the boys fraternity
uraga and ajas are masquerades found in nsukka, an igbo community in eastern nigeria. this class of masquerade is attributed to children between the age bracket of 8 and 15. they emerge in early december, moving as an ensemble of friends to both public and private spaces, entertaining people who care to offer them tips for their acts, usually dance and music. they make money which they share among themselves and return to their parents before disbanding for the christmas festival.
in the igbo land, masquerades are embodiments of the spirit and the human worlds. the mystique surrounding the masquerade is one of the key components of the igbo culture that survived western influences. it is generally believed that masquerades are spirits of our ancestors, showing themselves either as arbiters in disputes involving indigents or participants in communal affairs such as festivals and rites.
boys' fraternity seeks to reveal the facets and concepts of life that nurtures the origin-original of the african boy child, using the uraga and ajas children masquerades of nsukka in eastern nigeria. from the attainment of consciousness, the african boy child wants to become many things, but as he grows, he cross-fades from the communal, to the individual; from his innate fantasies; the escapee of becoming the dreamth to the real as not wished.