Nigeria-Yoruba community in Gambia sets for coronation: As cultural tourism takes ovation
Thursday, May 31, 2012
One of the sets in tourism that has to do with individual, town, region or country’s way of living and culture is cultural or culture tourism. Cultural tourism is the unique lifestyle of the people in their geographical areas that contains their history, art, origin, religion and some other elements that helped to shape their way of life positively.
look, cultural tourism involves tourism in urban areas; this is especially historic
or large cities and their cultural facilities. These are what some tourists to
each urban area, region or country would like to study more and acquaint with
Moreso, culture tourism in any level be it country, region or urban areas involves showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities like festival, ritual, event among other things with their values and lifestyle. It is worth knowing that cultural tourism plays some impact in the development of any region or society.
However, cultural tourism has been defined by tourism experts as “the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs.”
To uplift cultural tourism and show the value attached to culture, custom and tradition, since it involves traveling to a foreign country or destination and reference to globalization, and for migrants not to loose or be away from their culture and heritage, the Nigeria-Yoruba community residing in The Gambia is warming up to coronate a traditional Yoruba Community ‘Oba’-King in The Gambia to show their traditional way of living and governance as it is done back home in their country.
the largest in Africa with a population of over one hundred and twenty million,
divided into three major ethnic groups; namely Ibo,Hausa and Yoruba with rich culture and tradition, all have
defined ways of governing their people. Yoruba, one of the major people groups
in Nigeria had spread almost all over the world and widely known for their
nourish culture and tradition. In the Gambia, though the number of Yoruba
residents is not confirmed but they are in thousands and culture conscious.
Brief history of the Yorubas
According to the history, Yoruba territory consisted of groups of city-states, urban centers each of which centered on its own royal court and each independent kingdom is ruled by its own Oba. Throughout Yoruba land the title called Oba means King, and in the other two tribes Ibo and Hausa lands they are called Igwe and Emir respectively. The issue of Oba in Yorubaland is dated back to the beginning of the great Ife Kingdom during the 11th or earlier before that.
In a brief
history, before the early 19th century the term Yoruba was applied only to the
people of the Oyo Kingdom. Those kings that could trace their descent back to
the founder of the Kingdom of Ife were considered divine. They alone could
legitimately wear beaded veiled crown, the supreme symbols of divine authority.
For centuries Ife was a large empire. It lost its pre-eminence to the Oyo
Empire around the 15th century. Nonetheless, its capital city continued to be
the primary religious centre for all of Yoruba land.
was the first ruler of Ife. Eventually, he sent out from Ife his sixteen sons
and grandsons to found their own kingdoms. According to Yoruba belief, only a
descendant of these original sixteen could be considered a divine king and,
therefore, eligible to wear the veiled beaded crown, known as an adenla (great
tradition and custom demand, Yoruba rulers who claim the right to sacred
kingship by virtue of their descent from Oduduwa are collectively referred to
as Obas. However, more specific titles apply to rulers of different kingdoms.
Still the right to wear a veiled beaded crown is the ultimate expression of sanctity; its significance is, to some degree, symbolic. In terms of real power, rulers with veiled crowns are in the same situation as those without. The power of all Yoruba kings is carefully limited and balanced by a council of chiefs. Furthermore, numerous religious cults and societies also help to regulate society.
Religion, culture, tradition and dressing
It is important to mention the Yoruba religion, culture, tradition and dressing in Africa with little explanation especially when it comes to this type of event (coronation), that is always colourful and witnessed by different dignitaries and Obas in particular. So far so good, Yoruba people had their own form of religion before the advent of Christianity and Islam; they believed in their own deities, which changed with each geographical location. There are many deities such as Sango-god of thunder; Ogun-god of iron; Soponna-god of smallpox; Yemoja and so many other gods. These are believed to be intermediaries between Olodumare - God and man.
The Yorubas take their culture seriously; greetings form an important part of their daily life. While greetings are exchanged, it is important for the people to smile; and when asked about the wellbeing of someone, time is given to respond as this is considered to be polite. The Yorubas greet their elders with a lot of respect, the boys prostrate to greet their elders, while their female counterparts greet by kneeling on one or two knees depending on the tribe.
people also have a very rich cultural background; there are different forms of
dance, arts, music, dressing and philosophy. Proverbs and adages form an
important part of everyday language, and are used extensively in all forms of
communication. Music is also very important, and can be used as a form of
The Yoruba dressing is usually made up of brightly coloured dresses caps called ‘fila’ and shoes matching in colour. The females dress up mainly with a head tie known as ‘gele,’ and a long wrapper with a short-armed top. The males normally wear a long-dress in the form of a shirt called ‘buba’ or ‘danshiki’ almost touching the knees or even the ankles; a matching trouser accompanies with cap.
The Crown and Coronation
different kinds of symbolical figures that can adorn a Yoruba coronation crown;
such as the okin- the royal bird, which by many is regarded as an important
messenger between the divine world and earth. The omnipotence of the king is
implemented by the depiction of faces on the coronation crown. Scholars have
not yet reached an understanding about the origin of this tradition.
Some thought that such an adornment has only a decorative value while others are convinced that with a face Olokun, the God of the Sea or Odudduwa is meant. Oduduwa is the forefather of all crowned Yoruba rulers, who according to myths placed his first-born son on the throne of Ifé and thus became the first king or Oni of Ifé, while those other 15 sons were to rule other Yoruba kingdoms.
also dictates that the coronation crown and other coronation ornaments are kept
in the oriopo or ojopo, a special room of the palace. And it is guarded mainly
by female court dignitaries or sometimes by the first wife of the ruler. The
making of the objects is however done by male craftsmen. The making of a Yoruba
crown is surrounded by many traditional proceedings including the use of the
oogun ashe known as the powerful medicine that is placed inside the crown with
the aim to protect the head of the king by the babalawo, the medicine man.
the Yoruba culture the head, ori, is a very important part of the body because
here is located the vital power, the ashe. Due to the fact that the crown, in
the Yoruba language ade, covers this invisible yet always existing power, it is
necessary that all kind of proceedings have to be observed on the moment that
this ceremonial headgear is crafted.
Crown makers usually work in the palace of the ruler and will always start with an offering to Ogun, the god of Iron, because they use a metal needle. To the god of the sea, Olokun, these craftsmen will usually present some offerings because according to tradition this orisa has presented the first crown to the Yoruba people and generally also to Obalufon, the god who invented beads.
Significance of culture on tourism
One of the
largest and fastest growing global tourism as earlier mentioned is cultural
tourism. Culture and creative industries are increasingly being used to promote
destinations and enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness.
Locations are now actively developing their tangible and intangible cultural assets as a means of developing comparative advantages in an increasingly competitive tourism marketplace, and to create local distinctiveness in the face of globalisation. There the significance and impact of culture on tourism examines the growing relationship between tourism and culture, and the way in which they have together become major drivers of destination attractiveness and competitiveness.
Author: Yunus Saliu