Yoruba Classic Clothes: A reader’s suggestion to scholars of Yoruba culture out there

September 6, 2011


I like this model. She is really elegant. The Nupe clothes are quite close to Yoruba clothes because I’ve seen sanyan in Bida. May be the author and our researchers should employ clothes as a means to finding out the route the Yoruba followed during their migration from the Middle East. The Junkum of Taraba state also wear etu, while the Tiv wear some hand-woven clothes that look like Yoruba Igbalode clothes. More grease to your elbow. A. Ajipeya.

I also know that retired Col. David Mark, Senate President as well as some top Middle-Belters are noted for wearing caps made of hand-woven fabrics like the Yoruba; they also wear them the same way.  I have also seen people from the Middle Belt wear ‘etu’ as well as some other very lovely striped hand-woven materials.  These could unlock – as the reader has suggested – a key into the migration of Yoruba from the direction of the Middle East via Egypt that many of us took as mainly mythology.

I’ve also heard that for the Igalla group in the Middle Belt, the word from the local language for ‘yam’ is ‘USU’ – pronounced ‘u-shu’ –  which is exactly the word for yam for ALL of Ekiti and a sizeable part of Ondo State around Akure.  This, of course, could be migration due to the long fratricidal Yoruba Wars of the 19th Century because the same group also counts the same way with the Yoruba:  eni, eji, eta …for 1, 2, 3 …

We cannot and must not always wait for outsiders to dig into our past for us.  I do realize that things are very difficult for researchers in Nigeria because of lack of funds, etcetera but there are occasions when funds are available but not properly applied.  

What has prompted the baby-steps I’m taking on documenting Yoruba clothes is the work that was done by Ulli Beier as well as Roland Abiodun and John Pemberton III.  I want my own documentation to include some descriptions of HOW these clothes are worn as well as document the modern variations on the old classics.

Sadly, I’m not a qualified researcher because I lack the education and other tools that good research calls for.  All the same, I will continue to document as I’ve just started to do with the hope that those who can do what the above reader has suggested using Archaeology, etcetera would one day step forward to dig into our past for all these tantalizing possible links.




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