October 21, 2018

Proudly Yoruba

When I was researching extensively for my masters in 2002,
I “discovered” the religion of the Yoruba, previously vaguely encountered in my vagrant and vacant childhood in Isale Eko, and Awe-Oyo, with the whitewashed remnants of its ancient lore, embedded in festivals of spectacles, song, dance, mime of syncretic cantatas, careta, gelede and Ifa festivities.

It was a glimmer of the golden past, with the Eyo re-incarnation pageant, the kaleidoscopically colorful egungun, speaking with affected guttural growls, embedded with chanting akewi, serenading in evening soirées to cascades of altercating bata drums.

A Christian Baptist by upbringing, I found myself strangely connected within my department of theatre arts, Ibadan, reading about my progenitor ancestors embodied in the worship of the pantheons of Yoruba Gods, and the profound wisdom of the Ifa oracle.

I found myself, for the first time in my squeaky clean whitewashed westernised life, discovering who I really am.

There was an immediate connection with my illustrious heritage: a self revealing and exhilarating deja vu.

Then it made sense, as our love for the Orishas, whose interconnectedness, opposites, syncretic and paradoxical characteristicsshowed why what is truely the greatest symbol of being Yoruba, the philosophy of *omoluabi*, is a shared common value.

Indeed within the depths of the religion, it now became clear why we are who we are, pieces of the same shattered god head, a fulfilling oracle embracing all Yoruba.

Within the religion of the Orisha, I discovered why all Yoruba are innately and fundamentally imbued with the spirit of a longing for peace, and knowledge, a sense of communal harmony, love of fellowship and fellowman, irrevocable reverence of elders, communion with ever present ancestors, the persisting profuse and profound greeting rituals, and reciprocal wishing of the proverbial peace ( sh’alafia ni)….to all and sundry.

It was there, I too, a Christian still, found in myself, the *who* in the riddle:

“who am I ?”,

and ever since then, within the profundity of the realisation of my illustrious religious and cultural past, a glow of pride has been over my head, proud of being a scion of Oduduwa, imprimatur of the orisha worship itself, proud of my heritage, protected by the spirits of my forefathers.

Indeed, walking tall, I’m proud to be a member of a master race, a race so profound in sculptural artistry, that Europeans thought in it, they had found their ephemeral fabled Atlantis.

That’s why I raise up my gaze with pride, anywhere in this world and tell who care to hear that:
Im a member of a superior master race:

That I’m :
*Proudly Yoruba.*

Dolapo sikuade

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