Cross River State is home to an ancient tribal order: the intriguing and mysterious Ekpe. This West African society was formed many moons ago and its members are bound by secrecy. Every year, they host a masquerade in honor of the gods. Their striking regalia pays homage to the lion — Africa’s most majestic and powerful animal.
Predominantly featuring hues of red, black and yellow, the Ekpe’s garments are constructed by hand. Indigenous artists use natural materials to craft awe-inspiring showpieces, including feathers, wool, and dyed raffia.
Drumming, singing and dancing begins — a tradition which dates back centuries. As everyone awaits the entrance of the Ekpes, the villagers transform into a chorus of chanting.
It is believed that the male dancers personify the gods during the Ekpe parade. Their rhythmic movements manifest the spirits of the ancestors and the villagers rejoice when they shake their manes.
Women perform the Ekombi dance, which mimics the waves of the river. Their intricate footwork and liquescent arm swaying appeases Ndem, the water goddess.
I’m Idara, founder of Nōk Choc. I am a Charity Founder, Olympian, health nut and self-proclaimed cocoa connoisseur.
Like many of you, I have eclectic interests and passions — helping girls to level the playing field, maximizing health in the tastiest of ways, and celebrating my rich culture.
When thinking of ways to do all those things at the same time, I was inspired to create Nōk Choc’s Calabar Cocoa.
Who knew giving back could taste so good?! ☺