By Yinka Akanbi
The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) has officially designated Quilombola, an Afro-Brazillian settlement, as a Yoruba territory.
Ooni Ogunwusi presented the certificate at a ceremony in the Quingoma community, in Lauro de Freitas, in the metropolitan region of Salvador, Brazil.
As a result, Quilombola becomes the first territory outside Africa to be certified as a Yoruba territory.
The community was said to have received and welcomed Yoruba people who were enslaved and forcibly removed from their ancestral base in Nigeria during the era of the slave trade in Africa.
Oba Ogunwusi in his address described the history of the Brazilians and the Yoruba people as rich and robust and having dated back time immemorial, adding that the recognition will not only preserve the history via cultural preservation, it will also give Brazilians a sense of belonging and help foster improvement in strengthening the heritage of Yoruba globally.
“This event is a very big one for me because I am passionate about preserving the Yorubas culture and its deep-rooted values. this event will lay precedence for the
Yoruba language and its culture to be more acceptable globally. You can see the excitement on their faces. Their Babalawo’s are well-grounded in the teachings of Ifa and can render the Odu-Ifa and it’s panegyrics like our Ifa priest do in Nigeria.
“They hold our gods like Sango, Ogun, Yemoja, and Obatala in high esteem. The have designated days to celebrate these gods with colorful displays infused with plenty aesthetics. They also speak Yoruba which is one thing I love about them. It’s very essential to harmonize them and also show solidarity that we are part of them and they are part of us. this will foster good bilateral trade between Brazil and Nigeria and it will also put the Yoruba culture at an advantage,” he added.
The history of the Quilombola dates back to the 17th century. Currently, around 580 families live in the area covering approximately 1,200 hectares. Quingoma has been recognized as a Quilombola territory by the Palmares Foundation since 2013.