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The Oyotunji

William Shaw ’18- “You are leaving the U.S. You are entering the Yoruba Kingdom.” This is what the sign stated outside the Yoruba village located in South Carolina. The people of this village are a part of the Oyotunji Tribe under the Yoruba Kingdom.  Entering this village I had no idea I was walking onto Sovereign African land in the United States. Here, one of the women in the village welcomed our group; then gave us a tour of their village and shrines of their gods, better known as Orishas. This is when our class got to learn firsthand about certain Orishas that we have been reading and studying about in class, leading up to this immersion trip.

The group with the King of the Oyotunji tribe.

The group with the King of the Oyotunji tribe.

We were then given an authentic Oyotunji lunch after our tour. Followed up with a talk from the King of the village. This was a very eye opening talk, allowing me and my classmates to learn even more about the Yoruba. Answering questions we had and filling in the blanks that readings and class discussions just could not answer. The personal account from the King himself provided a complete cultural and historic understanding of how this certain group of people came together and now live on Sovereign African land inside of the United States.

Traveling all over Savanah Georgia, witnessing the Yoruba as well as the Gullah Geechee people and culture is an experience in which everyone should witness. Luckily my classmates and I were able to observe all of this firsthand. Embracing different cultures is something I will never forget and gave me knowledge I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Savannah, Georgia is an amazing city filled with such character and history and I cannot wait to go back!