The Abakuá Secret Society

Wednesday, January 24th 2024. | Afrocuban, Religions

In Cuba, those persons belonging to the secret masculine society Abakuá are known as abakúa or ñañigo.

This kind of society is unique in the American continent. This association was founded in the first decades of the 19th century, a hostile moment for the slaves and the black persons. The form they found to avoid the repression and the harassment was a mutualistic religious group.

The first society composed by white persons was founded in the early 19th century and it was named Akanarán Efó Muñón Ekobio Mucarán. The founder was Andrés Facundo de los Dolores Petit, well known by his contribution to the Regla de Palo, and the elaboration of the conceptual body and ritual of the Kimbisa variant.

The antecedents of the abakuá or ñañiguismo are in the secret society that existed in Nigeria, Calabar. Its organization and content have the roots in the African legend that tells the story of the violation of a secret by a woman: the princess Sikan. She found the sacred fish Tanze and reproduced the roar in the sacred drum Eku.

The ñañiguismo can not be separated of the African believes about the existence of ancestor (spirits), thats why in all the ceremonies they are called to guaranty the development of the ritual according to rigorous liturgical norms. Its symbolic representation is the ireme or diablito.

All the activities of the cult are made in the temples. In all the rituals are used lines and graphics known as Ekeniyo which are an ideological –graphical system of signs to immobilize and attach the representation of global events. These symbols are painted with yellow and with yeast and they are divided in three categories: the Gandos, the Signs or Anaforuanas and the Seals.

The ñañigismo has several hierarchies. The Indisime is the applicant to enter into a potencia, the Obonekué is an already initiated man. The Plaza is a everlasting hierarchy with a relevant position in the juego. This person is in charge to preserve and to make follow the norms and ritual and social principles. The Iyamba, Mokongo, Ekueñón, Nkrikamo and Nasako have the title of Plaza. Only men are admitted in the secret society Abakua.

If you ask among its members about the concept of Man they will reply: ” It is not about those who are not homosexual but, those who reflect the purest dignity of the human beings, laboriousness, fraternity, joy, rebelliousness against injustice, and follower of the moral codes established by the ancestors, the pioneers of the Abakua; it is the good father, the good son, the good brother, the good friend.