2023 Session 23 Report – Showcasing Itsekiri Culture

  • Title: Itsekiri NextGen Project: 2023 Session 23 Report – Showcasing Itsekiri Culture
  • Date: 2nd July 2023
  • Number of Volunteers: 3
  • Total Attendees: 68
  • Timings: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Venue: Former Caravan 4, Aja-Pessu (Pessu Town), Warri
  • Main Topic: Exploring Itsekiri Culture
  • Resource Person: Esijolomi Tedeye


The 23rd session of the Itsekiri NextGen Project focused on the rich cultural heritage of the Itsekiri people. With a total of 68 attendees and the enthusiastic participation of 3 volunteers, the event aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of Itsekiri traditions, language, and customs. The day’s activities included engaging presentations, practical demonstrations, and fun learning experiences.

Session Overview:

The participants were in for a pleasant surprise as they entered the hall for the cultural session. To kickstart the event, the coordinator initiated an opening prayer, followed by everyone singing the melodious Itsekiri anthem in unison, creating a sense of unity and pride in their heritage.

Before delving into the main topic, the coordinator briefly recapped the previous session, emphasizing the importance of being Information Communication Technology compliant, a crucial aspect of Itsekiri NextGen’s core mandates.

Cultural Activities:

Emmanuel Egbe took the lead in introducing the cultural activities of the day. The highlight was the presentation by Jolomi Tedeye, who brought traditional Itsekiri costumes to dress up some male participants. Besinfe Etuwewe was chosen to wear the Okparan attire, which signifies a priest in the Itsekiri culture. This unique attire represents someone with a significant role in the community or family, and it is also worn by the groom’s male family members during a traditional marriage ceremony. Additionally, it is a prominent outfit at the funeral of a chief or the oldest man in the community.

  • Itsekiri attire
    Itsekiri attire

Jolomi Tedeye demonstrated the process of dressing Besinfe in Okparan attire. The dressing involved three different wrappers, elegantly folded and tied on both sides. Each layer of the wrappers displayed distinct colours and beauty. The upper wrapper, instead of being tied up like the others, was draped over the right hand.

The Okparan dressing also included a white t-shirt or long sleeve, complemented by a waistcoat. To add to the regal appearance, coral beads and other colourful accessories adorned the neck.

Tosan Okandeji was dressed in the Kweke attire, traditionally worn by a bride during a traditional marriage ceremony. This attire is also worn by maidens during the funeral of a chief or the oldest man in the community.

Language and Rhymes:

The session also focused on preserving the Itsekiri language. Participants watched videos featuring common Itsekiri rhymes, such as “rain rain go away” and “twinkle twinkle little star.” Singing along, the attendees deduced the meaning of the Itsekiri words, as the rhymes were familiar to them.

Moreover, the participants were taught how to introduce themselves in Itsekiri, stating their names, their fathers’ names, and their mothers’ names. Besinfe Etuwewe and Tosan Okandeji were role models representing the parents in this exercise. Each team member took turns introducing themselves in front of the others, ensuring everyone actively participated in this interactive exercise.


The Itsekiri NextGen Project’s cultural session was a colourful and engaging event that celebrated the Itsekiri culture and traditions. Through practical demonstrations, videos, and language activities, the participants gained a deeper appreciation for their heritage. The dedication of volunteers Debi Amadedon, Emmanuel Egbe, and Jolomi Tedeye made this event a success, fostering a sense of pride and continuity in Itsekiri cultural practices.

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