MAY 3, 2016 

7:00 pm 

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On May 3, 7:00 PM, National Black Theatre is honored to again host world renowned authority on the Yoruba Culture: The Honorable Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon from Osun State, Nigeria. This event will take place at NBT's home, 2031 Fifth Avenue on 125th Street, New York City.  The Araba is a world-renowned Ifa priest, author, playwright, poet, recording and performing artist. Araba Ifayemi's film - Àkosèjayé: Road Map of All Mankind', will be screened. Àkosèjayé is a theatrical film production of the Àkosèjayé ceremony performed by an Ifá priest for a three-day-old baby to determine his or her life's path.  What is his or her mission on the planet? The Araba will also be signing his latest book, 'The Adventures of Obatala: Ifa and Santeria God of Creativity, Volume 1 (Revised Edition)'.  His publications and records will be on sale. For further information please contact 212-722-3800.


About Araba Yemi Elebuibon:

Araba Yemi Elebuibon is a distinguished Babalawo; he was born in Osogbo Osun state, Nigeria, and comes from a family acclaimed to be one of foremost authorities on Yoruba traditional cultural and spiritual institution. He is a direct descendant of Olutimehin one of the co-founder of the ancient city of Osogbo. He began training as an Ifa priest at the age of four. He is self-taught and received Western style and Formal education through correspondence course, his parent insisted on his thorough grounding in Yoruba and African tradition and culture through apprenticeship with renowned priests of the day. Yemi is a poet, performing artist, playwright, and herbalist-diviner (Babalawo). He has published several books and scholarly papers on various aspects of Yoruba tradition/religion and culture.


Yemi is also a recording artist with several credits on Yoruba poetic genres known as Ewi. His most social commentaries and parallax snaps showed his acute observations on life and cultural philosophy. His traditions morality drama IFA OLOKUN ASORODAYO culled from Odu Ifa was presented as a series on Nigeria national television network. He is an associate staff member in the department of Africa language and literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Nigeria. He is also an international scholar in residence in Black studies Department at San Francisco State University and at the Wajumbe Cultural Institution California. He is the cultural adviser to the National Black Theatre New York in Harlem; he is the founder of Ancient Philosophy International.



In the 1970’s, shortly after being awarded a Ford Foundation’s fellowship visit to Nigeria, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder and visionary of National Black Theatre, met Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon. Through her many visits to Nigeria, she formed unique relationships and exchanges with The Araba, the Yoruba culture and the artists from the world renowned city of Osogbo.  The results of these exchanges are evident in unique landmark building that now stands on the corner of 125th and Fifth Avenue.


This is a rare opportunity to hear and see a world renowned speaker and authority from Nigeria.   Please note the following about the tradition and place that Araba Ifayemi Elebuibon represents:


In 2005, UNESCO declared in its third proclamation of World Masterpieces that The Ifa Divination System in Nigeria was one of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity to be preserved and protected.  


Also in 2005 UNESCO recognized and designated The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove as a World Heritage Site to be preserved and protected:


Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove

The dense forest of the Osun Sacred Grove, on the outskirts of the city of Osogbo, is one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria. Regarded as the abode of the goddess of fertility Osun, one of the pantheons of Yoruba deities, the landscape of the grove and its meandering river is dotted with sanctuaries and shrines, sculptures and art works in honor of Osun and other deities. The Sacred Grove, which is now seen as a symbol of identity for all Yoruba people, is probably the last in Yoruba culture. It testifies to the once widespread practice of establishing sacred groves outside all settlements. The Grove also serves as a model of African heritage that preserves the tangible and intangible values of the Osogbo people in particular, and the entire Yoruba people. As a source of pride to them, the Grove will remain a living thriving heritage that has traditional landmarks and a veritable means of transfer of traditional religion, and indigenous knowledge systems, to African people in the Diaspora. 

Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's

National Black Theatre
Institute of Action Arts