Oyo (Oyo State) – A Brazilian, Prof. Fabio Lima, has urged the Yoruba to preserve and promote their culture and tradition, which has become a pride of other countries.
Lima made the call at an International lecture on “Yoruba Culture in Diaspora’’, and the launch of Paula Gomes Cultural Foundation at the Alaafin of Oyo’s palace in Oyo town,, Oyo State, on Friday.
He said the Yoruba philosophy remained alive in the new world, namely Brazil, Cuba, Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Candomble institutions.
“When you are in Salvador, you will think that you are here in Africa, you will see the body movements, the gestural respect for older black communities because they are holders of an ancestral knowledge.
“The philosophy of the Yoruba tradition is about building a life with a set of guidelines that enhance the day-to-day lives of the people, which is incorporated into their ways of living in the new world,’’ Lima said.
The Ambassador of Cuba, Mr Hugo Ramos, said the Yoruba culture was a pride to be preserved and promoted, adding that it has a well-organised kingdom, traditions and philosophy.
Ramos said the culture and traditions of the Yoruba had transcended the African continent , which was a sign of its acceptability and richness all over the world.
The High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr Nyahuma Obika, who was represented by Madam Dela Obeka, described Yoruba culture and tradition as well-organised.
Obeka said there were people in Trinidad and Tobago, who had never travelled out of the island but could speak Yoruba very well.
He said that he looked forward to when the country’s president would learn the language.
“I wish to see a Yoruba institution that will preserve the language, music, dance and philosophy of the Yoruba people.
“I also want to see the little children of age two or three dancing, beating the drum and promoting the richness of the Yoruba culture,’’ he said.
Dr Paula Gomes, a Portuguese and an Ambassador of the Alaafin on Culture, said Oyo remained a salient point of historical preservation of Cultural heritage, where beliefs, traditional rites and ancient arts were still alive.
Gomes described the Yoruba as a highly researched ethnic group in Africa due to their rich cultural heritage, manifested in their history, sociology and spirituality.
Chief Edem Duke, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, said the ministry would always support all programmes targeted at promoting and protecting culture.
Duke, who was represented by Prof. Babatunde Babawale, commended the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, and foreigners on the occasion, for their efforts aimed at projecting, protecting and preserving culture in Nigeria.
On his part, Adeyemi said a visit to countries in the world had revealed the inter-connectivity of all races.
The monarch said he would not relent in his efforts at promoting, protecting and preserving the culture and traditions of his ancestors.
He said he would also continue to honour anyone from any part of the world, who supports the uplifting of Yoruba Culture.
The Alaafin used the occasion to give merit awards to Madam Caroline Sage of the World Bank and Madam Marli Calino of the Portuguese Embassy.
He also conferred the title of Alaafin’s Cultural Ambassador Gomes.
The occasion also featured parts of the on-going Ifa celebration as well as cultural display of arts and crafts. (NAN)