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Royalty in Yoruba Land: A visit to Oduduwa's & the Ooni of Ife's Palaces

When Burna Boy said “Anywhere I go, I have to come back home”, I felt it! Being half Yoruba, I knew I wanted to start my exploration of Yoruba culture where it all began, Ile-Ife!

One of the first places I visited in Ile-Ife was Oduduwa’s Palace, which is believed to be the first palace in Yoruba land. Before the trip, I did not even know this palace existed. The Palace is a small house with a few rooms and a courtyard in the center, built in the traditional Yoruba architecture style but with modern finishing. Local traditional worshippers come to this palace to pray. One of the most interesting things about the palace was this huge statue of Oduduwa inside.

Later, during my tour of the Ooni of Ife’s Palace, the guide told a story most Yoruba children have heard so many times, the creation story of Oduduwa, the founder of the Yoruba people. Hear the story in the video below.

The Ooni of Ife is the paramount ruler of the Yoruba people. The Palace has been beautifully remodeled with modern architecture. Even though, I was glad to see that the palace looked so nice, I wished it had been a modernization of Yoruba architecture and not European style.

Anyway, another thing I was really happy about was the fact that there are tours of the palace available every day. I have not seen this in any other palace in Nigeria and it is so important for locals and foreigners to be able to visit these palaces and learn about the history of the kingships and the culture of the people.

What even made it sweeter was the fact the tour was in Yoruba. I don’t understand Yoruba well but I was still very happy about that.

During the tour, the guide explained the different aspects of the Ooni’s duties, how the court was run and different festivals the Ooni conducted. One of the most popular festivals in Ife is the Olojo festiva in October. It is believed that during this festival the Ooni wears a crown weighing 100kg! Maybe one day I can attend the festival and see for myself lol.

After the tour of the Palace, I also visited a museum beside the Ooni’s palace. People aren’t allowed to take pictures but they allowed me to take this one of the Ooni’s traditional attire and crown.

That day, I wore an agbada kaftan from a brand I really love called Dye Lab.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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