The whole drift of effortless beauty is defined by the Akwa Ibom woman, the very reason why we say Akwa Ibom Ayaya, meaning Akwa Ibom is beautiful. The Ibom women are some of the most beautiful women, not just in Nigeria or Africa but as a whole black race. Some may be oblivious to this fact, as Akwa Ibom women mostly are reserved, content and doing their own thing in their space. Some are quite private and not necessarily wanting to be out there. Across villages and towns in the state, you come across women, in their natural beauty and charm. Someone once said, ‘Their beauty is calming and easy on the eyes’.
The Ibibio people of Akwa Ibom State are regarded as the most ancient ethnic group in Nigeria, related to the Annangs and the Efiks. The tribes of Annang, Oron, Ibeno, Ekid, Ibibio in Akwa Ibom State, and Efik in Cross River State, share some similarities in names, language, traditional beliefs and culture as a whole. These tribes speak varying forms of Efik/Ibibio, but ultimately understand the major Efik and Ibibio languages. The Efik and Ibibio language are quite similar, howbeit a few disparities, both tribes understand each other in language. The closest tribes and neighbours of the Akwa Ibom region are the Igbos to the North West, the Ijaws to the South West and of-course the Efiks to the South East.
The Ibibio, Ekid (Eket), Annang and Ibeno woman dresses influenced by the typical and indigenous South-south, South-east Nigeria, mode of dressing. This outfit comprises the blouse (Itong ofong) made from any material of choice, the double wrapper (Ndot Iba) mostly the George fabric or any other fabric of choice like the velvet, and a head-tie (Ofong Ibuod), made from a firm fabric of different textures and shine. The Oron tribes in Akwa Ibom State, have women predominantly dressing like the Efiks. However, some choose a blend of both modes of dressing, coupled with other maiden outfits for functions, especially weddings.
Though the entire South East and South South Nigeria where Akwa Ibom belongs, mostly dress in the blouse and wrapper outfit, an Akwa Ibom bride, stands out in the way and style it is worn. Other tribes like the Ijaws accessorise with several large beads on the neck, but the Akwa Ibom woman typically uses simpler and few accessories, beads or other jewellery on the neck, accompanied by a purse to taste, a hand fan and an umbrella when she’s about to be brought out to meet her husband. A few brides make a scarf from the same fabric as the head-tie, and this is thrown over the shoulder.
The double wrapper has now been recreated in different forms to suit the bride’s taste, ranging from gown-like to skirt-like designs showing the double cut in front. Some brides choose a flowing gown, with a head-tie as one of their outfits. Not-withstanding many brides still prefer to go with the full weighted double wrapper on their waists. The Akwa Ibom bride stands out perfectly with her groom, as the Akwa Ibom groom outfit, perfectly compliments the bride in her “Ndod Iba”. The brides featured on this post have embodied a unified range in which the double wrapper is worn in the most gorgeous and spectacular way.
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