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Unit 6 Discussion: Yoruba gods (Essay Sample)


Unit 6 Disc 1: The Creation of the Universe and Ife (Yoruba) What does this creation myth tell us about Yoruba culture? How does it enhance the brief amount of historical information given in the introduction to the Creation of the Universe and Ife? You might consider the following questions in developing your posts: Why would a god desire companionship? How do the Yoruba gods care for the world and the people? How do the events of the myths demonstrate the concerns of the Yoruba tribe? Are those concerns still vital today? Unit 6 Disc 2: Gassire's Lute (Soninke) Gassire's Lute reflects the Soninke heroic period of 500 BC. Yet the epic, of which this story is a part, comes from a period 1000 years later (give or take a few centuries) during the growth and height of the Soninke empire of West Ghana (P. 521). What does this story tell us about Soninke culture? What values does it prescribe? What can we learn about how the Soninke view themselves, their history, and cultural development? You may wish to consider the following issues: What exactly is Wagadu and what role does she play in the lives of this story's characters? Does her disappearance seem to be a penalty for wrongs committed? What do Wagadu's children have to do for her to return? Why would the lute need blood to sing? Is Gassire in control of his own fate or not? Gassire is willing to sacrifice his family as well as all of his people for fame. Considering we are hearing of him now, was fame worth the sacrifice? As always, take care in composing your post/responses and do not hesitate to draw comparisons with other myths and cultures.

Unit Discussion
As in all other African myths, the Ile-Ife allegory endeavors to explain the origin of life. The African myth accounts for the creation of the universe and the origin of humans and their diversity. The first city of Ife would currently be placed in Southwestern Nigeria.
The myth expounds that before land existed, earth was entirely covered in water mass and the Orishas lived amongst the clouds with their sovereign god Olorun. Obotala, one of the Orisha descended to earth by a long chain or spider web. He carried with him a snails shell filled with sand, palm nuts, maize seeds and an egg. He used the sand in the shell to create land by pouring it over the oceans and later the egg hatched to release a bird that scratched the ground scattering sand to form hills, mountains, valleys, and all the geological features we know. He later dispersed the seeds he had carried on the land that grew and made the land green. One prominent palm tree grew sixteen bran...
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