Tribal marks are one of the features of the Nigerian peoples’ culture and tradition. The various ethnic groups and tribes in this part of the world have distinct tribal marks.
It is a common practice among several group of people in those days which seems to be going on extinct in the ‘Woke’ generation of Nigerians.
Tribal Marks Meaning
Tribal marks are scarification which are specific identification and beautification marks designed on the face or body of a particular group of people.
It can be inscribed on the body by burning or cutting of the skin during childhood. This inscription made on the body serves different purposes.
The primary function of tribal marks is to serve as identification of a person’s tribe, family or lineage.
Other secondary functions of the marks are symbols of beauty, creativity, and keeping mischievous children alive (Yoruba culture).
Tribal Marks In Popular Culture
Few weeks ago, I had saw a Nigerian soldier who had come to settle an tribal issue in my area, call a man aside.
The young man was an onlooker but had caught the attention of the man in uniform. The soldier man spoke an unknown language which the young man replied.
According to the young man, his tribal marks made the soldier know they belong to the same lineage.
People could tell where a man/woman belonged owing to the marks on their faces/bodies.
In recent time, as Nigerian gets more civilized, tribal marks has been kicked against. Many have suffered depression, low self esteem and stigmatization for having tribal marks.
New Generation ‘Dumping’ Tribal Marks
Although tribal marks was a thing of beauty & heritage that people cherish among other generations of Nigerians. The new generations have kicked against it.
Many have argued that it is inhuman to cut/burn the skin of a child just in the name of getting an ‘identification’. The ‘woke’ (civilized) generation has asked ‘what had happened to names as a means of identification’.
Some Nigerians were however questioned about their views on tribal marks as well as continuing the culture by getting one for the children/wards. This is what they have to say about this issue;
“First impression of people towards someone that has tribal mark is bad. They see them as uncivilized, local, uneducated and crude. I faced these at my early stage of life. It’s hard to overcome though”
_ Mr Azeez Olanrewaju (Osogbo)
“That’s a barbaric practice. I believe it was used for identification of humans based on certain parameters such as freeborn, outcast, etc. I can’t do it for my children”
_ Ms Queen Okoloeze (Ikeja, Lagos)
“I believe tribal marks is a means of identifying human by tribe. Since civilization has mixed with culture, I can’t do it for my children”
_ Mr Tope Ogunlade (Ore, Ondo State)
“I won’t try that with my children. It’s a big NO”
_ Mrs Bisi Yemi (University of Ibadan, Ibadan)
“Getting tribal marks is a way of preserving our dying culture but there are other ways of preserving our culture without having to pierce someone’s skin. It’s a NO for me but I’ll also not want to derogate people who have it on them“
_ Mr Tunde Alao (Galadimawa, Abuja)
“What happens to having names as a means of identification? Tribal marks is barbaric for me”
_ Mrs Ada Williams (Woji, Port Harcourt)
It is safe to say Nigerians are dumping the culture of getting tribal marks for whatsoever reasons it may be. The people have lost several of its rich culture and traditions to western culture.
Tribal marks is one that seems to be in total decline by the people.
Do share your thought on this post in the comment section.