The Igbo concept of a person

Among the Igbo of Nigeria ‘mmadu’ means person or human being. This article explores the etymology of the word. The Igbo concept of a person is rich in terms of its social, philosophical, and religious meanings. ‘Mmadu’ has a dual nature: material, relating to the body (‘ahu’), and immaterial, relating to the spirit (‘mmuo’). Human beings, therefore, belong to two complementary worlds: this world and the spiritual one. Interdependence is a fundamental principle in the Igbo concept of a person. The current of life is composed of experiences that bear an inner relation with those of others. Every single human experience is an idiographic episode that refers to a self (‘onwen’) and to others (‘ndi ozo’) as well. The Igbo have social, religious and ethical ideas common to many other groups, for instance concerning human goodness, the value of life. For the Igbo, the moral ideal of a person is encapsulated in good character, which in turn is inherently related to their world view. Ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Title: The Igbo concept of a person
Authors: Isiguzo, Andrew I.
Ukagba, George
Otakpor, Nkeonye
Year: 2004
Periodical: Africa: rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione
Volume: 59
Issue: 2
Pages: 231-243
Language: English
Geographic term: Nigeria
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40761740
Abstract: Among the Igbo of Nigeria ‘mmadu’ means person or human being. This article explores the etymology of the word. The Igbo concept of a person is rich in terms of its social, philosophical, and religious meanings. ‘Mmadu’ has a dual nature: material, relating to the body (‘ahu’), and immaterial, relating to the spirit (‘mmuo’). Human beings, therefore, belong to two complementary worlds: this world and the spiritual one. Interdependence is a fundamental principle in the Igbo concept of a person. The current of life is composed of experiences that bear an inner relation with those of others. Every single human experience is an idiographic episode that refers to a self (‘onwen’) and to others (‘ndi ozo’) as well. The Igbo have social, religious and ethical ideas common to many other groups, for instance concerning human goodness, the value of life. For the Igbo, the moral ideal of a person is encapsulated in good character, which in turn is inherently related to their world view. Ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]