I was nine, or a little above nine.
My father was a General Lay Reader in one of those orthodox churches. And that was the beginning of my trouble. There were things outside the church that drew my attention. I enjoyed following masquerades around. My father’s hallowed position in the church forbade it.
But I love masquerades – the masks, the smell of their “palm frond clothing”, their skilful dance steps, and lots more. So sometimes, I would sneak out of the house, daring my father’s whip should he find out, to watch them. I would peep from tiny holes among other children to see how they were dressed up. My love for them grew in bounds. Many years after, the love i have always had for them found expressions-not as a masquerades but documenting MASK AND MASQUERADES among the NENI people of Anambra state.
Some of these masks are as old as my dead grandafather. But unlike my grandfather, they are still alive and still counting years.