REMEMBERING QUEEN MOREMI AJASORO : THE LEGEND OF THE YORUBA RACE
January 15, 2021
- Moremi Ajasoro was a legendary Yoruba queen and an heroine in the Yorubaland. She was fabled to have assisted in the liberation of the Yoruba kingdom of Ile Ife from the neighbouring intruders who are called Ugbo Kingdom.
- “Queen Moremi” movie is based on the story of a major figure in Yoruba history in the 12th century, Moremi of Ile-Ife. She is reputed to have led her city to victory over an enemy kingdom.
The Queen Moremi lived in the 12th century, She was originally from Offa, one of the city in under the Leadership of Oyo Empire which was also under the control of the Oduduwa clan and a wife to King Oduduwa, the heir to the king of Ile -Ife.
- Moremi was a hunter and became a citizen of Ile-Ife by virtue of marriage. Moremi was married to Oranmiyan, one of the sons of Oduduwa, the first King of Ile-Ife and the founding father of all Yoruba descendants.
- Although little was known about the early childhood of Queen Moremi or what could have inspired to become who she was in her adult years.However, history has it that she was a courageous and selfless queen in Ile-Ife who saved her kingdom when the it was under attacked by invaders who routinely looted the market place and kidnapped the people of the into slavery.
THE UGBO INVASION
- The market in Ile-Ife was the mother of all markets in Yorubaland due to its location within the sacred Kingdom of Ife and its commercial vibrancy. Furthermore, citizens of Ife were direct descendants of Oduduwa and the Orishas.Ile-Ife at the time could be likened to the commercial nerve centre of the Yoruba land, a typical Lagos State of the 12th century.
- The Ugbo people were also known as “Forest people” due to the way they appear in their several attacks on the people of Ile-Ife. They are always covered in raffia leaves and people of Ile-Ife believed that they are spirits from the forest.
- Ile-Ife suffered constant attacks from raids from the people of the Ugbo tribe who kidnapped the women and children from the city. The people of Ile-Ife did their best to prevent the numerous attacks from Ugbo people by making different kinds of sacrifice from goats, cows,cowries including Virgins to appeals to gods, but the attacks never end.
- These raiders also often maimed and killed people, stole valuable properties, cash crops, and domestic animals.They disrupt the commercial activities in Ile-Ife market which is the cradle of Yoruba land. These made the people to be unhappy and Queen Moremi resolved to find a way out to help her kingdom from such misery.
- The Queen consulted an Orisha, the goddess of river, at the Esimirin river. The goddess offer to help Queen Moremi solve the problems facing her people while Moremi in return made pledge of a great sacrifice to the Spirit of the river Esimirin.
- The grand plan the river goddess gave Moremi was to allow herself to be kidnapped by the Ugbo people and taken as slave.Moremi being a very beautiful and brave woman was attracted to the leader of the Ugbo people after she was captured and taken in to the Ugbo’s King palace to become one of his wives.
- After discovering the secrets of her new husband’s army, she escaped to Ile-Ife and revealed this to the Yorubas, who were then able to subsequently conquer them in battle.
- Following the war she returned to her first husband, King Oranmiyan of Ile-Ife Ife, who immediately had her re-instated as his Queen. Moremi returned to the Esimirin River to fulfill her pledge. The river demanded she sacrificed her only son named Oluorogbo.
- The demand was too much a big blow for the Queen to bear and she pleaded with the god for a less terrible offering, but at the end of the day, she kept her promise and paid the ultimate price of sacrificing her only son to the god.The sacrifice of Oluorogbo to the river goddess grieved not only Moremi but the whole kingdom in Ile-Ife. The Yoruba people consoled Moremi by offering to be her eternal children- a promise kept in Ile-Ife till today modern day Nigeria.
HERITAGE OF QUEEN MOREMI
- The Edi Festival was established to celebrate the sacrifice Queen Moremi made for the Yoruba people.
- Various public places are named after her in the contemporary Yorubaland region of Nigeria, such as Moremi High School and the female residence halls at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
- In 2017, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, the current Ooni of Ile Ife, Osun State, erected a statue of Moremi in his palace. The statue is the tallest in Nigeria (42 feets), displacing the previous holder of that record (a statue in Owerri, the Imo State capital). It is also the fourth tallest in Africa, just after the Colossi of Memnon, Egypt which is 60 feets.
- Foremost Nigeria cinematographer,Mr Akin Alabi also launched in 2019, a children cartoon capturing the life and times of Queen Moremi for children and younger generation.
- Most InterHouse Sport in Nigerian Primary and Secondary schools have House or Hostels named as “Moremi House” another testament to Moremi Bravery and Courageous attributes during her time.
4 HIDDEN MEANINGS OF QUEEN MOREMI STATUE
The Blazing Torch : This was the torch that was used to scare away the Ugbo people when they came to attacked the people of Ife. Its signify the statue of liberty and courage CENTURIES BEFORE THE New York Statue of Liberty was designed.
The Mighty Torch of Oguso in her right Hand : This was the light source that help supplied fire needed to burn off the raffias of the Ugbo people during the final attack and defeat of the raiders.
The Aso Oke Robes : Queen Moremi its adorned in Aso One robes depicts the elegance and the power she controls as such clothes are mostly adorn by yorubas of high status in the society and by people on special occasions.
Moremi is almost always portrayed today as a beautiful black woman dressed in the finest of robes.
The Ileke (Beads) : This connotes royalty and the Queen status Moremi commands.
- Queen Moremi’s experience gave birth to the commercial life of her people and freed them from oppressors.
Today, there are over 41 million ethnic Yorubas who live predominantly in sixteen countries in West Africa, although, because of the transatlantic slave trade, large Yoruba communities have taken root in countries like Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the Americas. It was a known fact that there are annual celebration of Yoruba festivals like Sango in the city of Brazil till today.
- There are also Yoruba communities in many European countries—most having migrated in the immediate decades after the end of colonialism in the 1970s and 1980s while fleeing economic and political instability in their home countries.
- But the Yorubas would have never survived to become a prominent black ethnic group in the 21st century if it were not for the bravery of some of its early heroes, among which is the remarkable Queen Moremi.
- Queen Moremi sacrifice her marriage temporarily to the King and paid the ultimate price of sacrificing her only son, Oluorogbo to the river goddess in order to liberate the people of Ile-Ife.
- She gave it all for Ile-Ife and paid the price not many of us would want to imbibe in today.
- There are not many individuals in African history with the freedom and fearlessness of Queen Moremi.
Her story teaches us loyalty to our country of birth, selflessness and love of our fellow men, courage and bravery.
Her sacrifice and heroic contribution to the entire Yoruba race will continue to linger on in the history of Yorubas forever.
The story of Moremi’s is one of unimaginable sacrifice and one that every Nigerian needs to know and learn to inculcate the values and lessons from it into our individual lives.
Please feel free to let us know which Africa Heroes or Heroine you will like us to highlights for you in our next post, thanks and happy reading!