Igbo culture and languages, as well as other cultures from Africa, were key in forming the Jamaican Patois language and culture during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
Igbo captives were distinguished physically by their “yellow” skin tones. Today, in Jamaica, “red eboe” is used to describe people with light skin tones and African features. Igbo women were paired with Coromantee (Akan) men to subdue the men because of the belief that the women were bound to their first-born sons’ birthplace.
Jonkonnu, a parade held in Jamaica, is attributed to the Njoku Ji “yam-spirit cult”, Okonko and Ekpe of the Igbo. The Igbo also influenced language with actions such as “sucking-teeth” coming from the Igbo “ima osu” and “cutting-eye” from Igbo “iro anya”.
Words were added to Jamaican Patois when slaves were restricted from speaking their own languages. These Igbo words still exist in Jamaican till today.
Some of these words include:
■ Unu– You people
■ Ima osu (Jamaica) Imu oso (Igbo)- to hiss by sucking your teeth
■Akara (Jamaica) Akàrà (Igbo)– bean cake
■Soso (Jamaica) Sọsọ (Igbo)- only
■ Attoo ..This derived from the Igbo átú, meaning “chewing stick”
■Big-eye “Big Eye” is derived directly from the Igbo “anya ukwu”, meaning “greedy”
■Breechee This is from mbùríchì, meaning an Nri-Igbo nobleman.
■Chink, Chinch This is from the Igbo chị́nchị̀, meaning “bedbug”
■Door-mouth This is a claque from ọ́nụ́ ụ́zọ̀ (mouth + door), meaning “doorway”
■Hard-head This is from Igbo ísí íké, (head + hard, strength), meaning “obstinate”
■Obeah from Igbo ọbiạ, meaning “doctoring”, “mysticism”
■Okra This is from the Igbo ọkwurụ, a vegetable
■ Red Ibo, Eboe from Ị̀gbò, a person with a light skin colour or a mulatto of mixed parentage