Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.

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Posts tagged "yoruba"

Select Pieces from Maki Oh’s Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collection.

Don’t you just love Osakwe’s use of adire fabrics and Yoruba text printed on some of the garments? As always, it’s all in the detail with Maki Oh and her classic feminine silhouettes.

See the full collection here.

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All Africa, All the time.

NEW MUSIC: Omawumi ft Remy Kayz - Somori.

Yoruba slang for a highly respected person in society, Omawumi owns the ‘Somori’ title and delivers a visually heavy music video featuring Yoruba talking drum drummers, traditional dancers, prints and graphics that reflect her vibrant personality, and of course, herself on a throne.

NEW MUSIC: Iyanya - Le Kwa Ukwu.

Nigerian serial waist-whiner and sultry crooner Iyanya’s has just the video for his latest single ‘Le Kwa Ukwu’, that sees the singer adding some Yoruba to his lyrics, and I’m loving both song and video. 

Ifè Art in Ancient Nigeria

Made from terracotta, bronze, and stone, and dating between approximately 1000 - 1500 A.D., these highly valued pieces of intricately constructed artwork are examples of pre-colonial art originating from the Yoruba people of Ilé-Ifè in southwestern Nigeria.

Ranging from life-size busts to full-length full-body sculptures, as well as animals, these objects are considered examples of realism for their naturalistic and human-like appearances, and most often depict people who made up the elite and ruling class during this time. As people of importance, the large busts made in the likeness of the rulers of Ilé-Ifè were often depicted with large heads because the artists believed that the Ase - the inner power and energy - of a person was held in the head. Rulers were also often depicted with their mouths covered so the “power of their speech would not be too great”. Individual people were not idealized, but rather the office of the king.

In Yoruba tradition, women occupied the position of clay workers whilst traditionally the sculptors of stone, metal, and wood. Involving both terracotta and metalworking, the production of bronze cast works may have been collaborative efforts.

Nigerian literary philosopher, author, poet and playwright Yemi D. Prince, who specializes in Yoruba history, claimed in his book, “The Oral Traditions in Ile-Ife,” that the terracotta artists of 900 A.D. were the founders of Art Guilds - cultural schools of philosophy, which today can be likened to many of Europe’s old institutions of learning that were originally established as religious bodies. These guilds could very well be some of the oldest non-Abrahamic African centres of learning to remain as viable entities in the contemporary world.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria, an exhibition that is co-organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, and Fundacion Botin, Santander, Spain, in collaboration with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria, is currently on view in Stockholm, Sweden.

(sources: 1, 2, 3)

October: Highlighting African Art & African Artists


In Yoruba land, when a person is born at a certain age, that person is tattooed. Now, i am just scratching the surface of a deep rich history so pardon me. This beautiful woman i met in Osun State allowed me take pictures of her tattoos that were given to her years ago. A young soul who was trying to translate what she was saying to me asked asked her the meaning of her tattoo she didn’t say. Maybe she doesn’t want me to know or maybe it is something you cannot properly let someone else translate. I respect that silence. At that moment, i wish i had listened to my grandfather and learned more Yoruba when i had the chance. She blessed me as i left and although i didn’t buy Agidi or Agege bread, i decided to reward her for spending sometime with a curious young confused talkative woman. || Ijeoma.


Taken by || Ijeoma.


Yoruba women dressed in traditional Aso Egbé (ceremonial and society attire) Ìró, Bùbá, and Gèlè. ca. 1968.
Vintage Nigeria


A Yoruba woman handling a hand loom, 1960sVintage Nigeria


A Yoruba woman handling a hand loom, 1960s
Vintage Nigeria

Photograph of a tattooed Yoruba woman.
If you’d like to know more about body marks, scarification and tattooing in Yoruba culture, this video of Chief Atanda explaining the history and meaning behind it will shed a lot of light on this practice.
Further reading.
AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

Photograph of a tattooed Yoruba woman.

If you’d like to know more about body marks, scarification and tattooing in Yoruba culture, this video of Chief Atanda explaining the history and meaning behind it will shed a lot of light on this practice.

Further reading.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women


A freed Yoruba slave from Bahia, Brazil. 1800s

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Gelede imagery evokes all aspects of Yoruba society. The masks refer to a wide variety of female and male roles and activities either in objects associated with such roles or in genre scenes depicting them.

They also depict animals that serve as metaphors for human actions or as illustrations of popular proverbs and songs that accompany the mask’s appearance.”

