“ONWE M OZO” – MY OTHER SELF: A DISCOURSE ANALYTICAL APPROACH TO ROOTING MARRIAGE IN IGBOLAND MORE DEEPLY INTO THE CHRISTIAN SOIL

Lawrence Nchekwube Nwankwo

Abstract


Language is more than a tool to communicate ideas conceived outside language. It is also more than simply an instrument deployed by human beings. Rather, language maps reality and above all structures the human subject using it. It shapes the way reality is re-presented, perceived and responded to because it shapes the human subject. Thus, change in language can give rise to social change. This write up applies this insight from discourse analysis to the understanding and practice of marriage in Igboland with an aim of bringing about a change in these. The experience behind the reflection was made in a marriage preparatory course. In spite of my effort to bring to a man’s awareness that marriage is also for companionship, the man insisted that, on the authority of the Bible and Igbo culture, woman is man’s helpmate. For him, helpmate implies someone to cook, clean, keep the house and bear children. This is patriarchy at its height. Be that as it may, it stands to reason that if this young man had learnt from childhood to see women differently, he would have had a different attitude to bring into marriage. To make it possible for others to rise above the patriarchal attitude to women, one has to re-view the translation of the Genesis 2:18 which presents woman as ‘helpmate,’ ‘onye enyemaka.’ It has been shown that the Hebrew words ῾ēzer kenegdô usually translated helpmate could be better translated as a power equal to man. This becomes the starting point for a re-presentation of woman as ‘onye ibo’ (companion) and marriage as finding one’s other self (onwe m ozo).

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