Yoruba Arts Festival 2013 in Clissold Park and a few Yoruba facts


The Yoruba Arts Festival kicks off in on  Saturday 27 July in Clissold Park, marking its 4th year in Stoke Newington.

The colourful vibrant two day festival brings cultural delights, knowledge, work shops and much more that are unique to the Yoruba people.

But who are the Yoruba’s? You are correct in thinking Yoruba people are an indigenous ethnic group from Nigeria’s South Western region. Depending on where you get your figures from, there is said to be anything from 30 million Yoruba’s, making them the largest ethnic group in Africa. They span a “cultural-geographical” space that extends between Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Togo, although Nigeria is home to the largest amount.  However due to the Atlantic slave trade this also extends in to African diaspora.

Yoruba slaves were sent to British, French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New World, and in a number of these places, their traditions survived to some degree. Yoruba religious rites, beliefs, music and myths is evident even today in places as far  asaway Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, and Trinidad. In Haiti the Yoruba’s were generally called Anagos.  In Brazil, Yoruba religious activities are called Anago or Shango, and in Cuba they are designated Lucumi.  In contrast, African slaves sent to America had their language and customs whipped out of them and were stripped of their culture.

Today,  London is home to tens of thousands of people who are of Yoruba heritage, with Hackney Borough being home to a large and long established community.

Expect a lot of heavily influenced West African treats at this weekends festival, including Highlife and Afrobeats.  Try out some foods at the various stalls and check out some Yoruba arts and crafts.

A few Yoruba words

Good morning    Ẹ ku aarọ  –          (pronounced)  eka o raw

Good afternoon  Ẹ ku ọsan –          (pronounced)  eh-car-or-son

Good-bye              O da abọ –            (pronounced)   oda-boh

Thank you             E se          –             (pronounced)    Eh-shay

Call the police!    Pe awọn ọlọpaa   (pronounced) Pgay ah won olopa  (This ones rather different I would phonetics don’t even come into play, but I tried)

Some notable Yoruba people

Wole Soyinka (Nobel Prize Winner and writer)
Seal (musician)
Ade Adepitan  (Paralympic medalist, wheel chair basketball player and TV presenter)
Sade (musician)
David Oyelowo (actor)
Fela Kuti (Musician, political activist and maverick)
Gina Yashere (Comedian and Actress)
Ronke Phillips (Journalist)
Lord Victor Adebowale, Baron Adebowale (CEO Turning Point and the only dreadlocked Peer)
Dotun Adebayo (Journalist and radio presenter)
Victor Moses (Footballer – Chelsea)
Phillips Idowu (Athlete – Triple Jumper)
Festival Details

About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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