Members of the Ndi Ichie Cultural Group, hosts of Igbo Fest Houston. Photo: Jimmie Aggison

Houston is known to have one of the largest Nigerian immigrant populations in the country and one of its most popular tribes was on full display at the 19th annual Igbo Festival at Discovery Green.

The event was hosted by Ndi Ichie Cultural Club and for almost two decades, the festival continues to showcases the rich history, folklore, and customs of Igbo people in Nigeria.

Families enjoyed free caricatures designs by artist and entertainer Chukwunonso Ofili, Learning the Igbo language with Akwukwo, tasting Nigerian delicacies provided by the official sponsors Wazobia African Market along with other African vendors.

“Our main goal is to [pass down] our Igbo culture to our children,” said Charles Onuogu, president of Ndi Ichie Cultural Club. and Ndi-Ichie Youth Cultural Foundation. “We are immigrants… we don’t want them to grow up not knowing their roots.”

Nigeria is the most populous Black nation in the world with over 200 million people. It is a very diverse country made up of an estimated 300 ethnic groups and more than 500 languages.

The Igbo tribe is indigenous to the southeastern part of Nigeria. The ethnic group is well known for their enterprising nature, creativity, fashion, and traditions. Igbos can be found all over the world, hence the reason Onuogu says the festival is important to retaining cultural identity in the diaspora.

“Our children are the first-generation Americans…you can see masquerade; you can see dancers. These are the things that we have in any festival in Africa, Onuogu said. “We want to bring those cultural aspects here and expose our children to those things so they can understand where their parents are coming from.”

Hundreds of people attended the event. Some came to have a good time, and others wanted a way to network and connect with young Igbo professionals.

“This is my first time attending,” said Akachi Agubike, member of Umu Igbo Unite Houston chapter. “It’s important to have events like this to…understand our philosophy and wisdom to push us forward in society.”

“It’s awesome to be around my people,” said festival attendee Chioma Nawocha. “This is the closest to feeling like I’m at home. Everyone should experience this live.”

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...