Undoubtedly my trip to Ile Ife is one I’m still reeling in excitement over. As a matter of fact, the Bookings Nigeria Instagram page will be a perfect example to my reminiscing. From photos of the trip to the amazing new Urban Nomads I met, it was a total blast.
My 2nd day at Ife was actually my favorite. Having to go out before our tour to shoot photos of the city and monuments was totally fun. I tagged along with a professional photographer, Rex (who gave me some really good photography pointers BTW) for the mini travel photo session.
The Ile Ife Kingdom is one of those places you ‘feel’. It’s in the hospitable nature of her people, the sure and convincing way her people speak of their heritage. I have in fact said before that I could’t exactly express my deep respect for the preservation of this deep history. Even more was this established on our visits to my three most favorite sites on our 2-day tour. So here are some photos and some sweet ancient knowledge from my visit.
Moremi Ajasoro of Ile Ife
I could give you endless quotes and wise words on greatness regarding Moremi Ajasoro, however none of them would paint a good enough picture of the words I heard.
Moremi was a young, beautiful and brave woman who was married to the king of Ile Ife; Oranmiyan at the time.
The kingdom of Ife at the time were said to be at war with an adjoining kingdom; the Forest people. These people wee known as ‘Ugbos’ by the people of Ife. It should however be noted that they have no relation with the modern day Igbo people of Nigeria. Moremi being the brave woman she was was burdened by the fate of her people in the hands of the Ugbo people. She then pledged to give anything she had to help defeat the enemies of her kingdom as long as the source of their powers was revealed to her.
Moremi’s beauty caught the eyes of the ruler of the Ugbo people. She was captured and married of to said ruler. In the time of her captivity, she studied the strategies of the army of the Ugbo people and later ran away back to Ife. She revealed these strategies to the Yorubas who were then able to defeat the Forest people after a long time.
As a result of her pledge, after the war was won, Moremi sacrificed her first son to the spirits. Upholding her pledge just as she had promised she would.
Opa Oranmiyan (Oranmiyan’s Staff)
First of all, I must confess I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at when we were ushered into the grounds that held the staff of Oranmiyan. Standing about 6 meters high ( the height of a PHCN pole cut in half maybe ) was this monument in the middle of the grounds. After the rites were performed upon our arrival, we were given a brief history about Oranmiyan.
Oranmiyan was the youngest son of Oduduwa; the fourth Ooni of Ife. He was an ancient warrior who was believed to be a giant. Oranmiyan was also believed to have been of great physical strength and to have conquered many battles. It is also credited to him to have discovered the Oyo and Benin kingdoms.
Back to what I said I wasn’t sure I was looking at, that 6 meter high structure is said to have been Oranmiyan’s staff. In other words that was his walking stick so can you imagine how tall dude must’ve been?!
Oduduwa was actually the first Ooni of Ile Ife according to our guides. My favorite thing however was the creation story we were told.
It is believed that Oduduwa was sent down from heaven by Olodumare to create earth upon the waters. He is said to have descended from heaven with sand in a snail’s shell and a five legged rooster. Oduduwa according to history poured the sand upon the waters and the rooster helped him spread it all over.
Here are two photos with monuments showing the items in the creation story.
The Ife kingdom is one I must say reestablished the relevance of the preservation of history to me. It can never be emphasized how much cultural heritage and preservation frames and asserts our identity as a people. From our monuments to the tourist sites and old cities, these things can be protected, preserved and passed down so as not to lose our identity and the relevance of culture.