Sunday, 17 November 2013

Kingdom of Benin Short Stories

Read these two beautiful books on Ancient Kingdom of Benin stories. Readers of every age will be able to empathise with the adorable and vulnerable characters who face every day challenges with very positive outlooks. Both are guaranteed to entertain you.

Click on the images on the right to view and purchase from Amazon.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Complete Key Stage 2 SATs Mathematics revision practice book

The revision exercises in this book have been used successfully with children from various primary schools in preparation for the Standard Assessment Tests taken at the end of their primary school education in Year 6 and for improving their basic mathematics skills like calculations and reasoning.

Secondary students and others who are not confident in some areas of mathematics will find this book, a valuable handbook.

The book is suitable for whole class use, groups or individuals working with an adult or independently at school.

The book is also ideal for private or home tutoring.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Igue Festival part 2

Late December 1896:  Last Market Day before Igue Festival.

Edo Iselogbe,

Hi Everyone, 

This is my last blog before the great festival of Igue commences; you are in for a real treat. Just join me.

Ama arrived last night to join Uwa and Me for the festival; she says she nearly did not make it through the blockade by the Edo soldiers at the border trying to keep visitors out; anyhow, she and her entourage managed to convince them that they must attend this festival as they had promised me that they would and luckily the soldiers know her dad the chief well. So Ama is here right now spending time with Uwa; tonight Otiti the palace story teller will be entertaining at Chief Irriah’s compound.  

Otiti the mother of all story tellers will be enthralling us with great tales of our ancestral feats and bravery. There is Oba Eweka, Oba Ozolua, Oba Esigie and the great others, I suspect though that tonight, we are going to join in celebrating Oba Ewuare she calls ‘The Great One’. He restored and strengthened all our celebration so it would be a fitting tribute to him tonight.   

The palace, other compounds and family houses about town are filing up with our families and friends from abroad who have come back specially to join in this celebration and festival of blessings. All the outskirt Enogies (traditional Rulers) have arrived and staying at various chiefs' compounds across town. Gifts of food, drinks, fabric, jewellery they have brought as their contribution abound about the place. Ama brought a big basketful of smoked and dried fish, a calabash of tomatoes, okra and other vegetables, a bundle of yams and a bag of rice. Her mum had sent them with some carriers who had to return after safe delivery of the goods to my mum. There have been so many contributions from everyone who has come to join in the celebration that we are going to have enough food to feed the whole kingdom for the next year. Great!

Here are some things you need to remember throughout the 9 days festival:
1. The reason you have not seen His Majesty and some of his chiefs for some days now is that they have been preparing for the Igue festival by completing the Agwe (fasting). So when you see them for the first time on the first day, you need to cheer at the top of your vocal cords. Your cheerful noise will encourage and reassure them that they have your full support as a people.

 2. Remember that unless you are a chief, you must arrive early each day to get a good spot to watch the celebration from, otherwise you will not be able to see a thing. Try to get out of bed as soon as the cock crows, have a proper bath, adorn yourself in your finest attire and jewellery, have a good meal and head straight for the palace to secure your space.

 3. If you are accompanying a chief as part of his entourage, remember to get his own programme the day before otherwise, you will find that you have been pushed out of your role and limelight; it is after all a great honour to be accompanying a chief to these celebrations.

 4. Remember to be on your best behaviour, no offhand comment and cheer as loudly as you can for every single activity by the Oba or his chiefs. You are there to show your support for His Majesty and his great Chiefs, so do so very enthusiastically.
5. Have a good rest each night so you are refreshed for the next day’s activities and events.
6. Make sure that you manage to visit all chiefs’ and other people’s houses for some feasting and dancing and take care to make your presence felt, lavishing praises on their wives and children when they take the dance floor will not go unnoticed. You might be invited to join one of the youth clubs after this. 
7. Remember that the festival is a time for observing our religious rituals as well as a time for merry making, feasting, wining, dining and dancing. It is very important to enjoy yourself. 
8. Plan how you will use the nine days fruitfully to gain the most from all the generosity people will be showing. This means make the most of it or you could miss out on a freebee. The Chiefs normally give out souvenirs like wooden Ise game boards carved in their images on it; you could also collect some free spending money they give out as tips or when you get 'showered' during your dance. Be creative and use your full imagination during the nine days! 

