For many years now, although the babel of discordant voices is fast pestering out, certain bigoted commentators and critics of African literature, history, and Culture have maliciously subjected Africa, especially Negro-Africa South of the Sahara, to object of ridicule.
In their much Eurocentric writings about Africa, they have misrepresented, distorted, and warped the history, literature, and culture/ languages of Africa to the point of worthlessness.
Some of these imperialists writers had often derogatorily referred to Africans especially those South of the Sahara, as’’ a people without a past’’, a people who had never evolved a civilization of their own and had contributed nothing to human progress. To some of these prejudiced writers, Africa is ‘’a child who never grows’’. Others still,, out of spite, used to refer to Africa as ‘’a dark continent’’ by which they tried to make the world believe that the continent had remained impervious to civilization and civilizing influences.
In their derogatory comments, they called African Languages ‘’Vernacular’’- language of the primitive people!
Today, as mentioned overleaf, Africa has evolved. Africans can beat their chest that we are not impervious to civilization and civilizing influences. Our languages, works of literature, cultures are not inferior as these white imperialists believed.
A cursory look at the Yoruba as a people will make those prejudiced ones understand that the Yoruba language is not vernacular. The Yoruba language is spoken in many foreign countries and so also is her culture practiced in some countries of the world outside Nigeria. Yoruba language is even spoken fluently by the whites and taught even at the university levels in the USA.
The Yoruba Language is spoken, majorly among the South-Western People of Nigeria as a means of communication It is also spoken in different parts of Africa, South America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
The outlawed slave trade of the 18th century made the language spread fast as some of the people at that time were captured and carried into slavery but they refused to jettison their language. Not only that the language is spoken but also the Yoruba culture is practiced from one generation to the other.
The following countries apart from Nigeria, speak the Yoruba language and practice the culture undiluted.
( 1)Worthy of mention is Cuba. Cuba is a secular state, where the major religion is catholicism. It is also the most populated country in the Caribbean. The official language of the Cubans is Spanish but Yoruba is their second language and Yoruba culture is practiced by the practitioners of Santeria. It is on record that during the Slave trade, Yoruba slaves from West Africa took their beliefs and culture to Cuba.
(2) Brazil is another country among those that speak the Yoruba language. A lot of Yoruba indigenes were deported to South and North –America and have traced their origin to Nigeria. Research has proved that the State of Bahia in Brazil uses the Yoruba language as one of their major languages and is widely spoken there. The Pelourinho building housing the enslaved Yoruba from West Africa before they migrated to other countries with their merchants is located here.
The Ooni of Ife, His Royal Highness Ogunwusi officially made the Yoruba language the official language of the country in 2018. Brazil has the highest number of people who speak and practice Yoruba culture.
(3)EL SALVADOR- Elsavador is located in North America. They practiced Yoruba culture here and speak the Yoruba language fluently and practice some of the traditional religions of the Yoruba people.
(4) SOUTH CAROLINA- This is another country in the US that practiced and speak the Yoruba language. Their culture is the same as the Yoruba culture and traditions. Their King here is a Yoruba man having the tribal mark in resemblance with that of the Alaafin of Oyo, in Oyo State, Nigeria. According to the Yeyeoba of Oyotunji Village (Yoruba speaking town), Madam Agbabiaka, aka Lady P, who is also an Afro-American citizen in America and who happened to have visited Oyotunji village and who this writer had once interviewed on the Oyotunji Village in South Carolina, efforts are going on to designate Oyotunji village a ‘Yoruba town’, just as they have ‘China town’ in other places. L
Other notable countries that speak and practice Yoruba culture and traditions are The Republic of Benin, Togo, Sierra-Leone, the United Kingdom, and many others.
Maybe we should remind ourselves that the way we lay our beds is how we’ll come back to lie on it. Nigerians have superb cultures and our languages are not inferior but a means of communication handed over to us by our ancestors, which must not be jettisoned for the foreign ones. We should be proud of our language and culture and speak it along with any other languages we have acquired. And remember the Yoruba language is spoken in most parts of the world.