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Osun Sengese, Directed by Adebayo Tijani, Rasaq Olayiwola, Seun Olaiya and Abiola Paul Bogunmbe, music by Ayo Emebiyi, Ronke Ojo Film Productions, 2017.
Osun Sengese on Yorubaplus YouTube channel.
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Author of the Entry:
Che Tatiana Fru, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brindy Belinga Claude, ENS, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Daniel Nkemleke, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
, b. 1975
(Actor, Director, Producer)
Adebayo Tijani (1975-) is a popular movie producer, director and actor, who is perhaps one of the highest-paid directors in the Yoruba Nollywood industry. He began a career in acting and movie production in the early 2000s when he was the president of a theatre group. Adebayo Tijani produced his first movie “Dursinmi” in 2002 and has produced more than 20 movies, since then.
nigerianfinder.com (accessed: August 5, 2021);
thecityceleb.com (accessed: August 5, 2021);
modernghana.com (accessed: August 5, 2021).
Bio prepared by
Che Tatiana Fru, ENS, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org and Brindy Belinga Claude, ENS, University of Yaounde 1, email@example.com
Osun was a very beautiful Yoruba girl who was loved and admired by many people in her village. She was also an excellent hairdresser and most women flocked to her to get their hair done. Osun fell in love with Oluodemi, whom she finally married. Long after their marriage Osun could not conceive but her husband was patient in waiting for the gods to bless their marriage with the fruit of the womb. One day, Osun was on her way to the stream when she started querying the gods for not blessing her with a child. Instantly, a mystical force nudged her to her knees and water started pouring from her empty pot of water. At that point she remembered many things about her past, starting with an encounter she had with the Oracle. During the meeting, the chief priest had advised her to form a baby from brass, bath it every morning while singing and rejoicing.
When she had got home from the Oracle, she did as she was told until she realized that the villagers were aware of her struggles with having the fruit of the womb. Agitated by this and uncertain about the future, Osun advised her husband to get a second wife, in the hope that if the second wife conceived, the gods would be kinder to her and bless her with a child. Oluodemi reluctantly heeded the advice and married Asiyanbi as a second wife. Osun welcomed and treated Asiyanbi with tenderness, but when Asiyanbi got pregnant, she started treating Osun with contempt even in the presence of visitors. Asiyanbi eventually gave birth, and forbade Osun from even touching her baby. Oluodemi equally became violent and aggressive towards Osun because he assumed Osun was jealous of Asiyanbi. One fateful day, Oluodemi requested water to drink and Asiyanbi gave him water in a dirty calabash. Out of compassion for her husband, Osun tried to call Asiyanbi's attention to the fact that the calabash was dirty. Instead, Oluodemi got furious at Osun and for the first time, called her a barren woman and threatened to slap her. Osun became even more worried and recalled how affectionately Oluodemi had treated her, no matter her childlessness. Overwhelmed by the situation, Osun wailed in absolute anguish and fury such that thunderbolts could be heard throughout the village. Osun was still on her knees and water was pouring from her pot when she recalled all of these. In the end, she turned into water and flowed down the path before her.
Some years later, in the nearby village of Iponda, a family was on the verge of losing their last son and not even the chief priest could help as the sick child was already passing away. However, a servant was sent to fetch water but due to the scarcity of water in Iponda, he went beyond the village and finally got some water from what would later be known as Osun river. When the sick child got hold of the water, he recovered immediately. Amazed, the priest went to the river from where the water had been fetched, to verify the miracle. When he got there, he realized that there was nothing ordinary about the river.
Similarly, Ipole, a neighbouring village, was also experiencing acute water shortages, and though the king of Ipole summoned his elders to discuss ways of resolving the issue, there was no progress. Fortunately, Timeyin, a hunter from Ipole, discovered a big mysterious (Osun) river in one of his hunting expeditions, and with enormous delight and excitement he brought this to the attention of the king and his people. This prompted the people to unanimously resolve to migrate and settle by the river. In the meantime, the Fulani people planned to attack the Yoruba people as retaliation for the maltreatment of the few Fulani people living among the Yoruba people. Sometime later, Oluodemi fell asleep during one of his forest sojourns, and in a dream, he was reprimanded for letting Osun, his first wife, go away. He was also told that Osun was the key to his greatness and that he could find her only if he crossed seven hills and plains.