Igue Festival Programme of Events. 

Day 1: His Majesty dresses in his ceremonial robes and sits on the royal throne. His High ranking chiefs led by the Iyase (the Prime Minister) pay homage to him by dancing with their Eben emblem. The Ubi ritual of wading off evil spirits takes place. The Oba blesses all the homes in the kingdom through the Ewere. The Oba and his chiefs pay homage at our ancestral shrines.  

Day 2: Ritual day. The Efas (the blessings priests) sanctify His Majesty with white chalk on his forehead . His Majesty blesses the sacrificial items. The high priest the Isekhure cleanses and slaughters the animals in a special ritual. His Majesty, his chiefs and members of the palace societies are anointed. 

Day 3: Members of the Royal family, the Princes and Princesses dance to honour His Majesty and the kingdom. 

Day 4: Free day for community celebrations and activities like masquerades, Feasting, dining and lots of dancing. Groups of friends and family members visit each other's houses to enjoy the feast each household has prepared. Spend all day in merriment, feasting and dancing.  

Day 5: Free day for community celebrations and activities like masquerades, Feasting, dining and lots of dancing. Groups of friends and family members visit each other's houses to enjoy the feast each household has prepared. Spend all day in merriment, feasting and dancing. Visit the houses you haven’t yet.  

Day 6: Edo people – the whole community celebrate and visit and dance for the Oba to honour him. 

Day 7: Free day for community celebrations and activities like masquerades, Feasting, dining and lots of dancing. Groups of friends and family members visit each other's houses to enjoy the feast each household has prepared. Spend all day in merriment, feasting and dancing. Visit the houses you haven’t yet. 

Day 8: Free day for community celebrations and activities like masquraders, Feasting, dining and lots of dancing. Groups of friends and family members visit each other's houses to enjoy the feast each household has prepared. Spend all day in merriment, feasting and dancing. Visit the houses you haven’t yet. 

Day 9: Last day of celebration, by now you should have visited all houses and joined in their celebration and feasting. Remember no one should be left out, check that you have seen everyone, we are one unit this festival time; we eat from the same pot and drink from the same keg. The Enogies (Outskirts rulers) must now set their own dates for celebrating their festival in the same fashion back in their domain. These will be around the New Year.
Right, that is how things will run, I hope that I have given you a good idea of what to expect. I have got to go now, I have my own preparations to do: I have my hair to braid, my jewellery to make and my make up to produce.

In four days time when the festival gets under way, I will provide you with a daily guide to events through my twitter page. Check every night before so you know what is happening. Here is the link:

 Watch the video of modern Igue festival here:
Princess Iyomon

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Igue - Festival

Dry season 1896

Iselogbe Edo!


It is a frantic time at the palace and about the kingdom as we prepare for our world famous Igue festival which has been celebrated for over a thousand years. It is that special time of the year when His Majesty the King and some of his chiefs fast in order to usher in a good and prosperous new year for our people.

I know it is five Market Days away from now but a lot of preparation has to take place before the 9 days festival begins. His Majesty and his chiefs open a kingdom wide celebration which each outskirt province Enogie (traditional ruler) celebrate in their domain. Take my word for it, it is the most special festival in our calendar because every member of the kingdom participates fully; the Oba, blesses every home in the kingdom, the Iyase (Prime Minster) gives the Oba Peace leaves, The Chiefs dance to honour the Oba and every member of the kingdom joins in the celebrations and merrymaking which follow. This is such a special time for us, foreign visitors are barred during the period for it a time for us to bond as one and to honour our ancestors just by ourselves.

Presents and farm produce such as yams, cassava, cocoyams and plantain have already begun to arrive at the palace and chiefs’ houses from far and near. Presents from Outskirt Enogies to his Majesty include Ebens and other metal works crafted by their best blacksmiths to venerate the king head. I am so looking forward to all the fun I will be having with Uwa. Watch this space!

