Sango, Yoruba god of thunder and lightning, dazzles at Africa Day celebration in Mulhuddart
2019-07-01 16:50:38 -
Art & Culture
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The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin

 

In a display that astounded onlookers, a representative of Sango, a Nigerian god of thunder and lightning who is believed to dwell in the clouds in an immense palace, dazzled at the recent Africa Day celebration held at the Mulhuddart Community Centre in west Dublin.

The event, witnessed by people from the migrant and host communities alike, started with a display of African attire and a dance performance.

 

Then, like magic, the hall came to a standstill when the man representing Sango picked up broken bottles from a mat on the floor, stuffed his mouth and chewed them. There was no visible sign of blood or injury, and the audience watched in awe as he drank water and showed and empty mouth.

 

More intriguing was when he started hitting his stomach and spitting out chunks of bottles, and when he lay on a mat of broken bottles and one of his followers pounded a mortar on his chest.

 

His Excellency Ambassador Sekhulumi Ntsoaole of the Kingdom of Lesotho, who was as surprised as anyone, said: “The Sango performance was breathtaking as it brought the African magic into the scene.”

 

But Oba Saheed Olamilekan Ibrahim Adufe Ori Lobamise the 1st, the king of Yorubas in Ireland, said it was no illusion.

 

“What we did at the event is real with Yoruba traditional power. Tell me how can someone eat broken bottles without bleeding? We are real and it’s not magic. Yoruba tradition is real and still alive today.”

 

A member of Mulhuddart community who wishes to remain anonymous expressed that he had never seen anything like this in his whole life: “It is unbelievable that someone can chew bottles with no visible sign of injury.”

 

Oba Saheed explained this: “As the Sango swallowed the broken bottles, the power inside him works in a way that the bottles turn to water and disappear inside his stomach.”

 

MC of the day, Deaconess Yemi Ojo, made the whole event bubbly with life. For her, Africa Day in Mulhuddart “was worth celebrating and the performances representing various African Countries was awesome”. But she noted that “more community awareness and publicity should be given to the event, and more food for tasting should be the heart of the celebration”.

 

Ambassador Ntsoaole added: “We hope that African communities in Ireland should start now to prepare for 2020 celebrations where not only Africans will attend but the Irish people will also be invited in large numbers to experience the rich African cultures.”

 

Oba Ibrahim emphasised that Yoruba culture in particular is a vital tool of the Irish community.

 

“Mulhuddart alone houses more than 6,000 Africans within the community, but only a handful of them came out to support and celebrate with us. My impression is that we Africans in Ireland don’t appreciate and support ourselves at all,” he said.

 

The Oba who led the Sango team to the event, and whose position as king of Yorubas in Ireland is being challenged by some Nigerians, says he is a representative and custodian of Yoruba culture in Ireland and Nigerians, especially Yorubas, should start attuning themselves to this.

 

Adding that Sango may have included a performance with live fire if the event had been outdoors, he admitted: “With the law in the Republic of Ireland we made Sango’s performance limited and we could only display a bit of his power.” He however advised that no one, child or adult, should attempt or try any of the performance.

 

Sango, believed to be the fourth king of the ancient Oyo Empire, the west African centre of culture for the Yoruba people, is the most powerful traditional god of the Yorubas. His name appears to be derived from ‘shan’ (to strike violently) and ‘go’ (to bewilder), made tangible in rumbles of thunder, which are said to be produced by his violent blows.

 

According to Wunmi Excel, organiser and co-ordinator of the event, this kind of exhibition is new to the Irish people because the artistic expression of Sango may be frightening to children.

 

“But nonetheless, the event which clearly showcased an exhibition of the rich African culture of different African countries was great and was one of a kind.”

 

The ‘Intercultural Bazaar’ event, sponsored by Irish Aid, was also attended by members of the community Garda, Jamie Moore from the Fingal Community Public Network, and local councillors Breda Hanaphy and Paul Donmelly. A thrilled Hanaphy said: “It was a wonderful day — absolutely loved the colourful costumes.”

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Princess Pamela Toyin has gained experience since the mid 1980s working in various fields and interacting with people of different tribes and ethnicity. With her passion for diversity, she is propelled to report a diverse range of issues that facilitate intercultural dialogue and integration, which can change social, economic, and cultural stereotypes, and believes there are lessons to be learned from everyone. Talk to her on +353 (0) 87 417 9640 or email integrationwithprincess@gmail.com

TAGS : performance Nigeria community African culture tradition Yoruba
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