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What's Your Take On OSU CATSE SYSTEM? - Education - Nairaland

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What's Your Take On OSU CATSE SYSTEM? by fobiflex(m): 12:24am On Sep 17, 2016
I do not really know the section to post this buh I think the mods in charge can help me out here
Osu caste system is an obnoxious practice among
the Igbo in south east Nigeria which has refused to
go away despite the impact of Christianity,
education and civilization, and the human rights
Many people have condemned the system which
has traumatized many innocent people but the
problem persists. But one fact is that the Osu
system of discrimination is an outdated tradition
with no basis for its continued practice and
observance in the contemporary Igbo society.
Traditionally, there are two classes of people in
Igboland – the Nwadiala and the Osu.
The Nwadiala literally meaning ‘sons of the soil’.
They are the masters while the Osu are the people
dedicated to the gods; so they are regarded as
slaves, strangers, outcasts and untouchables.
Chinua Achebe in his book, No longer At Ease,
aptly describes Osu thus: “Our fathers in their
darkness and ignorance called an innocent man
Osu, a thing given to the idols, and thereafter he
became an . outcast, and his children, and his
children’s children forever”.
The Osus are treated as inferior human beings and
kept in a state of permanent and irreversible
disability; they are subjected to various forms of
abuse and discrimination. The Osu are made to
live separately from the freeborn; they reside very
close to shrines and market places.
The Osu are not allowed to dance, drink, hold
hands, associate or have sexual relations hip with
the Nwadiala. They are not even allowed to break
kola nut at meetings or pour libation or pray to
God on behalf of a freeborn at any community
It is believed that such prayers will bring calamity
and misfortune.
According to human rights groups, some of the
atrocities meted out against the Osu in Igboland
include: parents administering poison to their
children, disinheritance, ostracism, organized
attacks, heaping harvest offering separately in
churches, denial of membership in social clubs,
violent disruption of marriage ceremonies, denial
of chieftaincy titles, deprivation of property and
expulsion of wives.
The Osu caste discrimination is very pronounced
in the area of marriage. An Osu cannot marry a
freeborn. The belief is that any freeborn that
marries an Osu defiles the family. So freeborn
families are always up in arms against any of their
members who wants to . marry an Osu.
They go to any length to scuttle the plan. Because
of the Osu factor, marriages in Igboland are
preceded by investigations– elders on both side
travel to native villages to find out the social
status of the other party. And if it is found that one
of them is an Osun, the plan would be
automatically abandoned. Many marriage plans
have been aborted, while married couples have
been forced to divorce because of the Osu factor.
Chinua Achebe also notes this in his book. When
Okonkwo learns that his son wants to marry Clara,
an Osu, Okonkwo says: “Osu is like a leprosy in
the minds of my people. I beg of you my son not
to bring the mark of shame and leprosy into your
family. If you do, your children and your children’s
children will curse you and your memory – you
will bring sorrow on your head and on the heads of
your children.”
Sometime last year, a young educated Igbo man,
a successful business entrepreneur based in
Atlanta (USA) had been engaged to be married to
an Igbo lady, who was a medical doctor. The Igbo
lady was already pregnant for the man. During the
customary family introduction, it was discovered
that the lady was an “Osu” and immediately the
wedding arrangements were terminated. The lady
gave birth to a baby boy and now lives in Houston
(USA) as a single parent. The Igbo man has
refused any form of contact with the lady and his
child with all the education, western culture,
civilization and exposure to Christian teachings.
And not too long ago, I met a lady in a friend’s
house in Lagos. I was told that she was engaged
to a young man from Imo State. Months later, I
learnt that the marriage plan had been cancelled
because the lady was said to be an Osu.
There have been several instances like that where
young men and women of Igbo extraction have
suffered emotional trauma as a result of this
cultural malaise. And now the question is, why is it
that this cultural practice has refused to go away
even among educated Igbos? The reason is not far
fetched. The practice of Osu caste system is
hinged on religion, supernaturalism and theism.
And Igbos are deeply religious and theistic people.
Osu are regarded as unclean or untouchable
because they are (alleged to be) dedicated to the
gods. So it is the dedication to the gods that
makes the Osu status a condition of permanent
and irreversible disability and stigma.
The discriminatory Osu practice involves
inequality in freedom of movement and choice of
residence, inequality in the right of peaceful
association, inequality of residence, inquality in
the right of peaceful association, inequality in the
enjoyment of the right to marry and establish a
family, (and) inequality in access to public office.
That is the crux of the matter with Osu caste in
Igboland. If one may ask, could a right exist if it is
not enforced? To put it differently, can a right
exist without a specific legislation that provides
for its protection and remedies when violated?
Oddly enough, the victims of the Osu system do
not have any legal remedy in Igboland. And
strangely, some people believe that the
humiliating Osu caste system is a part of the Igbo
culture nobody should tamper with.
The Osu case system in Igboland seems to have
changed the meaning of life for the group of
people branded Osu.
The maltreatment meted out to the Osu has
forced many of them to migrate to other
countries, many development projects
abandoned, marriages dissolved and pregnancies
terminated. In fact, so many crimes against
humanity have been committed against
individuals and groups in Igboland in the name of
The Osu caste system has caused communal
strifes and wars between the Osu and the
Nwadiala in Igboland. According to the United
Nations definition, discrimination includes any
conduct based on a distinction made on grounds
of natural or social categories, which have no
relation either to individual capacities or merits or
to the concrete behavior of the individual person.
Based on the above, I suggest that something
drastic has to be done to eradicate this obnoxious
system. There is the urgent need for all Igbo
leaders of thought, the traditional rulers, the
governors, the clergymen and all the people that
matter to come together and enact a law
outrightly banning the system generally in
Igboland as there is no basis for its continued

1 Like

Re: What's Your Take On OSU CATSE SYSTEM? by Destined2win: 2:31am On Sep 17, 2016

seun and his fucking bastard moderators u blocked three of ma accounts in one day, well done if u ban one account I will be opening another one until you stop your favouritism and tribalism cus we are all equal ............ let the game begin...... seun and his mod if you don't ban this account na thunder go fire all of you bastards of a crazy fathers from a LovePeddler/prostitute mothers ones again my middle finger for all of you(Bleep YOU)

I know you are angry. Please calm down
Re: What's Your Take On OSU CATSE SYSTEM? by fobiflex(m): 7:30am On Sep 17, 2016
Is it on my thread u are using 2 vent ur anger?

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