 Musician’s drummers and masqueraders and other entertainers are homing their skills ready for the big day when they accompany the kingdom’s chiefs and other important dignitaries.

With everyone chipping in and doing their bit, what spectacle the kingdom will look one Market Day before Igue festival!

Join me then for an update of events.

Princess Iyomon

Monday, 22 October 2012

I have just spied a ghost!

Planting Season 1894 – My Coast adventures


I have just beheld a ghost; every bone in my body is trembling so bad that I can’t stop shaking. I am saying my prayers right now but I not getting any relief; ‘Oh please Osanobua, God almighty, make haste to deliver me from these terrors’.

Yesterday, Ama and her sister Omosegho had promised to take us to see the Ebo (Whiteman) and Uwa, Edugie and I were so looking forward to this adventure that I do not think any of us slept a wink. But things seemed to have taken off to a slow start on that matter this morning, I was not about to let it rest, I was desperate to observe the Ebo going about his daily business or else what would I tell when we returned home to the palace.

Chief Irriah and the other chiefs set off pretty early for their business in town with the Ebo and all the female adults had seemingly arranged to visit their families on this day, we children were therefore left to our own devices.  

‘Well, can we go now? ‘I enquired of Ama after she had adorned herself with some very impressive beads.

‘We need to hold on for a bit for one never knows if any of the adults is going to come back to check on us; if we are not here we could get into very serious trouble and be grounded for many days to come, better not to risk it.’; ‘I will tell you when.’ Ama promised.

After what seemed like ages, Ama finally called out ‘Ready!’ I sprang up from my seat and made to join the others. The weather had just begun to warm up a bit.

We walked excitedly through the town, chatting about what we would say to the Ebos when we met them. Oblivious to the greetings from people we met, I marvelled at the big compounds of the chiefs which stood in the middle of town, I secretly wondered if they were as rich as Edo chiefs.

 Shortly, we came to a freshly cut path on the outskirts of town and walked along this until we came to a large clearing where in the middle were about twenty Ebos playing with slabs of wood and a round object which Ama says is called a ball. The Ebos were taking turns to hit the ball and run from one end of the clearing to the other, it looked like they were trying to see who got there first.

At first, Ebo waved at us when they noticed us then completely ignored us carrying on with their game. We just stood there and watched and when the sun bit into our skin, we sat under a tree shade. Our giggles and laughs did not seem to interfere with their concentration on their game ; once in a while, one of them would stop to wipe the dripping sweat off his face and neck; poor things, how hot they must feel. They carried on thus till the sun was right overhead and they stopped and went into a house nearby.

‘I was enjoying that; Ebo, come back!’ I uttered to no avail, they just went inside.

‘It is too hot for them to carry on playing now, they will return when it is cooler or on some other day; they are not used to all this heat you know.’ Ama explained.

‘I don’t care; I just want to see more of the game!’ I uttered.

‘Actually, we need to be getting back for some food now.’ It was Edugie.

‘What a splendid idea; we can come back later’ Ama added.

‘Later when?’ I wanted to know.

‘Later tonight.’ Ama promised; that sounded good enough for me and dropped the matter. We were soon on our way home.

No adults had returned by the time we got back to Ama’s house; we had the parlour to ourselves and as I was tired and not particularly hungry,  I sank into a chair and soon dozed off into dreamland. In my dream, one of the Ebos was smiling at me and holding out his hand with a juicy mango; as I reached out to   collect the mango from him, it suddenly turned rotten and full of gigantic viscous looking red soldier ants, they were soon crawling up my arm, dreading the deadly stings, I screamed. I woke up to find Edugie kneeling over me; ‘What happened?’ she asked.

‘I had a really nasty dream about the Ebo.’

‘You and your dreams! Would you like anything to eat now?’  

‘No thanks!’ still trembling from the terror of my dream, I had quite lost my appetite. Ama invited us to her back garden where we spent the rest of the afternoon, plucking various fruit from trees.

