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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Discourse and its Disclosures: Yoruba Women and the Sanctity of Abuse
Author:Apter, Andrew H.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:gender relations
traditional festivals
songs (form)
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161148
Abstract:This article relocates abusive songs of the Oroyeye festival in Ayede, an Ekiti Yoruba town in northeastern Yorubaland, Nigeria, within the local forms of history and knowledge that motivate their interpretation and performative power. After reviewing the cult's historical interventions in local political affairs, the article examines the repressed historical memory of a displaced ruling dynasty and its associated line of civil chiefs as invoked by the song texts in two festival contexts. In the first - the Ājākadė wrestling match - which occurs at night, male age-mates from different 'sides' of the town fight to stand their ground and topple their opponents while young women praise the winners and abuse the losers with sexual obscenities. In the second festival context, during the day, the elder 'grandmothers' of Oroyeye target malefactors and scoundrels by highlighting their misdeeds against a discursive background of homage and praise. In this fashion the female custodians of a displaced ruling line bring repressed sexual and political subtexts to bear on male power competition, lineage fission, and antisocial behaviour. More generally, they mobilize the fertility and witchcraft of all Yoruba women to disclose hidden crimes and speak out with impunity. The article is based on fieldwork conducted in Nigeria in 1982-1984, 1990 and 1993. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.