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105 Chapter 6 Memorial Heritage as Fountain of Peace and Justice in Africa: The Case of I Ifa̗ in Nigeria Òkewande Olu̗w͕le̗ T̗́w͕̗gboye̖ Introduction This chapter focuses on Ifa̗ as memorial heritage of safe justice in Yorùbá tradition. Ifa̗ is seen to be the foundation of Yorùbá culture. This means every aspect of Yorùbá life, including religion, philosophy, science, ideology and so on has one link or another with Ifa̗. The work relies substantially on secondary data from Yorùbá literary texts, especially Ifa̗ corpora and philosophy associated with the memory of administration of justice among the Yorùbá of West Africa. The knowledge of Ifa̗ is central to the establishment of the traditional system of dispensation of justice, this is because, any aspect of Yorùbá life that is not sourced in Ifa̗ may just be a mirage, because Ifa̗ is seen “as store house through which the Yorùbá comprehend their own historical experience and understand their environment” (Abiғmbӑғlaғ 1977: 31). Ӑbaғyӑmiғ (1983: 7) notes that “Ifaғ is fundamental in the explanation of the components of the Yorùbá culture” in other words, there is no aspect of Yorùbá life that is not entrenched in Ifa̗; or any aspect that lacks Ifa̗ reference may be “controversial.” In other words, Ifa̗ serves as intangible heritage among the Yorùbá of Africa. The chapter is sub-divided into: the Yorùbá intangible heritage and dispensation of justice, the Yorùbá traditional judicial institutions and powers as intangible heritage and the Yorùbá memorial heritage of suit-filling, hearing, and judgment execution. The chapter concludes that there has been a formidable, reliable and dependable traditional memorial judicial system of peace and justice among the Yorùbá. And that, this memorial heritage system 106 can stand the test of time, as most of the modern principles are not foreign to the African memorial judicial process. The Yorùbá Traditional System: Setting the Background This work examines the Yorùbá memorial heritage in the dispensation of justice with reference to Ifa̗ and Yorùbá philosophy. Memorial heritage is a constituent of intangible heritage expressed through historical recounts, proverbs, idioms, songs and other “traditional” expressions. Ifa̗ has been defined by scholars in different ways that establish the inexplicable and unlimited scope of its knowledge, wisdom and values. Indeed, it is regarded as the bedrock of other aspects of Yorùbá life. For this reason, to simply define it as a religion, without exploring its social and cultural links will be inadequate. Akiғntoғlaғ (1999: 1) views Ifa̗ as the philosophy of or wisdom divinely revealed to the Yorùbá deity of Ifa̗, ͔ ̖ ru̗nmi̖la̖. Farrow (1926: 36) avers, Ifa̗ is the greatest oracle of the whole of the Yorùbá that is “consulted on all important occasions.” Ifa̗ is regarded as the spokesperson not only for the gods but also for the living. It is regarded as the living foundation of Yorùbá culture (Abiғmbӑғlaғ 1977a: 14). Munoz (2003: 179) sees Ifa̗’s scope beyond the Yorùbá cultural society when he says “Ifa̗ is the most universal divinity among the Yorùbá and other West African people.” Ifa̗ is known to different people by different names throughout the world. For example, Ifa̗ is known as Fa̗ among the Fon of Republic of Benin, Eva to Nupes, Ifa̗ in Cuba, USA, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Surinam and Togo. Ifa̗ is referred to by the Ewe as Afa, Ephod by Jews, Geomancy by Europeans and Margays (Ӑdҽғyҽmiғ 2013: 5). With these different realizations of Ifa̗ nomenclature which cut across nations of the world, the prominence of Ifa̗ can neither be underestimated nor doubted. In fact, Ifa̗ has over 70 million followers in Africa and the Americas. AdeғoyeҒ (1985: 174), giving meaning to the name and origin of Ifa̗, contends that “Ifaғ” was loaned from Egypt to Yorùbá language. There are historical evidences to support this claim. For instance, Johnson (1921: 7) claims that Yorùbá languages, “spring from 107 Upper Egypt or Nubia”. AҒtaҒndaғ (1980: 2) argues that “their real place of origin was either Egypt or Nubia.” In 2005, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Ifa̗ as one of the 86 traditions of the world to be recognized as masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity (Robinson 2008). By this proclamation, Ifa̗ joined the league of...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9789956763252
Related ISBN
9789956763726
MARC Record
OCLC
938324138
Pages
376
Launched on MUSE
2016-02-12
Language
English
Open Access
No
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