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Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon: Conversations with an African cultural icon

Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon:

Conversations with an African cultural icon

By Olusesan Ekisola, Minneapolis, Minnesota

It was a beautiful reunion of sorts when I happened on big blast from the past in the person of Araba Awo Yemi Elebuibon a prominent Nigerian traditionalist and media fixture of the early 70's. High Chief Ifayemi Elebuibon is a titan of the African culture and recently elevated Araba Awo of Oshogbo.

A highly respected cultural icon at home and abroad, High Chief Elebuibon is a recording and performing artist, and a playwright of several Yoruba poetic genre known as Ewi. Born in Oşogbo, Oşun State of Nigeria, Araba Elebuibon is an acclaimed breeder of authorities on tradition, culture and other revered Yoruba institutions worldwide.


He is the founder of Ancient Philosophy International, a Cultural Adviser to the National Black Theater in Harlem, New York and spiritual adviser to the San Franscisco based WAJUMBE Cultural Institution.


The Araba Awo Oshogbo is an international scholar in residence at San Francisco State University, where he lectures on African Traditional Religion and Culture. He is an Associate staff member of the Department of African Language and Literature, at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria. He has written several books on Yoruba spiritual systems, history, medicine and science. Notable among these books are: The Adventures of Obatala I & II, Apetebi Wife of Orunmila, Healing Power of Sacrifice, Poetry Voice of Ifa (Iyere Ifa), Irin Ajo Eda (Poem), and more.


I saw his footprints on, you guessed it, Facebook! So came back specters of an exciting era in Nigerian broadcasting and invaluable memories of a better clime in Ibadan, then capital of Western Nigeria when as young studio managers, including my other colleagues like Yanju Adegbite, Gbenga Nadi, had the duty of recording his gems alongside other greats as Odidere Ayekooto Tubosun Oladapo, Oyewole Olowomojuore, while working under the tutelage of cultural production giants like Chief Adisa Balogun.


New Court Road. Radio Nigeria. Memories of cultural events across the street at the Obisesan Hall. The unquantifiable pleasure of pounding the streets of Gbagi, Dugbe, Cocoa House, and its delightful hang-out for the boys - Cocoa-Dome, Yesmina Night club, then giant retailers, Leventis and Kingsways Stores ... Adamasingba.


This interview was arranged with a hefty lot of help from New York city based former TV icon, Victoria Owodunni, actress and later a producer at the then WNTV/WNBS. She did the initial liaison/set-up as well as the final link-up with Oshogbo for the telephone-interview. Araba Elebuibon himself was very helpful and accommodating given the seven-hour time difference between Central Time US and Nigerian local time.

The exercise was smooth and illuminating. It was a frank and direct look at one of the most scary issues in African social environment. The African traditional religion as a central issue of African culture and social interactions. There is so much to learn. The differences between the priests of the religion and their roles. They have been posted on the right pane of our website homepage for easy access. It's in two segments an average of 30-minutes each. I hope you have fun listening.


Araba Elebuibon is beloved as a family man, husband, father, grandfather and godfather.


To contact Araba Elebubon go to