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The Concept of CHI in the Role of Igbo Life

In the Southeastern part of Nigeria lived an Igbo people who were associated with ethnic groups having traditional beliefs and practices of Odinani. As part of the Igbo Mythology, CHI became the individual stronghold of their faith and beliefs as it gives strong influences in Igbo life. Chi then is their supreme GOD or their GOD Almighty which is much related with their religious traditions and beliefs owing more their fate of life in accordance with their faith to their CHI.

“In Odinani, the Igbo People believe that each person has their own personal spiritual assistant or guardian called Chi, appointed to them before and at the time of their birth and remains with them for the rest of their life on Earth. A person’s Chi is the personification of that individual’s fate, which is credited for an individual’s life’s successes, misfortunes and failures. The Igbo believe that their success in life is determined by their Chi and that no man can rise past the greatness of his /her own Chi.” (Odinani, 2009)

The role of CHI in Igbo life is very significant in the sense that it plays a major role for every success or failure that any Igbo people will encounter in the course of their lives. It has given an emphasis that life of an Igbo people will be meaningless or worthless if not associated with their CHI or Supreme God.

The influence of CHI is also manifested in gender naming of Igbo people where hierarchy of gender biases is prevalent (Onukawa, 2000). CHI then became a religious concept for every Igbo individual that guide them in dealing their daily life towards their future, may it be successful or a failure as long as it is in conformity with the beliefs of CHI concept.

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This CHI religious concept can be compared with Christian beliefs also as Supreme God being given the emphasis on how to deal life according to its purpose. Thus the Diaspora of Igbo people are unknown since many Africans living outside the country are with an Igbo descent living a Christian life similar to the concept of CHI.

The manifestation of religious CHI concept is very much attributed to their beliefs and traditions just like for example the Igbo gender naming. In this sense, CHI concept is personalized as much as faith in CHI is personalized also. Although nowadays, majority of Igbo people were Christianized yet basically both has similar belief, a Supreme God.

Therefore, the concept of Chi for every Igbo life has played a significant role in heir lives taken into account their beliefs and traditions for a more profound faith so that the fate of every Igbo people will depend on it. It is very important to note that Igbo people though it has a complex diversity of its descendants but their beliefs and traditions centered on CHI concept are also has some distinctions similar to Christian beliefs which is very necessary in promoting way of life and dealing life positively as it may seem.

Igbo people has that distinct feature of faith so that it became their living tradition for the people to know that somehow in their own culture God or CHI has something to do with it. CHI then is the ultimate goal of Igbo people to live life fully according to the concept and to live harmoniously within themselves and others.

The concept of CHI in every Igbo lives exist continually as Igbo people consider that religious concept as important as their culture and beliefs so that their existence will always linger in the country of Africa. Although some African American or some who migrated to Britain due to British Colony in some parts of Africa yet Igbo descent still has an influence in their lives.

 Work Cited:

1.   Igbo Myhtology. Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. 19 February 2009. Odinani. 5 April 2009 <>.

2.   Onukawa, M. C. The Chi Concept in Igbo Gender Naming, Volume 70, Page 107-117 DOI 10.3366/afr.2000.70.1.107, e-ISSN 0001-9720, Available Online February 2000. Africa. 5 April 2009 <>.

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