THE Yoruba village created and moulded in the mould of the ancient Oyo Empire with a crown King and history of succession located in South – Carolina United States (US) has its Sacred Sàngó Temple and Oyo Horseman reception building assaulted and smoked into smithereens by a magnificent inferno on September 2, 2018.
The Alase of Oyotunji Village, a traditional Yoruba settlement in South Carolina, USA, and Oba Adefunmi Adejugbe has called on Yoruba all over the globe to join hands with him in rebuilding this sacred part of Oyotunji Village which was consumed by the fire.
Oyotunji village is named after the Oyo Empire, and the name literally means “Oyo returns” or “Oyo rises again”.
The Oyotunji village covers 27 acres (11 ha) and has a Yoruba temple which was moved from Harlem, New York to its present location in 1960.
The village was originally intended to be located in Savannah, Georgia, but it was eventually settled into its current position after disputes with neighbours in Sheldon, over drumming and tourists. During the 1970s, the era of greatest population growth at the village, the number of inhabitants grew from five to between 200 and 250.
The population is rumoured to fluctuate between five and nine families as of the last 10 years. Since Adefunmi’s death in 2005, the village has been led by his son, Oba Adejuyigbe Adefunmi II.
The village is constructed to be analogous to the villages of the traditional Yoruba city-states in modern-day Nigeria, although some modernisation works have been carried out under Adefunmi II.
Oyotunji Village has been a pride of the Yoruba both at home and in Diaspora because it has over the years replicated and reincarnated the pristine Yoruba culture, values, mores, norms, ethics, and belief and has been a potent tourism site in South Carolina.
Oyotunji Village has been able to preserve the tradition and culture of the Yoruba in US and has attracted several thousands of people of diverse culture who see and visit the village as visiting Yoruba land
The reigning King, Oba Adejugbe who occupied the throne after the death of his father has been poignant and proactive at showcasing the Village and projecting the essence of its being planted
Oba Adejugbe II has also embarked on a series of cultural interventions and interactions on a global platform that have cultivated enviable pride to the Yoruba race in the US
Fire gutting Oyotunji Village is not a personal loss of Oba Adejugbe, but a collective monumental tragedy of the fortune of Yoruba culture and tradition.
Speaking on the fire which cause has not been identified, Oba Adejugbe lamented: “It is not only a calamity, but an indelible assault and grievous attack on evidence of tradition and culture gathered over the years.”
He disclosed “I am sad. I mourn the loss of artefacts of history, relics of testimonies of our forefathers, trans-generation items of centuries monuments, articles of the gods, effigies of the Sango and the magnificent Oyo Horseman reception, other irreparable particles of the ancient memories”.
Oba Adejugbe revealed that the fire burnt substantial part of the village which will take some time for it to be repaired.
He pointed out “It will take a huge fund to be able to rebuild the reception and consecrate the sacred Sango Temple. The village is not in any way has that kind of money. Hence, we are appealing to lovers of Yoruba culture and Yoruba both at home and in Diaspora to come in assisting the effort at bringing back this part of the village to its feet”
He revealed that he would be sending an emissary to the Council of Traditional Obas in Yoruba land to come to aid the rescue efforts and prevent Oyotunji Village from immature death.
ba Adejugbe said “I am passionately making this clarion call to all the traditional rulers in Nigeria, all Yoruba in the firmament to lend their support at ensuring that Oyotunji Village does not die. They should all rise in making sure that Oyotunji Rise again”.