How Brazil Uses Yoruba Culture To Sell Tourism

Tourism Business – Wole Duro Ladipo, the scion of the late dramatist, Chief Duro Ladipo of Obakoso fame bares his mind on the tourism value of the Yoruba culture with Wale Ojo-Lanre and Remi Oladoye.

As the proprietor of First Eye Duro Ladipo Production, can you let us into what your organisations is all about?
First Eye Duro Ladipo Production is an organisation that has to do with cultural exchange programmes, upliftment of our cultural value, especially the Yoruba cultural heritage in Diaspora. The motive behind this organisation is to conserve and preserve our Yoruba African Traditional Religion and culture so that the upcoming generation can have something to be proud of when it comes to their heritage. In all over the world now, a lot of people cherish Yoruba cultural value. Yoruba says that Ile ni a ti nko eso re ode (charity begins at home) so that’s all what First Eyes Duro ladipo is all about.

How far have you gone in achieving these motives especially the uplifting, preserving and conserving culture?
Yes, we thank God we have really tried our best. I have a group in the United States of America. I have another group in Brazil.I have a group called Oba Koso Cultural Troupe and all we do in this Troupe is to enlighten people about Youruba history, the culture norms, mores, values, the deities, the Orisas (gods) and in line with what can be beneficial to generation and generation coming after. We also organise and present workshops where we talk about the relevance of Orisa and stage presentations in which people learn about the language, fashion, interaction and tenses of Yoruba cultural value.

What are the challenges?
The challenges that we face has to do with our local setting here in Nigeria. The government at various levels in this part of the country have not seen the tourism aspect of the culture as being explored elsewhere. Though some states are trying their best in the area of tourism, but I will still implore the government to still try and inculcate the segment of cultural value of the Yorubas in the curricula or syllabus. This is because, foreigners appreciate Yoruba culture more than us. This is sad in America, Britain and France majority of my clients are whites who strive hard to learn, practise and embrace Yoruba culture while some of my friends, kith and kin who left Nigeria for these foreign countries are behaving more than the whites. I was shocked in my interaction at home here too that some of us are aping the whites and sending our children to schools where ‘ vernacular’ – I mean Yoruba values are alien or forbidden. Some of our children here are bereft of cultural values and norms. Some cannot speak Yoruba Language not to talk about their local dialect. The other ethnic groups are not. I was surprised one day, when I visited a family friend of mine in Texas, US and saw his six-years-old boy who has never been to Nigeria dancing to Igbo music and displaying their dancing step.
We need to talk to the government on why they have to include Yoruba culture in our school syllabuses. We should also raise the culture to a tourism pedestal like the Brazilians who are making money out of Yoruba culture by packaging it as tourism asset.
Tourists flock to Brazil to see what I called a diluted Yoruba cultural value, but they would have love to come and see, feel and have a first-hand experience of this if we have been able to get our act right on this issue .

Tell us in practical terms the method you apply?
Very simple. We act, dance, sing and celebrate our cultural values with arts by exposing the benefits and superior ethics of it through the media.

But the impression is that those who engage in this are never do  wells?
That was in the olden days. Even at that time, it is not a profession for the lazy or dull heads. It is not easy for a lunk head to recite the Odu merindilogun ( the 16 corpus) is not a joke. For you to be able to dance and count the step of bata is not a joke and for you to be able to polish your talent is not a joke. Though in those days people said but nowadays, people travelling from around the world to African countries, Brazil, Nigeria and the Caribbean to learn about African religion and culture, dancing, drumming and others . Things that have to do with culture is not a lazy mans job.

You studied Political Science and you are into promotion of Yourba art and culture, what is the correlation?
What is politics? Politics has to do with people.When we talk about people, governing of people, can you separate culture from it ? We cannot separate culture from the people, so when we talking politically it doesn’t mean you must involve in partisan politics before you can influence the society. You can influence society with culture, and mind you, right from the onset, since I was around six years old, I started acting with my father. Then, my father used to produce play for Western Nigeria Television (WNTV). There was this play in the 70’s Moremi Ajasoro that was when I started acting. I was the little kid that was thrown into the river. Again, I was involved in Igbo Irumale when one of my brothers and I acted as Iwin that delivered message to Imodoye and so many others so this has been in our blood. Our father would wake us up around four o’clock in the morning, then we would dance, recite poetry and do a lot of things, so these has been in the blood, passing through University of Ibadan studying Political Science and English got nothing to do with that inborn and innate instinct of cultural values that is in us as Yoruba.

When your dad was alive, he won many laurels and cultivated a lot of respect and solid relationship with traditional institutions especially the monarchs, do you still maintain that relationship?
Yes, because the legacy still lives on and there is something I learnt from my dad that if you really want to prosper, you have to move very close to the elders and respect traditions. If you study most of his works, they have to do with history, epics and classics. He did a lot of research in getting to the root of these historical films. Few week ago, I was with Kabiyesi, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. Next week, I will be with my father, the Oragun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin. By next month, I will be with Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, I have no choice than to continue in the tradition which my father had established.

Did you at any point in time regret ever coming to this world through Duro Ladipo?
That’s a very powerful question, if i have to come to this world again I will love to be associated with him and the family.
How easy has it be wearing his shoes?
Duro Ladipo’s foot print is large and his shoe is too big. You know there is a saying that you don’t dare putting your foot in a great man’s shoes or his foot prints because it is either you don’t put your foot there or you even do more better. These are the challenges .A lot of people are saying they’ve not been hearing much from Duro Ladipo’s kids? Where are they ? What are they doing? What our father told us is that the first thing in life is to be educated, and today majority of us are university graduates that was the first thing, so whatever, we are doing, we have to do it much more better, there is nothing like haste in doing what we are doing .That is why anything that is going to come out from Wole Duro Ladipo and First Eye Duro Ladipo Production has to be well baked and you know we don’t need to be making noise, we do things gradually and we really centered on cultural exchange which is our main objective and goals.

