"Seeing Them Anew: The Edo Dynasts and The World" fills a sad and embarrassing vacuum and provides a welcome relief to the academic and professional historian (particularly the "specialist in African Studies"); the curious but intelligent general reader; and the "sophisticated" Africans, especially those in the Edo-speaking Nigerian at home and in the diaspora (in that order). It seeks answers to the following questions: Who were the Edo Dyansts who have sat on the Edo throne for the past 800 years? What did they actually do? Why did they do whatever they are supposed to have done? How did they do whatever they did? Who were their contemporaries elsewhere in the world?"Seeing Them Anew" departs from other works in this field on some important historical and analytical points. Firstly, it is an insider history of the 800-year-old dynasty and the culture that has nurtured and sustained, providing the astonishing and outstanding artefacts that have kept national museums buzzing with excitement all over the world since 1897, and frantic art historians trampling on one another for "a scoop".Secondly, it reveals facts and truths that go beyond Chance to establish Necessity in the hitherto unknown "sameness" in the mentality, psychology and practical performance of the Edo Kings (Obas) and their contemporaries around the world.
Thirdly, it demonstrates the impact of Zeitgeist in human affairs by making "lateral thinking" the safest medium of modern historicity. Fourthly, it renders meaningless and dysfunctional the obscene concept of "pre-history" in cultural ethnography while at the same time removing from the realm of African Studies both the Tarzan-apeman and the "Black is Beautiful" modes of historiography.
Iro Eweka was born in Benin City, the cultural and administrative heart of what is now called Edo State in Nigeria. He graduated from the Universities of Heidelberg, Sussex, Leeds, Exeter and Toronto; and, taught in the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica and Nigeria, retiring as an Emeritus Professor in 2003 in the seventh decade of a very active life. A strong patriotic call surfaced in 1998 with his publication of Dawn To Dusk: Folk Tales From Benin which was designed to raise serious awareness of the cultural heritage of the ancient Edo (Benin) Kingdom. As a Prince of that kingdom, his writings are insider views as opposed to the outsider "histories" dished out by foreign researches and pseudo-anthropologists, and aimed at preserving for posterity the core of the cultural heritage of his people.