When the people of Ipole arrived at Osun river they immediately started constructing huts for shelter, exuding enthusiasm and singing songs of praise in elevated tones. In the process of felling the trees, some of the trees fell in the river and destroyed one of Osun’s pots. Outraged, Osun, now a spirit, sent a spirit to the Ipole people to warn them about their recklessness. The spirit addressed them as “Osoigbo”, and then related the message from Osun, and the chief in turn instructed his people to adopt the name Osoigbo which the spirit had used to address them. The Chief also commissioned Timeyin, the brave hunter, to go into the wilderness and seek directions from the spirit of the river though they had not recorded any tragedy since they settled around the river. Later that night, a spirit came around with a lantern and Timeyin left with him. He requested that the spirit should take him to Osun and give him the lantern it was holding for him to provide light to his people. The spirit acknowledged his petition and urged him to protect the lantern just as they, in the spirit world, did.
When Timeyin consulted with Osun, she told him that she was only upset with the way they misused the water. She said the water was restorative and could heal the sick and revive the dead. Osun implored them to move a little farther from the river but told them that they could always seek her assistance as long as they were honest. Finally, Timeyin pledged to fulfil Osun’s desires to be worshipped by his people.
Meanwhile, the Fulani people finally attacked and subjugated some Yoruba villages but when they got to Osoigbo, they were mysteriously obliterated by Osun because their chief had sought her help. Thereafter, the Osoigbo people all assembled at Osun river to worship and show their appreciation to Osun for safeguarding them. When other Yoruba villages were informed about Osun’s protection of the Osoigbo people, they were delighted and also worshipped her. Later on, Osun would be known by many villages far and near as a blessed land, whose protector, Osun, deserved to be worshipped.
Although the origins of some gods in many traditional societies in Africa are generally unknown by the people worshipping them, this movie unravels the Yoruba’s belief that some gods are actually humans who have died, this is the case of Osun. But these humans had peculiarities that distinguished them from all the others. These peculiarities could be seen in the way they lived while on earth or in the way they died. Eventually, when dead, they continue to render service to the people. Osun became the goddess of restoration, healing and resurrection. Her unsuccessful wish to give birth (i.e. to give life) when on earth, made her transit from the world of the living to that of the dead in the form of water — water, being a source of life. These gods were later on worshipped by people from their community or another community. In either case, the people had to respect the principles given by the deity. This is the case of the people of Ipole in this present movie, who, by accepting the protection of the goddess, Osun, equally accepted the instructions she gave them, to protect the river and to worship her.
The e story equally brings out an important aspect of life, which is fertility. The ability to bear children has always been an important matter in every community. When this was absent, rituals were carried out for the couple. Oracles were consulted, as is the case with the story. The transformation of Osun into water is equally important, as water throughout history has been a symbol of fertility, healing and life.
Using such media to present mythologies is important as it enables the young generation to be attained and hence come in contact with their tradition. This is the reason why this movie had great success with many views, likes and positive comments on YouTube. Again, myths about Osun have been represented in other movies such as Osun The Goddess by Florence Trautman which presents life on earth and the connection between mortals and the spirit world.
Badejo, Diedre L., Osun Seegesi: The Elegant Deity of Wealth, Power, and Femininity, Africa World Press, 1995.
Chayse Contributor, Osun Osogbo Festival – The Myth and the History, available at chaysemagazine.com, March 14, 2019 (accessed: August 5, 2021).
Civilta dell’Acqua international Center, Water Civilization International Centre, Venice, Pure, Good, Divine: the Sacredness of Water in History, available at unesco.org (accessed: August 5, 2021).
Fatunde, Fakayode Fayemi, Osun: The Manly Woman, Athelia Henrietta Press, 2004.
Koster-Oyekan, Winny, “Infertility among Yoruba Women: Perceptions on Causes, Treatments and Consequences,” African Journal of Reproductive Health 3 (1999): 13-26 (accessed: August 5, 2021).
Pearce, Tola Olu, “She will not be listened to in public: Perceptions among the Yoruba of infertility and childlessness in women,” Reproductive Health Matters 7 (1999): 69-79 (accessed: August 5, 2021).
Part one: 80 min.
Part two:98 min.
Osun: Ronke Ojo A.
Oluodemi: Muyiwa Ademola
Timeyin: Yinka Quadri
Asiyanbi: Seyi Ashekun
Mama Ayisanbi: Ayo Adesanya
Awo Jaweyinfa: Rasaq Olayiwola
Onigboaje: Wale Akorede
Onigboaje’s Wife: Faithia Balogun
Awo: Yinka Laoye
Awo: Yisa Oseni
Fulani Leader: Sikiru Adehina
Oluodemi’s Friend: Olu Lasigun
Omo Ode: Kazeem Muritala
Omo Ode: Gbenga Abisogun
Official Photos available at: NaijaGists.com (accessed: August 5, 2021).