African-American Man Akachukwu Okeke (original name Lawrence Marqueze Patterson) will today pay the bride price on the head of Anwulika Udanoh.
But why is this historic? Well…Akachukwu is an African American and a proud son of Igboland. This sensitive brother looked back through 400 years of impenetrable darkness, through thousands of frozen bodies in the Middle Passage, through horrors of subhuman existence; to Igboland to find a wife in Umueri, Anambra State. So, if this is not historic, tell me what is\
To me, nothing in living memory drives home the full meaning of this wedding as the 1980 meeting between Chinua Achebe and James Baldwin, one of the greatest African American novelists. The two writers had admired each other from a distance for a long time until they finally met at a conference held by the African Literature Association in Florida. Breaking the momentary silence, Baldwin had remarked; “It’s very important that we should meet each other, finally, if I must say so, after something like 400 years.”
I am personally awed that after over 400 years of separation, we are not merely meeting our brothers and sisters wrenched away from us by greed and human failing, but falling in love with them and wedding them under African skies. Not in America!
The most fascinating thing about this scenario is not just that Akachukwu has traced his ancestors and is about to marry an Igbo princess. Many African Americans have established their Igbo roots. It is that, to my mind, Akachukwu is actually more Igbo than most of us. Indeed, since he discovered his roots, Akachukwu has been a resilient Igbo voice on social media; blessing us all with the rich treasures of his research efforts on Igbo history, culture and worldview. Many people have met themselves anew in the research mirror held aloft in Akachukwu’s sturdy hands. And like many true Igbo, he feels things deeply. He is touched by injustice, oppression and the human condition. He is an ancient Igbo soul; washed clean by the waters of the Atlantic and untouched by the inhumanity of slavery!
That was why, a few years ago, my story on the pathetic existence of abandoned Biafran veterans in a camp in Oji River, touched a raw nerve in him. Being an ex-service man himself, he could relate with the fears of abandonment and the precarious future that plague many war veterans. He quickly mobilized online efforts that led to a symbolic gesture by conscious Igbo youths to say “we care about you” to the ex-servicemen in a memorable way.
In addition, a robust online presence and strong identification with his roots have endeared Akachukwu to many Igbo people and earned him the unsolicited friendship of many youths. He commands a large online following with many Facebook denizens waiting for his posts to lighten their day. Even as a US soldier in Afghanistan; unsure of seeing the next day, Akachukwu kept our timelines buzzing with posts that made life seem like a dazzling sunrise we should all step into.
Quite predictably, he met Anwulika, a zestful and brilliant lady from the famous Udanoh family in Umueri, Anambra State online. Anwulika is the author of ‘Royal Kiss’ a romance drama and a fierce social media habitue whose posts are among the most anticipated in Nigeria’s online community.
And today, anyi ga eje Umueri je mee ego na isi Anwuli!
So, if you are in Anambra State and you are passionate about ife gbasalu Ndigbo, drop by at the Udanoh family house in Umueri let’s give Akachukwu and Anwulika the honour they deserve.
Jide ka iji, Warrior!
Credits and story By James Eze