Sunday, May 07, 2006


My photograph of the sculpture of Sonponna, the Yoruba deity of Smallpox - a kind of avenging god - is published in the current edition of the Sentinel Poetry Online magazine.

This and many other sculptures in the grove were made by Suzanne Wenger a.k.a Adunni Olorisa (born in Austria, she has lived in Osogbo for over 50 years) and other artists in the town.

The picture was taken in the Osun grove in May 2003.


Blogger the flying monkeys said...

From the TIME archive


Smallpox Apotheosized
Jul. 2, 1923
Dr. Oguntola Shapara, Nigerian physician, was decorated by King George. Dr. Shapara discovered an African secret society which worshipped smallpox as a fetish. The members spread the disease as part of their rites, making it impossible for the health officials of Nigeria to stamp out the plague. Dr. Shapara was initiated into the society and took part in its secret ritual in order to learn how to combat it. With this knowledge the Government of the colony was able to abolish the clan and to control smallpox.


4:03 pm, May 08, 2006  
Blogger the flying monkeys said...

i dont think practices associated with indeginous religions such as the YORUBA, could be as barbarous as disrespecting the religion of others

even Abraham would have resorted to barbarous practices at some point in his JUDAISM

the position of women in the CHRISTIAN church, although this may have improved, could also be considered barbaric

halal butchery is just as barbarous as the Position of Women in ISLAM

religious fundamentalism, tribalism or male chauvinism, all point in the same direction; all in support of brutal tribalism

i wonder which/who will win the battle

4:51 pm, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous mw said...

Interesting piece from the archives, Obokun, thanks for it. If i remember correctly now, Sonponna is the only deity in the Yoruba pantheon whose worship is actually prohibited by the Nigerian constitution, due to the abuse of its powers/influence by some unscrupulous priests in modern times.

Naturally, we are not prevented from learning about him in these times - as we learn of Apollo and others in the Greek pantheon.

7:33 pm, May 08, 2006  
Blogger the flying monkeys said...

i'll have to look this up

12:26 am, May 09, 2006  

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