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AN ỌGBANJE/THE CONCEPT OF REINCARNATION IN IGBO LAND -Chika Chukwurah

Ilọụwa or Inọụwa as some Igbo people believe, means reincarnation. Simply put, reincarnation means coming back to life with the same body after premature death. Reincarnation is believed to occur within the family circle. Sometimes the person who is to be reincarnated notifies one or some of the family members, before his or her death.
Relatives identify the reincarnated child by some marks on the body, some deformed part of the body, or some other physical features that the predecessor of the reincarnated child had. Statements, as well as the behaviour of the baby similar to the predecessor of the reincarnated child, help to confirm that the dead child has reincarnated.

Qgbanje:
Qgbanje is a name given to a reincarnated child. It is believed that qgbanje has in the child, the evil spirit that makes the reincarnated child to bring misfortunes to the family. The evil spirit in the qgbanje causes the family to undergo series of experiences of dying and coming back to life of the qgbanje.
In Igbo language, the word ‘ọgbanje’ literally means ‘a child who comes and goes’. It is believed that within a given time from birth, the qgbanje deliberately dies, only to come back later. And this unending cycle causes the family grief.
When an qgbanje dies, he is mutilated or given a mark so that he or she does not come back to life. Some qgbanje children, however, were said to return, bearing the physical scars or mutilation given to them in their past life. Presently, belief in qgbanje in Igboland is no longer as strong as it use to be.
Sometimes, the expression, ‘otu qgbanje’ (qgbanje group), may have led people conclude that all the children involved in a particular group were all possessed by the same malevolent spirit. In his Popular book, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe exposed to some extent this concept, qgbanje, with the character Ezimma.
…………….to be continued

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