Re-Writing Women’s History: Reflections On The Legend Of Moremi

By Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

The story of Moremi Ajasoro, a legendary figure from the ancient town of Ile-Ife in South West Nigeria is not one limited to the Yoruba people of Nigeria.  Her story is known across the world and in the African Diaspora, a classic tale of bravery and sacrifice for the good of the community. Recently, the legend of Moremi has been mired in controversy due to the different opinions of two Yoruba Kings. The current  Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja 11, decided to erect a magnificent statue in front of his palace at Ile-Ife, to honour Moremi’s memory.

The Ooni of Ife is considered to be the most senior Yoruba ruler, being the direct descendant of Oduduwa, the founding father of the Yoruba people. The young Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi has acquired a reputation for being a progressive, peace-loving and open-minded ruler, keen to bring transformative ideas to his reign. However, Ooni Ogunwusi’s act of solidarity with Moremi’s story has drawn criticism from another Yoruba ruler. Oba Obateru Akinrutan, the Olugbo of Ugbo in Ondo State, South West Nigeria, claims that Moremi should not be celebrated as a heroine when in actual fact she was a traitor who betrayed her Ugbo husband and caused the destruction of his people.

What do the oral traditions tell us about Moremi who allegedly lived centuries ago? Moremi was originally from Offa, in present day Kwara State of Nigeria. She was married to Oranmiyan, the Ooni of Ife. The town of Ile-Ife was under incessant attacks from some strange looking invaders known as the Ugbo. They would attack the town and cart away people and goods. The more the raids went on, the more agitated and depressed King Oranmiyan became.

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Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

Source: Abovewhispers

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16 Responses to Re-Writing Women’s History: Reflections On The Legend Of Moremi

  1. Temisan December 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I have heard the story of Moremi and sincerely I wonder her courage and the pain of leaving her child. In fact, i wonder how her child felt when he was being offered.

    Hmmm,,,Women are always the ones to bear crazy brunt in history just like Mama wrote here. We go through a lot even in the bible and in oral traditions. But then, We can rewrite our history and cut off the crazy trend.

    Reply
  2. Maveedah December 13, 2016 at 11:05 am

    she should be celebrated. She is an heroine and if the other kind thinks otherwise, his opinion doesn’t count here.

    Our women who are worth celebrating should be celebrated. And on this note, I celebrate Abovewhispers on the VOW Awards. Cheers!

    Reply
  3. MARIA December 13, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Thinking about so many sides of this story, it all boils down to one thing, Moremi is an heroine. Moremi is great. In fact the schools where you have hostels named after Moremi, those hostels are tagged specially. They are reffered to the place of Great and beautiful girls just like Moremi.

    Moremi is worth celebrating and should be celebrated.

    Reply
  4. Mide December 13, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Women are survivors
    Women are great
    women bear a lot.

    Imagine Moremi, because of her husband’s ordeal, she paid a price so dearly and after the sacrifice what happened? She still got shamed. That is the exact thing that women face in our society. They go all the way out to save their families etc and still get trashed for that.

    We are worth celebrating but please let our stories always end well, or most times, end well. Like Moremi she didn’t really end well but her place in history is upheld!

    I learn a lot from this platform. I appreciate your work.

    Reply
  5. Lekan December 13, 2016 at 11:14 am

    @Maria. I don’t think it is proper to waterdown the story of moremi with the ‘good deeds’ of those hostels you are referring too. Maybe in those days, they were great but now, they are just beautiful without brains.

    Great enlightment through the article. Thumbsup

    Reply
  6. matilda December 13, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I love this article

    Women are worth celebrating properly.

    @Lekan, if you don’t really want to say something. Just pass. I am a great woman and I stayed in Moremi at OAU. We Rock like that. Beautiful and 100% smart!

    Reply
  7. Detutu December 13, 2016 at 11:17 am

    What a great Article, great enlightment. I am happy that this is being written so people can understand that No one makes a sacrifice more than a Woman!

    Reply
  8. Tina December 13, 2016 at 11:20 am

    ”Let us write and tell more stories about the great women of old”. Those lines got me. We should write stories about the great deeds of women and not shame them.

    The other king should better appreciate the worth of a woman who saved her state and stop beefing the statue. With or without the statue her legacy lives.

    Reply
  9. Olakunle Olajide December 14, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Wow!! This is a well written story from another perspective. Looking at the way our “sheroes” get rewarded and never really celebrated. I will like to applaud the efforts of Ooni of Ife for the statue made in the memories of Moremi. It is really a great feet in acknowledging and celebrating women in power.

    Reply
  10. Legzycool December 14, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Great write up..Women should be celebrated and rewarded for their great exploits as well. Not just in memories but also when they are still alive.

    Reply
  11. D'apoet December 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

    It is great when we read of our past heroes, men and women who have lived and made sacrifices for the welfare and survival of our society and I believe Moremi to be one of those. Regardless of historical interpretations and perspectives, to have stood out in history despite the patriarchical nature of her society is not only heroic but commendable and she deserves her place in history. Kudos to you ma’am for such brilliant narrative

    Reply
  12. Femi Diipo December 15, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I’ve read a lot of stories about Moremi and I’ve come across different and diverse narratives and allusions. But to call her a traitor is out of place if not barbaric. She should be celebrated forever

    Reply
  13. Timi December 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Moremi is a great heroine. And she deserves to be celebrated and appreciated especially by her own people – and every one who understands the Sacrifice she made to liberate her people.

    Reply
  14. L'Oreal December 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Every human who would do “anything” for the greatness of humanity is worthy of celebration.
    Moremi depicted strength and courage. She took some audacious steps men couldn’t take. She took thoughts of ways she could see to the survival of her race.
    She did give her all (who would freely sacrifice a son – oh please).

    She is a great heroine… and her name will forever be remembered. Her mark will ever be on the sands of time…..

    Reply
  15. tbams December 19, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Hmmmmmmm, what a beautiful story….. Have heard alot about Moremi but not this version thou. A very brave woman and was ready to sacrifice for the peace of her people and Kingdom. Sure it wasn’t easy for her but the Love in her heart made it possible. Indeed, she should always be celebrated with or without the statue.
    Indeed, Moremi is a great heroine….

    Reply
  16. Bamisebi Toluwalope December 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    This platform is really knowledgeable. Have gotten good informations and past stories on this platform. God bless abovewhispers.com, God bless all the people working on abovewhispers.com.
    So, I finally read the story of Moremi Ajasoro. Have always liked this name MOREMI cos my frd bears d name, and when I asked the story about the name, she only told me that Moremi means brave woman…. Hmmmmmm, indeed, Moremi is a brave woman, strong and courageous. She has her husband and people at heart and was ready to sacrifice for them……
    Waoh,she let herself to be taken to captivity just to save her land and bring peace back to her Kingdom… And in return, sacrificed her only son. Waoh…. This is the height of sacrifice, strength and great love.
    Moremi is indeed a great heroine and should be celebrated everyday….
    @legzycool, I really agree with ur last statement, women should be celebrated when they are alive and not only in Memories

    Reply

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