all photos by the author except where otherwise noted

Efik traditions are closely attached to deep cultural norms that play an important role in solving social problems, creating strategies for improvement, and shaping community visions based on past wisdom. This accumulated knowledge addresses behavioral issues in Efik society which some view as corrosive; specifically, through the Ekpri Àkàtà masquerade, also known as ekpo okoneyo, or “ghost of the night,” hereafter Àkàtà. It is an all-male, nocturnal, secret society among the Efiks and people of neighboring towns in the Lower Cross River Basin (among the Oron and Ibibio people), Cameroon, and Equitorial Guinea. Àkàtà's roles in Efik society are woven into its moral fabric; its members are regarded as spirits, ubiquitous and magical, thus knowing every thought, scandal, and scrap of gossip in society.1 It performs annually between the months of November and January (Fig. 1).


You do not currently have access to this content.