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Oduduwa's ChainLocations of Culture in the Yoruba-Atlantic$
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Andrew Apter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226506388

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226506555.001.0001

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Notes from Ekitiland

Notes from Ekitiland

(p.68) Three Notes from Ekitiland
Oduduwa's Chain

Andrew Apter

University of Chicago Press

This chapter engages the pioneering work of Pierre Verger, who undertook the first intensive comparison of Yoruba orisha worship in West Africa and Brazil, by examining the sociopolitical dimensions of orisha cult organization and change in two Ekiti Yoruba kingdoms. Comparison of the politico-ritual configurations of decentralized Ishan kingdom with those of centralized Ayede kingdom, and their very different historical transformations from circa 1845 to the present, reveals political segmentation, not "family" or lineage, as the dominant principle of cult organization, even if it is cast within lineage ideology. The orisha cult “clustering” which thus occurs in the Ekiti Yoruba highlands, a ritual characteristic which Verger attributes to innovation in Brazilian Candomblé, suggests that West African orisha worship is closer to its New World manifestations than has generally been acknowledged.

Keywords:   Ekiti-Yoruba, Pierre Verger, political segmentation, orisha cult clustering

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