How will you describe your father?
Hmnn, Duro Ladipo, was an enigmatic cultural impresario. My dad loved Yoruba culture. He was a paragon of Yoruba culture. He dropped affluence and riches for originality. Some people want to produce just because they want money out of it, but my father did all he could to project African Yoruba religion and cultural values and gave it an international shot selling it all over the world. I tell people that my father was never a rich man, but he left a legacy that is even much more bigger than what anybody can bring down and so that is the more reason when people come to tell me that I can make money through this and that, I have always been very careful, I have been in the United States for nine years, there are a lot of things we can do there but that name is very very important to us.

You always play the role of Sango, is that the only thing you can do?
The first time I played that role, I could remember was in Lagos, It was at Lagos Country Club that I played my father’s role for the first time when I put on the regalia. I connected the spirit of Sango which came upon me instantly and the instinct was just there. When we left the stage, a lot of people started commending us and some especially those who knew Duro Ladipo when he was alive cried because of the great performance. I can just say it is an instinct or being possessed.

But is it an instinct stoked by charms or juju?
What is juju ? I always tell people that there is nothing like juju. There is inheritance, some instinct you inherit. It is just there and will manifest wheneve r it should be. Juju is different from inheritance. I don’t believe there is something like juju unless you want to trace it.

Your father trained a lot of people, how cordial is the relationship between those people and the family?
I have a lot of rapport with the people my father trained, though some of them are old now. In fact, I was with Chief Jimoh Braimoh who is my great uncle. It’s very great knowing him because he has a lot of influence in my life. I stayed with him for almost seven years and I learnt a lot of things from him which he told me that he learnt from my father which I’ve been applying and it’s been positive.When I need advice I turn to men like Chief Muraina Oyelami, Uncle David Osawe, Baba Lere Paimo, Baba Adeomola Onibon Okuta, Gbebolaja, the famous drummers and Baba Adesina among others, I still relate with them and they always talk to me. In fact Baba Adesina was the one who trained me how to drum at the age of six.

How did you feel the first time you saw you father spitting fire?
The first time I saw that man spitting fire was at Glover Hall in Lagos, there was a performance at Glover Hall and I was sitting right in front of the auditorium with the light man (Buoda Olu) and at the time Sango was about to come out, the drum was heavy, the scenario changed and I just saw the thing appeared and it came out to be my father. I ran out of that auditorium, the light man chased me all around the auditorium because I was scared. I couldn’t believe it was the man that we left home together who spit fire and his whole eyeball turned to red

Spiting fire, is it magical or mechanical or what?
Last week, I held a dialogue with a Sango worshiper, a woman in her 70’s who told me that it was Duro Ladipo that first spit fire and that when she witnessed it, she tried to get to the root of it, but couldn’t till this day. “ Duro means a child which the parents are begging to stay, a kind of weird and strange fellow, wait, don’t go My father was born seven times before he stayed. If we talked about all those mysterious things, so what about when he died, the lightning and others because I could remember my uncle came around 1:45 on March 11, 1978, to announce to us that his brother passed on about 45 minutes after the weather changed and there was an heavy rain the thunderstorm was heavy and that there were a lot of mysterious things that happened within the house. There was a tree in front of our house and the bird called Eye Iga always in their thousands, but the day my father died, and the next five days, all the birds flew away. All the eyeles (dove) died, about 45.

Any connection with your dad’s death?
Well, if the head of the household died, what do you expect, Yoruba adage says Eiye ile kii ba Onile Je Ko ba onlile mu ko was pada leyin onile (the day he died we saw a lot of them dead).

This sounds mysterious, we never heard that Duro Ladipo was involved in any cult, was he in any?
Duro himself was a cult. When he was alive, my mum told me a story that on a fateful day, at an event some people were trying to talk to him about cultism and he replied them that “I myself, Durojaiye omo Ladipo, akobi Olukoso, asingiri , alagiri , abanija mawoju eni, iwaju ina, ehin ogbe ina, egbe mejeji gbono kiji kiji ta ni o je gbena woju ekun laise Awo. Emi gan awo, emi gan imule.” And they all vamoosed like a rat having a cat as guest. They dare not face him with such. He was never a cult member and that was why there was no interference of any such during the burial.

And where is Moremi?
She is there. My mother, the Moremi Ajasoro is there like the Rock of Gibraltar. Now, I want to thank her because all this while, she has been an institution. She was the person that kept the legacy of Duro Ladipo, so what appreciation could I say more than give her the kudos. For 35 years now, the woman is still in that house, she never left for once. My father had other wives, but she is the only one holding forte, the institution and any appreciation we are talking about is that woman.

You have a huge stature like that of Duro Ladipo, are you the Oba Koso reincarnate?
I cannot say. People have been complaining about my choleric and mercurial behaviour .Some people said I am an ornament and torment. I do not know.

May be the man took you through some labyrinth of spirituality?
I cannot say. Maybe innate.But sometimes, I wonder why I do some things. I wonder when did this come to be? I wonder why should this be?. I wonder, “has this man come into me” I wonder why me ? And the same answer I get is “because it is you, Wole Duro “ Ladipo . The chip off the old block “ and I understand that a goat will never bring forth a dog.- By Wole Duro Ladipo ,Culled from Nigerian Tribune

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *