The Origins of Yoruba

The Yorubas constitute one of the largest and most important ethnic groups in Africa, located in the Southwestern part of Nigeria. They regard Ile-Ife, one of their major ancient cities, as their cradle. There is much debate, however, about their origin.

            Some put their origin in Mecca in the Middle-East, some put it in Egypt and some put it in ancient kingdoms of Meroe in Eastern Sudan. Whatever the case, one thing is well-known: The cast brass heads from Ife-Ife are “technically perfect and extremely life like”, an indication of a civilization in an epoch gone by.

            The preponderance of the culture of the Yorubas attest to their civilization. William Bascom, an American anthropologist, (The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria) has this to say of the Yoruba people: “Nearly all of the slaves brought to the Americas came from West Africa, between Senegal and Angela, and no African group has had a greater influence on the New World culture than the Yorubas” who were carried to the West in “untold numbers” and whose “descendants still preserve Yoruba tradition. In several parts of the Caribbean and South America, Yoruba religion has been accommodated to Christianity, with Yoruba deities identified with Catholic saints. Yoruba language is still being spoken, despite centuries of severance from their roots.

            In Bahia, Brazil, particularly, where the Yorubas are known as Nago and in Cuba where they are known as Lacumi, “Yoruba religion flourishes in an unmistakable form”, unadulterated and unfettered as it has otherwise been by the influence of Christianity and Islam in Africa. Abashed as some in the Hispanic communities may feel about the Yoruba religion in their culture, (Santa Ria is a conglomeration of the Yoruba Gods and Goddesses), the religion has withstood the climatic changes of the times uncowed and unbowed.

            The dominance and/or preeminence of the Yoruba culture, the Yoruba tradition, and/or the Yoruba religion, are visible in Nigeria. They are visible in West Africa (apart from Nigeria, Togo, and the Republic of Benin). They are also visible in the United States – The Oyotunji Village with its kingship and chieftaincy system. They are visible, as mentioned, in the Caribbean, in Brazil and in Cuba. And it is to the celebration of this very important people’s achievements that the Yoruba Community of Connecticut has founded.

            In the short term, the goal of the ’community’ is to celebrate the traditions, and the culture of the Yorubas. In the long term, it is to connect with the Yorubas in the Diaspora, reinforce and strengthen our common heritage, our personality, our future, in this technological age. This requires us to have our own home and our own base from where to operate and carry out our activities in the fulfillment of our missions.

TO this end we are sending a clarion call to all and sundry for ideas, suggestions and donations for a YORUBA CULTURAL CENTER.

            We thank you in advance for your support.