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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Okirika Culture: But Wetin Be Okuru Kaka Sef? – The Final Marriage Rite

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[dropcap]O[/dropcap]bele-Gold and I are immensely grateful to all who made it to the beautiful town of Kalio Ama in Okirika Kingdom or followed up via online for our Okuru Kaka marital rite. What we planned to be somewhat of a private ceremony snowballed in minutes into something larger than what we expected and trended online almost instantaneously. We thank God it all turned out well.

We have received some queries from some of you for not being invited. If we could, everyone would have been invited. We shelved the idea of extending invites on the strength of the feedback received just after 2 days of doing so. There was no way the town and facilities could have contained you our friends, whose experiences would have been marred by the logistical inadequacy. Kindly accept our apologies please. We crave your understanding. 99% of the printed invites were unused as you’d find below.

We have also followed conversations online that greeted the ceremony. We see that many from across the country are seeking to understand what Okuru Kaka really means, demanding to know the mystery behind why a woman tied in raffia and a man in singlets, both hand-in-hand and bare footed would march through compounds in Okrika Kingdom as part of their marital rite.

Oraye St. Franklyn
Okuru Kaka: Obele-Gold and St. Franklyn Oraye step out in traditional garb after their final marital rites in Okirika Kingdom in December 2018

The story is not long. Okuru Kaka is the final and most consequential of all marital rites according to the native law and custom of the Okrika people of Rivers State. It emphasizes the unbreakable bond of marriage and cements the marital union by the tying (or kaka-ing) of the Raffia (Okuru).

Literally speaking Okuru Kaka means ‘Tie The Raffia’. The raffia is symbolic of the import of the union as being unbreakable. This is why once the raffia is tied, the marriage can no longer be dissolved. It is the main reason, some couples choose to perform their Okuru Kaka rite much later in their marriage and lives after having grown up children. For us, it didn’t make any difference to have it done now. There is no fear but abundant faith in ourselves. We know that where there is fear, danger already exists but where faith lies, love rules.

Obele, who is a princess of the Ibanichuka Royal House of Okrika, and I have been legally married for an upwards of 9 years. We are blessed with 3 beautiful children. The Okuru Kaka Marital Rite was the last of all we had done and now places us in proper stead as husband and wife within Okrika Kingdom. It was something I thought I needed to do, to more than anything else, thank her for her devotion, loyalty and support through the years. May God bless her. The union is now unbreakable by virtue of the laws governing Okrika custom, which apply to both of us.

For those who made it to the ceremony, especially those who trekked the long miles with us in accordance with the custom of Okrika Kingdom to make it known to the whole world that the Okuru has been kakaed, we thank you most heartily. Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu wrote a beautiful piece that captured the drama that followed the rite. It’s not mystical but as he said, encapsulates the beauty of tradition.

We thank His Excellency Gov. Nyesom Wike and his wife Hon. Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike for standing by us solidly and seeing us through the high stakes of the ceremony. Space and privacy would not permit us to name names. But God bless you all who in many ways than one joined us to make the day the remarkable success that it turned out to be.

Now that the Okuru has been kakaed, it is not out of place to once again say, it is over.

Click on any image to enlarge.

Oraye St. Franklyn is a barrister-at-law. He is senior special assistant to Governor Nyesom Wike on Social Media. He is a strategic communicator and good governance advocate, writes from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He tweets from @RealOraye. He is also on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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