You may have come across the word Osu or outcast and have no idea what it means. Well the Out caste system has been in existence for a very long time in the Igbo land. Back then there used to be two different kinds of people in the Igbo land, we have the people called the Nwadiala or the Nwaafor, and we also have those they call the Osu or outcast.
Those people that are identified as the Nwadiala are seen as the sons of the soil or free borns, they are Identified as masters. Then those individuals identified as the Osu are those that have been dedicated to the gods, these individuals are seen as outcasts, slaves or strangers in the land.
According to Wikipedia, this Outcast system started way before civilization. Back when the Igbo people were ruled by the god identified as Odinani and rules were created by a particular deity Identified as Ala. These rules were made so the Igbo people will prosper and be blessed in their land. Anybody that committed any abomination will then be sent away, they were sold as slaves or were sacrificed to the gods of the land.
The outcasts are not treated the same way the free borns are treated, they are mostly seen as though they are inferior. Back then these outcasts don't live together with the free borns, they normally live away from them or close to shrines or the market. The outcasts do not associate, or even get married with any free born in the land.
They can't break kolanuts during meetings, they can't also pour libation neither can they pray in any gathering on behalf of the new borns. People used to think that the prayer will only bring badluck and calamity to the land. There are quite alot of other discrimination faced by the Outcasts, the discrimination is much when it comes to time for marriage.
It used to be an abomination for an outcast to even get married to a freeborn, they belief that if a free born gets married to an outcast the family will be defiled. Back then before an individual gets married, the family will make research to find out the family's background. If the family comes from the outcasts clan, the marriage will no longer hold.
This way of life doesn't really exist in igbo land anymore, a law was passed in the year 1956 to out an end to such system. Alot of religious individuals have also preached against such and have tried their best to show that all human beings are the same.
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