THE OSU CASTE SYSTEM AND THE PROBLEM OF ALIENATION: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS
This paper examined the Osu Caste system in Igbo land. The Osu Caste system is seen as a system of alienation, discrimination and segregation between those who see themselves as freeborn and those allotted the status of slaves or outcasts. There were many historical accounts as to how the Osu Caste System began. Some pundits offered the idea of people being set aside to worship the community's deity alongside the Chief-priest (Ezemmuo or Dibia) often referred to as Osu; others said they were people cursed and an anathema placed on them and thus, separated or banished from the free people of the land. Whatever the perspective sought, offered or explained, the study exposed the problematic with the Osu Caste System, which is that it became generational and a basis for redundancy in equity, Justice and fairness in the Igbo society. The Osu Caste System came along with emotional, social, religious, economic,political and human rights implicationsfor those tagged Osu. Employing the philosophical methods of analysis and hermeneutics, the study investigated the Osu Caste System and the rationale behind it. Following modernity, it is assessed as being untenable, reeks of injustice and devoid of equity. The agitations against the system over the years brought about the need to end it. The study concludes that the abolishment of it from Igbo land is the way forward and an indication that the Igbo traditional society has evolved and in line with global best practices as far as human rights is concerned.