The Yoruba Concept of Ori in Relation to Human Destiny

Raymond, Ogunade (2006)

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INTRODUCTION. Virtually everything about the Yoruba philosophy, religion, culture or the ancient past “has come down to us by word of mouth from generation to generation.”1 Oral traditions therefore, are the only means of knowing their thinking as well as their various concepts in relation to the world around them and the supersensible world. It is also from this oral tradition that they give vent to their notion of Ori (personality-soul) and destiny which we are considering presently. In addition, we have also benefited from works of scholars like E. B. Idowu2, J. O. Awolalu3, Ade. P. Dopamu4, Wande Abimbola5, O. Oladipo6 and a host of others. They have all done considerable works on Ori, especially the first three scholars. They observed from the Yoruba perception of Ori and came up with a vivid description7 of three different ways of choosing destiny (akunleyan, akunlegba and ayanmo). But Dopamu’s new theory8 is that the three words logically express a process rather than differences.

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