by Kayode Awojobi
Culture is necessary for a healthy society. It is usually established from enlightenment, acquired through education, observation and exposure to an environment. Culture is the belief, custom, tradition, practices and social behavior of a particular nation and its people. In anthropology, culture is further defined as the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in a social group learn, create and share. Culture distinguishes one human group from another. People’s culture includes their rules of behaviour, language, rituals, and arts, style of dress, religion and economic systems. So culture is the totality of the way of life of a people through which they associate and relate with their environment.
It is indeed countless of great intellectual reasoning put together by the Poet named Damilare Adewunmi to come up with various poetry works that depict several segments of the Yoruba culture as a whole. Great kudos must be given to Damilare Adewunmi for bringing this innovation and this will surely serve as a weapon for cultural rejuvenation amidst the Yorubas.
In this anthology, the poems have indepth meaning, poetry work as Yoruba Ni Mi is a poem that gives the true identification of source with typical symbolism of Yoruba foods such as “Iyan funfun lele, Amala, Ipekere and Sapala” tribal marks such as “Pele, Abaja, Gombo” are perfect symbolism of a Yoruba nation. Other poems- Culture, Who Should Be Blamed, Return Home- are fantastic creative pieces which stated the effect of colonialism and the emancipation of our inherited cultural value, they as well gave a reminiscence of what modernization and civilization has turned our culture into and how we have less respect and honour for our inherited cultural values which happened to be our very own way of life.
The poem- Return Home- exemplifies an ode written to culture to return back to our midst, because it has long been missed amidst us and it as well made a reminiscence of typical old Yoruba childhood plays such as “Boju-boju”.
Moreso, Yoruba Hall of Fame, gives recognition to great Yoruba legends such as “Lisabi of Egba, Fabunmi of Oke-Imesi, Afonja of Ilorin, Soun Ogunlola of Ogbomoso, Efunsetan Aniwura and Bashorun Ogunmola of the great Ibadan. Another poem, Nothing New is a typical poem that capitalized on the ingenuity that surrounds the Yoruba nation before the advent of the colonial masters popularly called Oyinbos. Also, Moremi and Aare Ona Kakanfo are poems that depicts how vibrant those creatures were in their earthly days.
Another cultural element that was given significant attention are- Ijo Bata and Ilu Agidigbo- the significance of these drums to the existence of the Yoruba, Bata on it’s own is always absent when death visits and it also has no place for sorroe, Ilu Agidigbo on it’s own is a drum which is known for its proverbial sayings and parables. Inclusion of these particiular poems makes the anthology a true replica of Yoruba nature.
The anthology never ceased to make reference to God, in the poem- There Is A God- which stated how supremacy God is and how the likes of Egbeji, Aroni, Oluawo and Onikoyi are indeed true messengers of God. Ile Koko Ntagbe is another wonderful poem that reminds everyone of home and the beauties that surrounds owns origin.
Some poems namely- Oyo, Ilorin, Ibadan, Ekiti, Abeokuta and Ile-Ife- speaks glowingly of these ancient Yoruba towns and what they were known for in the time past. Heart touching themes are in the poem-Let Me Be and Ikoko Akufo- these poems are replica of the Yoruba culture. The poet never left himself out as he wrote a poem dedicated to writers titled Akowe Kowura.
Other poems that retained the cultural aura in the poem include- Aroba, Iku, Gone Are Those Days, Aaro, Arodan, Ogun Omode, Eni A Wi Fun, Alanteere, Ireke Onibudo and Apekanuko- each lines in these poems carry a huge weight of Yoruba culture which will give an individual several thoughtful moments to appreciate Yoruba cultural values and heritages.
It’s indeed a great poetry work from Damilare Adewunmi, and making the whole of the poems bilingual makes it an exceptional anthology that carries the true culture of Yoruba even with the choice of words and this has shown how creative the poet is. To be factual, “the poet is a liar who always speaks the truth” and without mincing words, Damilare Adewunmi has already showcased himself as a great cultural poet.