APPRECIATING OUR CULTURE AND TRADITIONS (Betem Liberation Day 2017)

​© Chris Sam

Somewhere in Africa where the sun sets and rise, between the labours and commitments of determine and committed people, and where culture and traditions speaks a common language, is Betem, known for their hospitality and abundance of natural resources, a community where creativity is exhibited by her natives and strangers treated as brothers. Located in the central region of Cross River state In Nigeria, Betem becomes a spectacle of true African cultures and traditions as her people come together to celebrate their successful return as refugees during the Nigerian Civil war.


The Betem liberation festival which has become an annual event, celebrated from the 16th to 19th of January of every year, becomes an integral part of tourism in Cross River State, as people from across the country spend this 4 days enjoying the hospitality of the people, creating moments within the atmosphere of culture and friendship. 

It was indeed, a memorable experience as Sights and rhymes join thousands of tourists to enjoy this year’s epic display of culture.

Considering what festival means, as an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or traditions, often marked as a local or national holiday, we have come to understand that Festivals often serve to fulfill specific communal purposes, especially in regards to commemoration or thanksgiving. 


The celebrations offer a sense of belonging for religious, social, or geographical groups, contributing to group cohesiveness. They may also provide entertainment, which was particularly important to local communities before the advent of mass-produced entertainment. Festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics also seek to inform community members of their traditions; the involvement of elders sharing stories and experience provides a means for unity among families.


In modern times, festivals may be attended by strangers such as tourists, who are attracted to some of the more eccentric or historical ones.

There are numerous types of festivals in the world and most countries celebrate important events or traditions with traditional cultural events and activities. Most culminate in the consumption of specially prepared food (showing the connection to “feasting”) and they bring people together.

The Betem people, who’s culture and traditions embraces strangers and tourist alike every year, open up their arms of hospitality to welcome as many tourist or strangers, to the most significant and historical moments of the community. Sharing the history and also exhibiting their rich cultural heritage to the amazement of the crowd.









Sights and rhymes share this amazing moments with you through picAfric.

*(References – Wikipedia)

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IN THE STREETS 

© Chris Sam for picAfric

Within the streets are both exciting and painful moments, and hidden within the smiles are dark and passionate desires to change one’s social level. The busyness within the streets simply defines man constant search for purpose and fulfilment.

As I take a walk under the hot scorching sun, my entirety was focus towards a new discovery of human behaviours, response and experiences which have taught me several lessons in life.
Walking through the streets, I could feel the festive season more closer, cultural displays of masquerades, known as “Ekpo” children and adults hawking, students rushing towards the university campus, and the sun not friendly.

However, persons hoping for a better life within this streets walls become more exposed to the dangers of the streets. Hoping to find a better life, lots of young people are confronted with the harsh realities of street life. Before long, they realise that life in the streets is more dangerous than it seems. 

Standing by a quiet corner to take a few shots, one of the streets boys approached me with series of questions, while at the same another try to round me up, probably to rob me or pick my pockets, distracted by the sudden appearance of another adult they took to their heels. Within my short experience, I have observed that they do not have enough to eat or a roof over their heads. Which introduced them into streets rubbery and are frequently arrested by the police for loitering. Particularly at night, girls are in danger of being raped, phones being snatch and bags being collected.

Such is the life in the streets 

PicAfric with Chris Sam (Feat) Bishops & Commy Nuptial Bliss

PicAfric with Chris Sam takes you across the October  love breeze as it never stopped blowing.

There’s something very “happily ever after” about a traditional marriage or a wedding. 

The preparation process reads a lot like a basic story outline — from the time of falling in love to the proposal which kicks things off, each major decision mirrors a plot point with its minor conflicts and resolutions, and the few weeks just before the wedding are so jam-packed with bumps in the road and heightened anticipation that it can be easy to view the day itself as the obvious climax and the eventual bliss that follows.

PicAfric takes you across the nuptial bliss of October between the two love birds Bishop & Comfort (Oham Bassey Arikpo & Comfort Arong) as they took the bold steps of walking down the Isle to seal their love story. 

The event which was graced by respected members of the society across the Cross River state political landscape and beyond, was the envy of all, as the bride and groom in elegance and pride took the nuptial dance to the excitement of everyone present. 

sights & Rhymes photoAfric takes you on a photo tour of the event. Brace yourself for a WOW moments.





For more pictures do not miss a copy of Sights & Rhymes October -December issue, which will soon be found across the nation or you can call 📞 08037606985 to book your copy.  Thanks and God bless 

Note: you can call PicAfric to be featured on our PicAfric page. 08037606985

Redefining moments with sights & Rhymes 

VILLAGE LIFE, In Africa (picAfrica)

​pictures by Chris Sam

A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet but smaller than a town, with a population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand. Though often located in rural areas. Villages are normally permanent, with fixed dwellings; however, transient villages can occur. Further, the dwellings of a village are fairly close to one another, not scattered broadly over the landscape, as a dispersed settlement.

Although many patterns of village life have existed, the typical village was small, consisting of perhaps 5 to 30 families. Homes were situated together for sociability and defence, and land surrounding the living quarters was farmed. 
Village dwellers in the South southern region of Nigeria, lived separately in ‘clusters of huts belonging to the patrilinage’. the villages are called esit Obio (inside town) in Efik language. A typical large village might have a few thousand persons who shared the same market, meeting place and beliefs. (Wikipedia)

people do not have access to portable water. So they fetch water from ponds and streams. Others are lucky to have wells within a walking distance. Women rush in the morning to fetch water in their clay pots from wells, boreholes and streams. However, government are now trying their to provide  water bore holes in the rural areas. 

Africa’s Traditional worship centres. (picAfrica)

​picture showing the Ekpe shrine, in West Africa. Taken by Chris Sam


The traditional beliefs and practices of African people include various traditional religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of ancestors, use of magic, and traditional medicine. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural.

While adherence to traditional religion in Africa is hard to estimate, due to syncretism with Christianity and Islam, practitioners are estimated to number over 100 million, or at least 10 percent of the population of the continent.

EKPE SOCIETY IN WEST AFRICA 🌍 

Ekpe, also known as Egbo (Ibibio: Leopard), is a secret society flourishing chiefly among the Efiks of the Cross River State, the Oron, of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, Arochukwu and some parts of Abia State, as well as in the diaspora, such as in Cuba and Brazil. The society is still active at the beginning of the 21st century, however, now it plays only a ceremonial role. There are two distinct but related societies, the primary one in the Cross River, Arochukwu, Akwa Ibom areas, and the secondary one among the Southern and Eastern Igbo groups. Members of the Ekpe invented the Nsibidi script.

Ekpe is a mysterious spirit who is supposed to live in the jungle and to preside at the ceremonies of the society. Members of the Ekpe society are said to act as messengers of the ancestors (ikan). The economics of the society is based on paying tribute to the village ancestors. Only males can join, boys being initiated about the age of puberty. Members are bound by oath of secrecy, and fees on entrance are payable. The Ekpe-men are ranked in seven or nine grades, for promotion to each of which fresh initiation ceremonies, fees and oaths are necessary. The society combines a kind of freemasonry with political and lawenforcing aims. For instance any member wronged in an Ekpe district, that is one dominated by the society, has only to address an Ekpe-man or beat the Ekpe drum in the Ekpe-house, or blow Ekpe as it is called, i.e., sound the Ekpe horn, before the hut of the wrong-doer, and the whole machinery of the society is put in force to see justice done. Ekpe members always wear masks when performing their police duties, and although individuals may nonetheless be recognized, fear of retribution from the ikan stops people from accusing those members who may overstep their limits. Formerly the society earned a bad reputation due to what the British viewed as the barbarous customs that were intermingled with its rites.

A Typical Morning Market 

​picture showing the lifestyle of the villagers in West Africa. 

Africa is a breathtakingly beautiful continent with a culturally diverse people and a wide variety of activities and attractions to enjoy. The lifestyle of Africans changes according to their culture and traditions, their geographical position and their preferences, but in general Africans are fun-loving and amazing people. This is a place where visitors almost always feel instantly at home as friendly faces welcome them and the ever interesting cultural heritage keeps all busy and captivated.

A WORK THROUGH AFRICA’S VILLAGES

Picture taken by Chris Sam

When the sun sets in a dazzling array of colors, you will find that there are literally awesome sights and places available which cater to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a good sceneries, or drink palmwine in the evening, or need inspirations you’ll find exactly what you are looking for. Restaurants offer a variety of exotic dishes and traditional cuisine so that you can not only satisfy your appetite, but also your sense of taste. And after a relaxing drink and some fine food, you’ll find that the nightlife scene in Africa doesn’t disappoint!

 Hospitality is a part of the culture here and you will find that most of the people are friendly and the climate is welcoming. All of this makes for an unforgettable experience.