The symbolism of having a tattoo in Nigeria.

The symbolism of having a tattoo in Nigeria.

What has your tattoo been associated with? It’s different for everyone right? I have been asked are you a cultist? Why a dragon? No man will ever marry you, having a tattoo doesn’t make you look decent bla bla bla, the list goes on and on and on and on.

I have told people severally, a tattoo is a form of art which represents people’s feelings either at a particular time in their life, an experience they do not want to forget or how they want to be seen. People have drawn the faces of relatives, lost love one’s, present love one’s, their parents, sister’s, brother’s, and so on.

Image result for nigerians with tattoosImage result for nigerians with tattoosImage result for nigerians with tattoos

Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, In Egypt the majority of tattoos were found on women, indicating status. They also used tattoos for healing, religion, and as a form of punishment.

Tattoos were probably also used in ancient medicine as part of the treatment of the patient. In 1898, Daniel Fouquet, a medical doctor of Cairo, wrote an article on “medical tattooing” practices in Ancient Egypt, in which he describes the tattooed markings on the female mummies found at the Deir el-Bahari site. He speculated that the tattoos and other scarifications observed on the bodies may have served a medicinal or therapeutic purpose.

In Nigeria having a tattoo has branded you an outcast; you are seen as indecent or irresponsible and shouldn’t be taken serious even though you IQ may be off the roof loll, how shallow can we be?. I read an article once about a Youngman who went for an interview and passed all stages because he had a tattoo he wasn’t offered the job, well now do you see my point?

Have we all heard about the Danish woman Anjan Ringgren Loven with tattoos all over her body? I am very sure we all have and ofcourse we know what she does and how much of a great woman she is Godbless her soul, her helping all those kids and doing other charitable works. Why has no one rejected help from her because she has tattoos all over her body? Why has no one rejected money or help from celebrities because they have tattoos all over their body? Like I said we are a hypocritical lot, if it doesn’t favor us we want no part in it. Once again a tattoo is a form of expressional art.

Do we not know as Africans that tattoo originated from Africa? And having a tattoo on your body has a symbolic meaning? I have seen tattoos on a body which quoted scriptures or poem, feelings and words which cannot be said but can be expressed through Arts, of course some people still disagree tattoos aren’t Art. Our ancestors had tattoos all over their body, they used tattoos to dignify class and status, Oh Africa! how have we forgotten our cultures and the basis of our traditions?.

In the west, early Britons used tattoos in ceremonies. The Danes, Norse, and Saxons tattooed family crests (a tradition still practiced today. Tattoos have always had an important role in ritual and tradition. In Borneo, women tattooed their symbols on their forearm indicating their particular skill. If a woman wore a symbol indicating she was a skilled weaver, her status as prime marriageable material was increased. Tattoos around the wrist and fingers were believed to ward away illness. Throughout history tattoos have signified membership in a clan or society. It has been believed that the wearer of an image calls the spirit of that image. The ferocity of a tiger would belong to the tattooed person. That tradition holds true today shown by the proliferation of images of tigers, snakes, and bird of prey.

I do not know if it is just a Nigerian mentality, but having a tattoo should not automatically tag you a wayward person, a scum of society, a reject, an infidel, or the last option on the human food chain. People have tattoos for different reasons, like I have stated earlier get to know someone before judging from afar, before you refuse them that job opportunity why not give them a trial, before you call that girl a prostitute because she has tattoos crested on her body have you gotten to know her personally, like I said in my article about Gayism Africans are really a hypocritical lot, they would rather hail a pretender, a criminal or rather a pedophile than someone who’s real and isn’t ashamed of who they are and what they represent.

I am Isabella Ibeji and I have tattoos on me, it is symbolic and wasn’t drawn because I got nothing else to do, it is a representation of how I feel and felt at the moment I had it and a personality I wanted to be associated with, if you feel disturbed and threatened by it then you are the one who’s got a problem.

Isabella Ibeji




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