"Ayamelum": Memory, history, and inter-group relations in the Anambra Basin of Nigeria


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


History and International Studies


“Ayamelum” (war made me), expresses how memories of wars have shaped the dynamics of intergroup relations in the Igbo-Igala borderland of the Anambra Basin, Nigeria. The rich soil and commercial opportunities engendered by the Niger and Anambra rivers endeared this area to both the Igbo and the Igala, hence the numerous legends, folklores, and myths on wars and conquest. This is an ethnographic inquiry into the dynamics of intergroup relations in the Anambra Basin with a view to identifying their common identities, culture, tradition, economy, and politics, especially regarding how these have been shaped by memories of war. The study contends that the memories of wars in the area have stiffened prejudices and narrowed sympathies hence the name, Ayamelum. Relying mainly on primary sources, as well as on extant literature, this inquiry aims to identify the common decimals among communities in the Basin and how these have shaped their relationships and engendered peaceful co-existence.