Wurkun Tribe (Taraba State)
The sight of bare-chested and barefooted men of different age groups, dancing with intricate steps to the rhythm of the drums at the village square wasn’t an everyday sight for a typical Lagosian; and beholding such sight all night while enjoying free flow of Burkutu, served by young ladies you’d be proud to tag real African beauties, swaying rhythmically to the melodious beats is way too much fun; especially when compared to expensive wine, call girls and blaring sounds in most clubs. I was reminded of Africa, despite having not stepped out of Nigeria all my life. That is the power of Pephe, the Wurkuns’ annual festival dance, a thanksgiving to God for a bountiful harvest of guinea corn.
With beaming faces, some danced the Guroguro by clasping short sticks, shaking their chests, stooping and rising in consonance with the beat; while some others the Kidan Noma, a simple digging gesticulation of two arms clasping short sticks to the joyful chants of the women.
Sipping my Burkutu, I reminisced about what I’ve learned within the past ten months. As much as I detested the northern part of the country due to its security challenges, and screamed blue murder when I realized I was posted to Taraba state for N.Y.S.C; now I knew that northerners aren’t just Hausas or fulanis, but have other tribes like Wurkun, Jahuna, Kuteb, Vommi, Jukun among several others. Also, if they are properly orientated on the value of lives regardless of religion and culture from a young age, they would be more progressive than they presently are.
A lady smiled at me as she led the song for another group, and I winked back smiling because it was Yambakam, my wife to be after her tertiary education.