The Yoruba Religion


For a period of close to four hundred years, millions of African peoples were taken by force from their homeland, bound in chains and transported by boat, across the Atlantic ocean, to the new world.  The destination of these African peoples stretched the length of the new world.  North America, South America and the Caribbean in the middle of these two continents.

The people were brought from Africa to be slaves.  They became the work force which fueled the labor intensive plantations all the way from Canada to the tip of South America.

When the slaves were taken from Africa, they left everything behind. They left their families, their homes, their belongings, their friends.  All of them, except for a very few, less than one hundred, ever saw their homeland again.  When they got to the new world they were further divided, so that people who spoke the same African language did not stay together. This way even the language of their homeland was erased.

The only thing from Africa which the slaves carried, was their religion, the worship of God as they knew it in their homeland.  This was an intangible which could not be taken away. Religion is the intangible which remained and which sustained the African people  throughout  the period of slavery, the period after slavery, through to the present. 

One of the main religions which survived four hundred years of  brutal bondage the is the Yoruba or Ifa religion of the peoples of West Africa.  The story of how it was carried, how it survived, how it now flourishes, and of certain tenants of the religion, is the subject of this unit.



1.    To introduce the concept of east meets west, in different cultures.

 2.    To show the students how the African people, an eastern people by
                         geography, came to live in the west.

  3.    To introduce a chart of African religions and their geographic locations.
                          To equip students to identify the geographic location of each
                           religious group on a map of Africa.

   4.    To invite a group of Yoruba worshippers to introduce their religion to the

    5.    To assign students to use a prepared web page for independent
                           Internet research on the Yoruba peoples of West Africa.