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)
Ade Adepitan (Paralympic medalist, wheel chair basketball player and TV presenter)
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)