October 2018 “An Ancient Culture.”
The Yorubas are a great and ancient people. Today, the population of people claiming Yoruba origin or speaking a form of the Yoruba language number about 50 million around the globe. And in many of these countries, especially Cuba and Brazil, the ancient Yoruba religion of Ifa is accorded the status of a state religion. In these places, not just in the Yorubaland heartland of Western Nigeria, the old religious traditions of the Yorubas – of Ifa – are preserved. And the ancient Yoruba gods whose stories are told in the book ‘Gods and heroes’ - Olokun, Obatala and Orunmila – are revered and worshipped. There are also many adherents here in the United States of Ifa, in places like Louisiana where African-American ‘babalawos’ are still known to practice their art.
Yorubas represent the most vibrant and successful ethnic group to come out of Africa since the early 1900s’. Enterprising and intelligent, they dominated the early political and public life of Nigeria on its founding as a nation after the amalgamation by the British in 1914 and Independence in 1960. Yoruba language and culture are well known all over the world. Yoruba made adire (tie-dye) and ‘aso-oke’ are now part of modern fashion from New York to Paris and London. On the world stage, we have produced Africa’s only Nobel laureate for Literature (Wole Soyinka), first Pulitzer prize winner (Dele Olojede) and Oscar nominated actors such as David Oyelowo. Yorubas lead other African migrants in western countries such as the United States and Britain in the fields of medicine, science, arts and education.
‘Gods and heroes’ and the other books of the ‘Itan – legends of the golden age’ series were written deliberately as an epic, using a blend of myth history and fiction to bring to life the history and mythology of the golden age of the Yorubas. The aim of this blog and newsletter is to promote the ‘Itan’ series and showcase the literature, arts and culture of a major African group, the Yorubas. The goal is to place the mythology of the Yorubas in its rightful place among the best the world has to offer in the field of legend – next on that high pedestal alongside the stories of Troy and Sparta and of Odin and Thor beloved by many modern readers and movie-goers. Thus, ‘Gods and heroes’ tells a great story, not only for Yorubas, African Americans and everyone of African descent, but for everyone anywhere in the world who love a good yarn. It is my aim to make the whole world embrace these stories and stir the interest and pride of coming generations in these timeless stories that have come out from the great and ancient culture of the Yorubas.
Editor & Moderator: Dr Oladele Olusanya