Oyotunji Village Entourage in Oyo, Nigeria
From Kamari Clarke, 7 February 1996
I recently completed my fieldwork in an "African" community of African-American converts to Yoruba religious practices. This community is located in Beaufort County, South Carolina and was named Oyotuji African Village in 1970 at the time of its formation. The members of this community are polygamous, they live in self-constructed compounds, they raise livestock, have their own elementary school, they have a king and queens and shrines representing various African Gods. In otherwords, this community was set up to emulate a pre-colonial West African village.
One of the interests that I investigated during my ten month tenure dealt with the ways that notions of "Africa" are envisioned and reproduced by African-Americans in this community. I explored the ways that African "traditions" are conceptualized and represented and to this end I am interested in the differences in interpretation and the sites of contestation both with "Yoruba" practitioners in the U.S. and in SouthWest Nigeria.
In a few weeks I will be traveling with the Oyotunji Village Entourage to Nigeria where they will reconnect with some of their patrons in Abeokuta, Abeokuta, Oyo and Ife. I will be there for two months and will observe their relationships with some of the traditionalist practitioners in the Nigerian countryside. Since my sole purpose wil be to follow around the Entourage I will not be controlling my schedule. However, if anyone has contacts in Oyo, Abeokuta, Ife or Osogbo that I really should get in touch with while I am there, I would appreciate any contact information that you might offer.
Thank you very much,