Sunday November 5 2023 was a great day for Akalites living in the Southern African country of the Republic of South Africa. On this great and eventful day, history was made at the famous Braamfontein Recreation Centre Parktonia Extension in Johannesburg where Akalites, their friends, families and lovers of Igbo and African cultural heritage gathered to celebrate the Oghu festival 2023, Southern African edition.
From the time Umuaka Times correspondent in South Africa made the breaking news about the event, several Akalites around the world started to call to show their appreciation of the event and made promises of being at the event. According to Mr Kingsley Nnadi, a South African based Akalite, uncountable number of Akalites in the country, Awo community in South Africa and other nearby towns where the famous oghu festival is celebrated put up a remarkable presence at the event which lasted for several hours.
Umuaka Times confirmed that each community of Umuaka Ebe Iri was adequately represented by her Onye Isi Oghu and the communities also had their different positions. This added colour to the event and created a competitive atmosphere for all to enjoy.
The greatest sensation of the event was the oghu dancing competition which was held in two segments; children’s category and men’s category. After a long battle among the oghu dancers, the judges announced that Mr Uchechukwu Nsoha (Oppa) has emerged the winner of the competition. He went home with the star prize of three thousand Rand which is an equivalent of N150,000. Umuaka Times gathered that it was not the first time Mr Nsoha was winning the trophy for his dancing skills in oghu festival.
The 2023 edition of Oghu South Africa was made possible by the exclusive sponsorship from Chief Emaka Okorom, the Ikemba 1 of Ugbele Akah. A day before the event, Chief Okorom had provided money for two cows and other necessary purchases which made the event a huge success. From the press release issued by the chairman of Akah Aborigines Association South Africa, Chief Emmanuel Kelechi Akuwara, name Eze Chi Na AwaraAku 1 of Umuaka, several other personalities of Umuaka origin contributed in diverse ways to the success of the event. Such names include, Ogene Sheriff Dennis Obiagwu who is the Eze Isi Oghu. Mr Kingsley Iwuanoruo popularly addressed as Man of God who sponsored the oghu dancing competition for the men’s category during the event. The sponsor of children’s dancing competition was Hon Uzoma Onuoha while Hon Kennedy Obinna Nwaozuzu, the secretary-general of the 2023 oghu planning committee was in charge of activities during the event.
Others who contributed in several ways to make the event a huge success were Hon. Uche Iwums, the Vice Chairman of Akah Aborigines Association, Isi Oghu Isiozi, Nze Modestus Njoku- Isi Oghu Uba, Hon Okechukwu Okezie Isi Oghu Achara, Hon Emeka Ojiego Isi Oghu Amaiyi and Chief Emeka Okorom- Isi Oghu Ugbuele. Others are Hon Kelechi Asiegbu Isi Oghu Ibele, Chief Okey Onwunaru – Isi Oghu Umuele, Hon Anyaehie Green- Isi Oghu Amakor and Hon. Cajethan Nwohajioku as well as Hon Alex Duru- Isi Oghu-Obinwanne.
Chief Emmanuel Kelechi Akuwara was the chairman of the event. He used the opportunity and canvassed among the Igbo communities in South Africa to love and promote their cultural heritage. From all indications that emerged at the end of the celebration, Umuaka Times correspondent in South Africa reports that the 2023 edition of Oghu Festival in South Africa was successful enough to leave an everlasting cultural legacy in the minds of those who witnessed the great event.