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Efik Women’s Regal Dresses

Efik Women’s Regal Dresses

Efik Women’s Regal Dresses
Credit: Pinterest.

In Cross River State, the Efik are the most populous ethnic group, and at a traditional Efik event, the standout visual attraction is almost always the onyonyo and the ofod ukod anwang: their women’s traditional attires, mostly used as bridal outfits.

The onyonyo is a long feet-covering gown, more modern in design. The hair décor comprises a golden tiara or ornate clips. The wearer adorns herself with jewelry. Onyonyo designs are flexible and could be adapted to different locales and eras. It has been suggested that the onyonyo’s resemblance of Victorian gowns is as a result of the influence of the Scottish missionary Mary Slessor, who had arrived Duke Town, Calabar in September 1876.

Efik Women’s Regal Dresses
Ufod Ukod Anwang. Credit: The Trent Online.

The ofod ukod anwang is the more traditional of both looks. It includes a sleeveless top and short skirt, both accessorized with coral beads and the ekpa ku kwa—fuzzy ornaments decorating the arms and legs. The wearer has arm and leg beads and a necklace of coral beads.

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Kusugu Well. Photo from

Colourful and regal, both the onyonyo and the ofod ukod anwang are paired with a sceptre with large ruffled fabric. Sometimes, the wearer has body paint.

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