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Okonkwo sat in his obi crunching happily with Ikemefuna and Nwoye…when Ogbuefi Ezeudu came in. Ezeudu was the oldest man in this quarter of Umuofia. He had been a great and fearless warrior in his time, and was now accorded great respect in all the clan. (7.14)
For showing matchless courage and prowess on the battlefield, Ezeudu is revered throughout the clan. His reputation garners him great respect.
“I think it is good that our clan holds the ozo title in high esteem,” said Okonkwo. “In those other clans you speak of, ozo is so low that every beggar takes it.” (8.56)
Okonkwo, because he’s very proud of his strong reputation, is pleased that positions of respect in his community are publicly known and difficult to achieve. This means that his status in the community is an elite and meaningful accomplishment.
None of his converts was a man whose word was heeded in the assembly of the people. None of them was a man of title. They were mostly the kind of people that were called efulefu, worthless, empty men. The imagery of an efulefu in the language of the clan was a man who sold his machete and wore the sheath to battle. Chielo, the priestess of Agbala, called the converts the excrement of the clan, and the new faith was a mad dog that had come to eat it up. (16.1)
Christianity begins as a worthless, ill-respected religion amongst the Igbo. According to the Igbo, only men who have nothing left in life would ever stoop to so low as to take up the offers of a foreign, effeminate people.