Abakuá - Abakwá - Abacuá - Ñáñigo - Carabalíes
Abakuá members derive their culture from the Efik and Efo of the Cross River region in Nigeria, which Cubans call Carabali. They are organized in a set of over 150 potencias (lodges) located mainly in Havana, Matanzas, and Cardenas.
The people of Big Qua Town in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, Nigeria, are known as the Abakpa, the likely source for the name Abakuá. Big Qua Town is the home of the president of the Calabar Mgbe or Ékpè.
The Cuban Abakuá societies have a male-only membership, their Ékpè equivalent in the Cross River State are called lodges in English, they are fraternities. Both the Cuban and Nigerian lodges are Ékpè lodges.
There is also in Cuba an Efo cultural manifestation organized along family lines, the Brikamo, carried by the Calle family in Matanzas.
In 2001, the Efik National Association in the US began to have contact with Cuban Abakuá. There is evidence of prior contacts between the Abakuá and the Efik in Cuba, but the contact has not until now been sustained. Among such evidence is a plaque hanging on the walls of a potencia in Havana given by an Obong, a traditional leader of the Efiks.
The Abakuá gave us the rumba, one of Cuba's principal musical traditions. The Calle family, for example, is of Efo origin and is said to have invented the guaguanco, a type of rumba.
Roman Díaz y Omi Odara
Death Squad attacks Obong Palace, Cross River State, Nigeria 8/25/08 The Obong, traditional ruler of the Efik, escapes unhurt, many are wounded. Efik Ékpè lodges are ancestral to the Cuban Abakuá.
The painter Orbein, from Cayo Hueso and now living in Miami, presents a gallery of images inspired by Abakuá themes, 8/08
Before Calabar Burns, 8/8/2008 Press Release from the Etubom
Traditional Council of the Efik Nation on the murder and mayhem committed
by Cross River State government backed militias, with photos of some
Constitution of the Calabar Mgbe, 7/08 This Cross River, Nigeria,
organization has as goal reunion with all Ekpe, including those in Cuba
photo-gallery of the coronation of the new Obong of Calabar, 4/6/08
Calabar is one of the homelands of the Cuban Abakuá.
Interview with Bassey Ekpo Bassey, now the new Obong of Calabar, on
2/25/08. A progressive journalist, he favors the Cuban Abakuá's
defense of their culture. His people fought off 5 attempts at a
second coronation by corrupt elements, resulting in over 20 machete wounds
and at least 1 dead. The crooks were successful on the 6th attempt, backed
by a massive Cross River Government security presence and with the support
of missionaries bent on destroying Efik culture. See
The Obong in the News for continuing news on the fall out of these
Cuban Abakuá fueling a resurgence of traditional Ekpe culture in Cross River Delta, Nigeria - Statement by ‘Iberedem’ Fred Eno Essien, ‘Ukai’ of Ibibioland, and prominent Ekpe leader from Uruan, 1/08 Chief Ekpenyong Eyo Honesty Eyo II, reflects upon the impact that knowledge of Cubban Abakua is having upon Ekpe leaders of the Cross River region, 1/08 Chief Ekong Imona reflects upon the impact of the Cubans in Calabar, 2/08
Abakuá from Pogolotti, 2/08
Etubom Bassey Ekpe Bassey on Ekpe and Cuban Culture, English and Español, Calabar, Nigeria, 8/06
See a new Efik site: www.eburutu.org
A Secret Society Goes Public: The Relationship Between Abakuá and Cuban Popular Culture.” Ivor Miller, African Studies Review. vol. 43, no. 1 (April, 2000)
Andrés Petit: El hombre que vendió el secreto Abacuá, Muzio, María del Carmen, Juventud Rebelde (25 agosto, 1996)
Homenaje for Ignacio Piñeiro in Jesus Maria, an Abakwá barrio in Havana
This was filmed in a documentary by an Italian company, out in June
Left to right: El Goyo Hernandez, Pedrito El Yuma, Frank Oropesa, bongocero for el Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro, El Negro Bonko de Ibonda, Palillo Bonko de Mutanga, Ismael Bonko de Ikanfioro. All are Abakwá musicians.
El íreme Abakuá / Bárbara Balbuena Gutiérrez. Ciudad de La
Editorial Pueblo y Educación, c1996.
Ecorie Abakuá : cuatro ensayos sobre los ñáñigos cubanos / Tato Quiñones.
[La Habana] : Ediciones Unión, 1994.
Abakuá : una secta secreta / selección de textos Adriana Pérez Pérez,
Norma García Cabrera. Ciudad Habana, Cuba : Publicigraf, 1993.
Afro-Cuban religious experience : cultural reflections in narrative /
Eugenio Matibag. Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c1996.
Como suena un tambor abakuá / Arturo Lino, Neira Betancourt. Ciudad de La
Habana: Editorial Pueblo y Educación, c1991.
AfroCuba : an anthology of Cuban writing on race, politics and culture /
edited by Pedro Perez Sarduy and Jean Stubbs. Center for Cuban Studies.
Melbourne, Vic. : Ocean Press ; London : Latin American Bureau ; New York,
NY, USA : Distributed in the USA by the Talman Co., 1993.
The Afro-Hispanic Abakuá : a study of linguistic pidginization / by
Raphael A. Núñez-Cedeño, Roberto Nodal, [and] Rolando A. Alúm. Milwaukee :
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1982.
La Sociedad Abakuá y su poesía / Julio A. León and René León ; preface by
Antoine Oubari. Charlotte, N.C. : [s.n.], 1975.
The Abakuá language in Cuba : a glossary / compiled by Roberto Nodal.
[Milwaukee] : Dept. of Afro-American Studies, University of
Linguistic folklore in the latin caribbean : a selected glossary of the
Abakuá language in Cuba / by Roberto Nodal, Rolando A. Alum, Rafael
Núñez. [Milwaukee]: Department of Afro-American Studies, University of
On Abakuá rhythms
Album des photos prises en parallèle au film "Jour des Rois, jour Abakua" le 6 janvier 2008 (jour des Rois) par Daniel Chatelain et José Antonio Betancourt. picasaweb.google.com/ritmacuba/JourAbakua - plenty good photos here!
N'dibo Yeve Ngo Blog
[AfroCubaWeb] [Site Map] [Music] [Arts] [Authors] [News] [Search this site]