The story of Oyotunji, a mini Yoruba nation in America

During the slave trade era, many Africans were taken as slave abroad. While going, some left with their culture and tradition which they continued with in the strange land where they found themselves. They continued with the culture and tradition of their fathers so as to maintain their identity. The Yorubas in slavery are among the Africans that maintained their culture in the strange land and it was handed down to their children from generation to generation. Many of their children, after the abolition of the slave trade, have married children of their former masters thus having children of mixed blood, that notwithstanding, they still carry on with their African culture in the foreign land since most of them cannot trace their root back to Africa. The Yoruba culture has been one of the prominent and most celebrated one throughout the world till date. In faraway United States of America, there is a Yoruba community named Oyotunji African Village. It is located near Sheldon, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Oyotunji is regarded as North America’s oldest authentic African village. It was founded in 1970 and is the first intentional community in North America, based on the culture of the Yoruba and Dahomey tribes of West Africa. It has survived 48 years of sustaining the Yoruba traditional sociology and values in the diaspora. The village is named after the Oyo Empire, and the name literally means “Oyo returns” or “Oyo rises again” or “Oyo resurrects”. The village occupies 27 acres of land. Oyotunji was founded by His Royal Highness Oba (King) Waja, Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi I, was born Walter Eugene King on October 5, 1928, in Detroit, Michigan, USA. A graduate from Cass Technical High School, Oba Waja’s exposure to African religion began when he became associated with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe at the age of 20. He later travelled to Haiti where he discovered more about the Yoruba culture. Armed with a new understanding of the African culture, he[…]

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