Moremi Ajasoro is one of the handful of Yoruba women whose story has been passed down as a courageous and beautiful woman of her time. She was married into the royal family and helped fight invaders off Ile Ife.
What was significant about Moremi Ajasoro was that she allowed herself to be taking away by the invaders, and was married to their king. During her time with the *Ugbo king, she was skilful and lived by their rules, yet worked towards her primary goal of gathering intelligence about the people who constantly terrorise her town.
When the invaders came, we learnt that Ife people at the time often take to their heels as they thought they were being raided by Iwin/Anjonu (aliens) impossible to defeat with physical weapons because of their costumes.
Moremi eventually learnt that it was indeed humans beneath the costumes and that the costumes were made of dried grass.
Moremi Ajasoro was not only courageous, she was a loyal woman who kept her promise of returning to her people once she knew how to defeat the enemy.
Moremi eventually escaped back to Ife, briefed her people and gave tips to prepare materials for making quick fire to burn the highly inflammable dried grass the attackers wore to disguise.
Apparently, before Moremi embarked on her mission, she pledged to sacrifice her only son Oluorogbo to Esimirin, a river goddess if she was successful in her quest – and she did. At that time human sacrifice was quite common and for one to let go of their only child for the sake of her people was seen as the greatest selfless act.
Given our history is largely oral, sometimes it is hard to separate myths, legends and true stories, however, Moremi’s story and its core message has always been consistent over the years as a courageous, beautiful and loyal woman.
Ooni Ogunwusi recently unveiled a giant 42ft high statue to honour Moremi Ajasoro on the same spot the princess lived at centuries ago. The statue looks quite impressive. I do hope that there is a plaque and perhaps booklet detailing more accurate information on the courageous woman with dates.
Thank you to Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and his team for walking the talk.
Just a little thought though, looking at this statue, I am a bit disappointed that if a photo of it was taken and shown to me, I wouldn’t have guessed she was a Yoruba woman let alone Moremi Ajasoro – we are at different time now, accurate representation of an important historical figure such as Moremi deserves better than a cheap replica of Statue of Liberty – it is a bad taste, sorry Oba.
I would have preferred to see Moremi Ajasoro to be in a Iro and buba with Oja strapped to her waist because that is what she was likely wearing at the time and the same style is what most of our women wear today.
Having said that, there is nothing wrong with copying a piece of artwork that one admires, calling it Moremi Statue of Liberty is what makes this one a bit tasteless.
Again, sorry Oba.
Overall, this project is a much appreciated one.
*Ugbo is located in Ondo state