Over decades, people have been eager to know. What exactly did this “Mazi Mean”.
Who is “Mazi”
Is “Mazi” a title?
Is it a death right to any male of the family?
Today we are going to look into this wonderful topic, and discuss the little we know about “Mazi”.
Mazi maybe seen as title but not like Nze and Ozo of Anambra State.
Mazi is not a title but the present people of Arochukwu now see “Mazi” as title hence it is awarded or seen as death right of any male child in the family once their father is late.
The belief that Mazi is a death right is wrong, but in the olden days before someone can be referred as “Mazi” one of the quality or qualification is that his father must be late.
The Meaning of “Mazi”.
Mazi is an institution or group comprising of well traditional cultivated cultured men, who has the following qualities,
In the olden days, the people who were addressed as “Mazi” in the entire Arochukwu were not upto five (5) because it is not something you can acquire without a proper investigation which at the end of it, if you meet up to the demand you will now be coronated.
One of the requirements for “Mazi” is you must be rich as well as having your personal chamber known as ụlọ Nta.
Let’s take for instance, the people who were addressed as “Mazi’s” in the olden days were all wealthy, have their personal chamber and most often business men.
|Maazi Okoroji statue|
Mazi Okoroji of Ujari Village is one of the respected prominent men in Arochukwu then who was not just known in Arochukwu but in the entire universe.
Now ask yourself why was it so?, Why was he so famous up to this level till the extent when you come to his chamber then and he rubs you the native white chalk on your hand he has given you a green card to travel any part of the world without an official letter, Visa or any other equivalent from the immigration company.
Do you know that it is because of his dignity in the society, do you know it is because of his worth and sincerity in the society then, or do you think he has some other backups or titles that made him famous?. Mazi Okoroji became famous following his coronation as “Mazi” after which our ancestors examined his life out of his integrity saw him worthy to manage some spiritual powers, Mazi Okoroji used his “Mazi Chamber” or ụlọ Nta as formal assembling of the retinue of a sovereign; as, to hold a judgement and bringing out a truthful and transparent judgement.
People from far and wide were being directed to his Chamber for sincerity judgements.
Mazi Okoroji was a wealthy business man, who married more than one wife, he gives loans to the needy and uses his bunch of sticks to know the agreed date for the returning of the loan.
I took time to point out some of the qualities of Mazi Okoroji to show tell you that “Mazi is not a death right” but there are some qualities you can acquire before you can be coronated as Mazi.
Mazi maybe likely seen as Okpanko with a slight differences.
The qualities of Okpanko can not be compared to Mazi, Okpankos are being selected by Eze Aro to make up his Chamber in decision making who are knowledgeable administrators of Aro Kingdom.
Come to think of it, have you asked yourself why is it that in the whole Arochukwu we have only three (3) Mazi Chambers in Arochukwu, or is it that the rest don’t have money to set up theirs?.
The reason is because when we still follow our traditions, an ordained Mazi must own a chamber out of jealous and pride everyone now wants to answer Mazi (wether merit or demerit) to deserve some accolade.
“Mazi” is in all respects originated from Arochukwu Ancient Kingdom, and from there it culturally diffused to other communities by way of Aro’s oracular trade network.
In all indications, “mazi” is not a title in the same way that Nze and Ozo may be. I have yet to know of any instance in which a ceremony exists to institute someone as a “mazi”. I also do not see a reason to associate Aro’s “mazi” title synonymously with “elders”, since it seems just as applicable to sons, daughters and wives as it does to men.
Now, by its usage, I would say that Aro’s “mazi” title (and its derivatives) serve a somewhat similar cultural purpose given to a sincere person in Arochukwu whose father is late.
in Western culture. So far, the diffused “mazi” title seems to have remained relatively in tact, with the exception that the “mazi” derivatives (nwa mazi, etc.) don’t seem to be present in the communities that the title diffused to.
The “mazi” title is mostly limited to northern Abia and a portion of Imo; not as prevalent in southern Abia. However, there exists an expression [“maazi”] that was traditionally used as a greeting by some communities in the former Obioma Ngwa LGA. It is only in the last 30 or 40 years that the greeting has diffused to other Ngwa communities. The diffusion of the “mazi” title into Ikwere likely resulted from Isiokpo and its Aro affiliation.
“Mazi” seems to occur mainly among eastern Igbo and (to some degree) southern Igbo culture groups but it was originated from Ancient Arochukwu Kingdom. Though hence some other parts of the world now make use of Mazi in addressing somebody but it original meaning still attributes to someone worthy of emulation, respect and integrity.
© Nnadozie Victor Onyemaobi