Ileke ibile

   E N A K E L E   S E U N   D A V I D

54 Enakele Seun David  54 Traditional bead

I grew up in a small village in Nigeria.  Ileke ibile (Yourba for traditional bead) is a symbol of power and caring for others; it shows the majesty of the Head of a village in Nigeria, the person wearing the bead. It simply shows a traditional ruler, such as king, queen, elders in the village or chiefs. As a young boy, I loved the traditional bead and I always wished to wear it because of the passion the Village Head has towards the villagers when there are challenges.

Currently, I am a graduate of social work from Vytautas Magnus University at Kaunas in Lithuania.


I chose Ileke ibile (Traditional bead) because …

… Social services is not a new phenomenon in Nigeria – the traditional rulers provide social welfare services through the elders, family heads, age groups head, among others. The traditional rulers are responsible for the maintenance of discipline and settlement of disputes in the community and offer rewards where appropriate. Even more, they provide food for the poor, help the homeless and adopt children without families, as well make sure there is peace and harmony in the community. The communities are highly structured to handle cases of deviance.

Minor disputes are usually settled by family heads while serious cases are referred to the village heads or the traditional rulers for settlement. The kinship system in the traditional Nigerian society provides for family welfare, child welfare, health issues, mental health, and care for aged and makes available recreation services.

Finally, the traditional leaders meet the social needs of the villagers and also deal with problematic behaviors in the village and find solutions at all cost. Today, I see social workers wearing the ‘Traditional bead’, one which cannot be physically seen or observed. However, the social work profession is the Traditional bead.


2 thoughts on “Ileke ibile”

  1. David, I enjoyed the connections you made between social work and leadership – moral and social guidance and authority in a small community. Although it is a challenge to achieve this, I do hope that this is, at least, what social work aspires to.


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