional spiritual practice differently). Also, some Igbo people may affiliate with other spiritual practices (in addition to Odinala), for example Judaism, Islam or Christianity (although some Igbos believe these are incompatible). So, with so many different ways the Igbo people live, how would you know where to begin to learn about, practice and live an Igbo lifestyle? I would like to demystify some of these issues by offering you guidance. Fortunately, these days many people happily share their knowledge on various platforms like twitter, facebook, podcasts and YouTube. So, today, I will focus on directing you to 5 YouTube channels focused on teaching about Igbo culture. So, hopefully, it will help you on your journey to learn more about this awesome way of life.
Historically, Igbos participated a pre-historic practice called Odinani (or Odinala or Odinana), which is a precursor to contemporary science. It can be seen as a combination of alchemy, astrology, physics and psychology among other things. Some have compared ancient Igbos to the druids. They were capable of making physical and metaphysical predictions based on observations of things that happened in the world and beyond. It would be difficult to de-mystify this ancient practice in one paragraph, but if you check out the YouTube channel called TheMedicineShell you will find videos explaining concepts observed in this tradition. He also has a patreon account where he goes into further details about the history and practices and even a library where he hosts research articles, books and records from scholars on this group of people.
2. Usekwu Igbo
Igbo people have a strong cooking tradition. They make all kinds of foods for every occasion, from complex delicacies, to simple quick snacks to desserts. Usekwu Igbo Youtube channel is an Igbo youtube channel that includes English subtitles and a fun host who explains how to cook these amazingly intricate food combinations.
3. Mmuta Di Uto – Igbo Children’s Show
It is not easy to find an Igbo show made for children. However, Maazi Agu is a show that children can enjoy. It makes use of puppetry and images to explain concepts that Igbo children will see around them in their daily lives. The above episode is about Diochi (which means “expert palm wine tapper”). Palm wine tappers are common in Igbo land, and this children show demystifies who they are so that children can better appreciate these important people in their local community. The YouTube channel is full of such fun and educational videos and I believe they should be getting English subtitles on more of the videos in the near future.
4. Nwadioramma TV
Nwadioramma TV is a channel focused on “showcasing Igbo talents, arts, programmes and people.” Often times this youtube channel showcases events that take place right in Igbo land with people on the ground. It is hosted by a woman named Amarachi Attamah who is a reknowned international Igbo poet and dancer. She produces documentaries and advocates for Igbo culture and people through this channel. You may find contests she hosts where local Igbo people make videos to enter the contest. All of these channels need your support, because although Igbo people are very talented, their communities need financial outreach to build safe roadways and provide drinking water and educational infrastructure. Amarachi is constantly working to connect the community with such resources and her supporting her channel is a good way to find ways to give back.
If you are interested in learning the Igbo language, there are MANY resources out there. I may even curate a separate list specifically dedicated to showcasing youtube channels, podcasts and/or courses specifically for just that. However, to add language learning to this list, I recommend the LearnIgbo YouTube channel. Yvonne Mbanefo hosts the channel and makes easily digestible videos which are posted on a regular basis that are a convenient way for you to get your daily dose of Igbo (if you are a native English speaker). The videos explain Igbo in a way that is easy for English speakers to pick up and learn. I highly recommend it for you if you are a beginner. It is also awesome to potentially get your children involved in the learning process as well.