By Olufemi Ajasa

Masquerade bearer, popularly known as Egungun is now a common sight in Ojuelegba area of Lagos, where their timeless appearance and unstopping plea for ‘legal-tender-sacrifices’ is gradually affecting the businesses of beggars and sometimes causing a face-off between the two parties.

A beggar using his crutch to revolt the acts of a masquerade bearer, hindering him from accessing an almsgiver

Formally, the masquerade (Egungun), used to be revered for the role it plays as a mediator between the Yoruba speaking people and their ancestors.


However, the Ojuelegba masquerades of today no longer dance to entice their audience like their predecessors; neither do they use their raspy voice to chant prayers and the oriki’s (praise) of their fatherland. Instead, they stroll with passersby conveniently like humans which they are historically not perceived to be just to get the fringe alms.



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