Gbala Festival in Taraba

Nwonyo Fishing Festival

Gbala Festival in Taraba

Gbala is indigenous traditional performance/festival that is usually marked around July and September, to celebrate the fertility of land. It is a core tradition of the Ndola people of Taraba State, Nigeria. The vast majority of Ndola people are farmers living in mountainous and low land regions of Taraba State.

Gbala is a masquerade cultural performance/festival performed by men accompanied by drummers and indigenous women who use their mellow voices to harmoniously sing various and creative praise epithets and songs to and about the “Gbala” (Masquerade).

The performance itself is unique in each particular manifestation because it is not just a dance or festival but a performance that tells the story of their (Ndola) lives and what they believe in. Similar to many indigenous masquerade festivals in Nigeria, the Gbala (Masquerade) dance is not open to female spectators. Any female presence near the vicinity of Gbala meets with punishment – typically flogging by the masquerade.

Gbala itself also serves as an emblem that tells one about the identity of Ndola man; He believes in the utility of land as factor of production. The fertility of land is of prime importance since good yield is the ultimate aim of all forms of farming activity. The force behind the fertility of land and people is recognized and entreated to be benevolent on mortals. The celestial-terrestrial relationship in African world view is often a constant. The process of oiling the relationship is what culminates into Gbala festival.

On the non-sacred plane, it is sometimes performed in social events such as festive occasions marked by parades and sometimes entertainment, seminars, workshops or wedding anniversary. The outing often places emphasis on the indigenous values of the host community.

Before the arrival of the Sudan United Mission of North America and Germany who made contact with the Ndola people via present Kurmi Local Government in its headquarters in Baissa, Gbala performance was vastly practiced in all Ndola communities. Today, majority of the people are now Christians, few with Muslims and traditional.

Most of the adherents of the masquerade tradition relinquished their roles and embraced Christianity or Islam. Consequently, the popularity of Gbala institution is waning. The sacred aspects have been watered down and the social form it has largely adopted lack faithful custodians that will sustain it’s values for generations unborn.

It is an apt avenue to boost tourism through embellishments that will rekindle interest of the locals as well as tourists from all over the world.

Ref: Kyantirimam Ukwen 

Banks in Taraba
Brief History of Taraba
Business and Economy
General and Teaching Hospitals
Hotels and Guest Houses
Taraba State Ministries Agencies and Parastatals
Police Stations
Popular Markets
Restaurants, Bars and Night Clubs
Shopping Malls
Traditional Rulers


Gbala Festival
Nba Jabi Festival Taraba
Nba Namine Tosen Festival in Taraba
Nba Kati Festival Taraba
Nwonyo Fishing Festival


Gashaka Gumti Game Reserve
Mambilla Plateau Taraba
Marmara Crocodile Pond Wukari
Ngel Nyaki Forest Reserve