Monday, 29 June 2015

Igbo genocide: 1 minute in 50 years survival affirmation

Sunday 29 May 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Igbo genocide and simultaneously 50 years of the survival of Igbo people.

Celebrating a people: the project

To mark this 2016 epic landmark year, Rethinking Africa has embarked on a project to capture the survival narrative of Igbo people in video form. In videos of a maximum duration of 1 minute each, we are inviting survivors of the Igbo genocide to share with the world what their survival means for them – in any and all aspects of their lives.  Our target is 500 videos with which to launch the website.

Survival background

On Sunday 29 May 1966 Hausa Fulani emirs, muslim clerics, intellectuals, students, politicians and other public persons launched the Igbo genocide – the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa. The génocidaires directed carefully orchestrated attacks on Igbo population centres, businesses, churches and other interests across north Nigeria which steadily spread elsewhere in Nigeria, especially Lagos and the west regions. Between 29 May 1966 and 31 March 1967, phases-I and II of the genocide, 100,000 people were murdered. On 6 July 1967, the genocidists, who had since transformed to the corporate Nigeria state, having incorporated the leaderships of particularly Yoruba, Edo and Urhobo peoples of west Nigeria, expanded the territorial range of their attacks on Igboland itself, Biafra. During this phase-III of the genocide, which went on to 12 January 1970, 3 million Igbo were murdered. Nigeria subsequently launched phase-IV of the genocide on 13 January 1970 and this has since continued unabated. It is marked by a stretch of pogroms in which tens of thousands of Igbo have been murdered across north Nigeria (and elsewhere in the country), including those slaughtered by the Boko Haram islamist insurgent organisation during the past decade, as well as the programmed social and economic degradation/strangulation of the Igbo economy – Africa’s most dynamic prior to the May 1966 launch of the genocide.

50 years on from the commencement of phase-I of the genocide, the Igbo have survived, an extraordinary survival indeed as they have faced the most gruesome and devastating genocide in Africa not seen since the late 19th century genocide of constituent nations of the Congo Basin (central Africa) carried out by the Belgian monarchy/state. The Igbo are in the throes of restoring their sovereignty in their Biafran homeland. In the past 44 years, the Igbo have written an extraordinary essay on human survival and resilience, a beacon of the resilient spirit of human overcoming of the most desperate, unimaginably brutish forces. Like Maya Angelou’s survival poem, Still I Rise, “You may write [Igbo people] down in history/With your bitter, twisted lies./…But … like dust, [they’ll] rise.”

Producing the video

The video seeks to respond to questions such as:

1. “How have you/(your family) survived the Igbo genocide?”

2. “What does your/(your family’s) survival of the Igbo genocide mean to you?”

3. “How has your survival shaped your/(your family’s) life?”

 4. “What has enabled you/(your family) to survive the Igbo genocide?”

 5. …

Who is a survivor of the Igbo genocide?

Any Igbo person alive or whose parents or grandparents were alive when the genocide commenced on 29 May 1966.  Anyone who meets any of these criteria is eligible to participate in this project.

Videos can be produced in English or Igbo or any other language – translations into English will be provided on the website.

All the videos accepted will be uploaded onto a specially designed website for the occasion.  The website will be launched at a minute past midnight Igboland Time (2301 Hours GMT) on 29 May 2016. We will continue to update this website subsequently as we receive more videos.  We will ultimately house this project in a future museum of Igbo remembrance, appropriately based in Enuugwu, capital of Biafra.

How to send the videos

Please upload all videos to “We transfer” on

We transfer is easy to use. Just follow the simple instructions
        Go to
·         Click on the + sign and add the file(s)
·         Type in my email address:
·         Type in your own email address
·         Write a short message if you want – including your name and location
·         Hit the send button

This is an exciting and hugely creative project to honour ourselves as a people and to demonstrate to the world that we remain an indefatigable and resilient people.

Please circulate this information to as many of your family, friends and acquaintances as possible. We are also appealing to people to capture the stories of older citizens in villages and towns who may not have access to video-making technologies. This is of the utmost importance.


No comments:

Post a Comment