 It was after dinner that Ama held good her promise and we went back to see the Ebo in his house this pitch black dark night. Our walk there was uneventful; we were quiet as we did not want anyone seeing us go there. Ama took us through a path she says she knows very well, the plan we were going to spy on him from the window of his parlour. On arrival, we sat still staring at the pitch black window, there was nothing to see. Then without any warning, a light came on and there in the middle of the room was a ‘ghost’. I screamed as loud as my vocal cords would allow; ‘Who’s there?’ It was the Ebo, time to beat a retreat; we turned and ran as fast as our legs could carry us.

‘What was that about?’ Ama asked as we slipped back into the compound as if we had never left.

‘I thought I saw a ghost.’ I stammered.

‘Well the Ebo can look like a ghost when a light is shown on him in complete darkness.’

‘You tell me that now, thanks for nothing, I could have had a heart attack back there!’; furious, I turned and left them standing there, calling it a day.

I am clearly still much shaken from the ‘ghost’ experience, I just pray that I do not have any more nightmares about the Ebo tonight; I have certainly had my fill of him for now.

I just want to go back home now!

CU around.


Princess Iyomon

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Planting Season 1894


 Here is a bit of gossip for you.  Ama has been filling us in on the happenings at the coast with the Whiteman and the curiosities they have been generating with their way of life here.

 Take this for instance:

We had been up half the night with countless tales from Ama about happenings at the coast with the Whiteman. One of the most fascinating was how easily he takes to the big waters. It was told us that he on  a daily basis, takes his clothes off leaving just some under pants, jumps into the sea, goes under water for a while and comes up again, repeating this many times before eventually coming back to shore visibly unharmed. Most peculiar of all, he would go far into the sea and return much later looking very pleased with himself. Ama had heard it tell that the Whiteman finds this daily chore very relaxing though she could not understand why he never disappeared permanently under the water and why the undersea people never cared about keeping him with them for good. She just did not get this one.
‘But, that is where he comes from; he comes from the undersea kingdom!’ I blurted out recalling the numerous stories Otiti and the other palace story tellers had told us about the White people who in the past had come over the seas to visit the King.

‘What do you mean?’ Ama enquired.

‘Well, it is said that the White men used to come to see the king, bring him  presents; buy things that they needed and when they were leaving after trading with the chiefs, the king gave them numerous presents and sent some of his soldiers to escort them back to their ship. The soldiers stayed on the coast and watched till they had travelled some distance and disappeared into the sea, before going back to report to the king. ’

 ‘But these ones do not go back; they just go into the sea every day and come back up again. ’ Ama uttered exasperatedly.

‘Maybe they go to tell their people about us;’  ‘But I do not understand why they have to do so every day;’ Edugie looked puzzled, no doubt imagining how difficult this would have been for her had it been her job.

  ‘I do not believe that I have ever seen any Whiteman at the palace, Edugie, have you? It was me thinking aloud.

‘No, I haven’t!’ she responded.

‘So why are they staying here at the coast instead of coming to see the king?

‘All I keep hearing is that they are quarrelling with the King.’ Ama volunteered.

‘Why would anyone want to quarrel with the king?’ I asked.

‘The way they speak through their noses is annoying because you cannot understand them, maybe they have said something under their nose and someone has told the King the wrong thing.’ Uwa had not said anything till now; she looked thoughtful; nodding her head at the same time. ‘Chief, my dad, told me that the reason we are here is that they the Edo chiefs want to try to sort things out, maybe this time, the Whiteman will speak slowly so that they can be understood and maybe not speak so much through their noses.’ Uwa added. This seemed to make a lot of sense, after all no one of us wanted any disagreements between the Whiteman and the King particularly as the Whiteman used to bring presents to the King.

 ‘I still believe that they are spies.’ It was Ama, looking very worried.

 ‘Do you all know what, we should just sleep now and in the morning, we can go and see for ourselves. We could see if we can understand a word they are saying, speaking through one’s nose is not helpful when people don’t understand you.’ I was now more than ever anxious to behold the Whiteman myself; I have not ever seen anyone speak through their nose before, this promised to be an experience worth having; one I was looking so very forward to.

 With all in agreement, we turned in for the night.

 Catch Yah!
Princess Iyomon.

A New Era

Planting Season 1894


 Welcome back. The girl, Moi, needed a break but we are back now.
 Keep reading.

 Princess Iyomon