Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alafin of Oyo
Molefi Kete Asante
Alafin of Oyo is the title given to the supreme political ruler of the Yoruba. During the height of the Yoruba kingdom in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Alafin once ruled an empire that stretched from the Niger Delta to Togo, reflecting his military-political reach within Western Africa. The Alafin of Oyo, like many African leaders, is considered legendary and sacred, and there are many regulations and rituals that go with his position. The Alafin is a divine person who must live apart from ordinary people who in the past were not allowed to see his face or to speak to him directly because he was a god. He was never seen eating or drinking in public. In fact, he did not die. The Alafin passed from one village to another village, but death was not a part of his existence. In this way, the people are protected in ...