Before our devastating contact with the Europeans, Prostitution was unknown in Igbo societies. Hence why there’s no word in Igbo language for a prostitute. The word used by ndi Igbo to describe a prostitute, is Akwünaakwüna.
This word is derived from the name of a group in today’s Cross-Rivers State of Nigeria and Cameroon. Women from the Akunakuna ethnic group were recruited by the British invaders, to serve in the West African Frontier Force and later in the Expeditionary Force into Igboland as cooks and as soldiers’ “comfort”. Today, due to the erosion of African value system, urbanisation and lack of opportunities for most Nigerians, multitudes of Nigerian women are engaged in one form of prostitution or another. Only us, can shape the future of our homeland and people.
Extract from “Nwauko” by Thomas Northcote.
Taken c. 1910 – 11.
Story credit: The Igbo Monitor
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