[Drewal H. J., Pemberton J., Rowland Abiodun, 1989: Yoruba. Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, Harry N. Abrams Inc.]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon traveled to Africa from March 17, 1970 to July 17, 1970.Vintage Nigeria

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The photograph depicts Yoruba women with tribal traditional marks. This photograph was taken by Eliot Elisofon in 1973.
Vintage Nigeria

And tattoos!

Had to change ‘tribal’ to ‘traditional’.

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Diasporic Heroes #4

Adechina Remigio Herrera (Obara Meji)

Adechina (“Crown of Fire”) is credited as being one of the most important founding fathers of Ifa in Cuba.

A Yoruba born in Africa and initiated as a babalawo there, he was enslaved and taken to Cuba as a young man in the 1830s. Legend has it that he swallowed his sacred ikin ifa used in divination in order to take them with him across the ocean. An intelligent and gifted man, he later bought his freedom and became a powerful property owner in the Havana suburb of Regla.

In addition to his large African and Creole religious family he had many influential godchildren from Havana’s Spanish, white elite and had important high society connections. He set up a famous religious institution, the Cabildo of the Virgin of Regla (the Cabildo Yemaya) in around 1860, which became a powerful centre of Ifa and Orisha worship. Along with his daughter, the famous Ocha priestess Echu Bi, he organised the annual street procession on the feast day of the Virgin of Regla, every September 7th. Each year seminal Afrocuban drummers like Pablo Roche Okilakpa would sound the mighty Ilú batá in honour of Yemaya as they processed around the town. Incredibly, Adechina is also reputed to have returned to Africa, the land of his birth, in order to acquire the sacred materials needed to initiate babalawos. He returned again to Cuba with these sacred items in order to build Ifa there.

All the mojubas (prayers and recitals of lineage to honour the ancestors) of babalawos in Cuba include Adechina.

A great man who helped carry African profound spiritual knowledge to the Americas, my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather in Ifa, I salute you.

Mo juba Oluwo Adechina Obara Meji, ibae bae tonu.

659 plays
Babatunde Olatunji,
Drums of Passion

Jin-Go-Lo-Ba, music from the late Nigerian music legend Babatunde Olatunji.


A group portrait of Yoruba women wearing Aso oke. 1890s.
Vintage Nigeria


Cândido da Fonseca Galvão, also known as Oba II d’Africa (1845-1890) was a Brazilian man who fought in the War of the Triple Alliance (also called the Paraguayan War) and claimed to be the grandson of an African prince whose son had been  brought to Brazil as a slave. Galvão himself was born a free man in Bahia, and enlisted in the military at a time when Black slavery was still legal in what was then the Empire of Brazil. 

Galvão was the grandson of the powerful African prince Alafin Abiodun, who unified the Yoruba kingdom of Oyó in the late eighteenth century. Galvão’s father fought in the wars that raged in that region of Africa in the early nineteenth century, was captured in battle, and sold into slavery. He was then transported to Bahia. With the help of friends among the Yoruba community in Salvador, Galvão’s father quickly purchased his freedom. He then married and had children. As an offspring of freedpersons, Cândido Galvão was raised as a free black man near the town of Lençóis in the interior of Bahia.

Dom Obá II considered it his duty to fight for his country in the war against Paraguay. “As the patriotic soldier that I am, I understand that I have only been doing my duty in taking an active part in all the matters that I understand to be grave.” Enlisting as a Voluntário in the all-black Zuavo company that departed from Lençóis on May 1865, Galvão remained at the front until wounded in his right hand in August 1866. After his return to Bahia, where he remained through the decade of the 1870s, Galvão petitioned government officials for recognition of his service during the war and for monetary compensation. His experience in Paraguay inspired his commitment to ending slavery in Brazil and his pride in being a black man.

Galvão settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1880, where he gained renown. The wealthy considered him a “disturbed veteran” (uma espécie de veterano resmungão) and “folkloric aberration” due to his outspokenness and appearance in attire that included a long black morning coat, tall hat, gloves, umbrella, and walking cane. An activist of the first order, Galvão met personally with the Emperor [Pedro II of Brazil] 125 at public meetings from June 1882 to December 1884! Dom Obá garnered great respect among “the Blacks and the Browns” (the terms commonly used by Galvão) residing in the city. Slaves, freedpersons, and free persons of color all provided financial support that enabled the prince to publish articles in newspapers. In his writings, Galvão praised the contributions of black and brown soldiers during the Paraguayan war, condemned the racism he witnessed in Brazil, and called for an end to slavery.

(Source: Dale Torston Graden, From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil: Bahia, 1835-1900.)

Galvão died in 1890, shortly after the abolition of slavery in Brazil and the establishment of the Brazilian republic. An biography of Galvão, entitled Prince of the People, was published in 1993.