The inhabitants of Ife celebrate Moremi for her courageous act of liberating her people from oppression, while the ùgbò people view her as a traitor.

The inhabitants of Ife celebrate Queen Moremi for her courageous act of liberating her people from oppression, while the ùgbò people view her as a traitor.

In a bygone era, there dwelled a woman named Moremi, who, alongside her young son Ela, was the wife of King Oranmiyan of Ife. Not only was Moremi beautiful, but she also possessed virtue.

During a challenging period, the nation of Ife faced relentless attacks from a neighboring tribe, referred to as the forest people or ùgbò in Yoruba. These peculiar-looking adversaries, perceived as aliens by the Ifes, were believed to be a divine punishment for past transgressions.

Despite futile sacrifices to the gods, the uncanny raids persisted, plunging the land into turmoil. Moremi, driven by a desire to alter her people’s fate, humbled herself by allowing capture during one of the raids. The plan was to become a prisoner in the land of the ùgbòs and uncover their secrets.

Seeking spiritual guidance, Moremi made an oath to the god of a stream, promising a lavish sacrifice if successful. Craftily executed, she was captured, presented to the ùgbò king due to her beauty, and eventually became their respected queen through her intelligence and noble heart.

While in the enemy’s territory, Moremi unveiled their true nature — mortal men. She discovered their fear of fire, attributed to mantles of grass and bamboo fiber worn during battle. Armed with this knowledge, she escaped and returned to Ife.

Reuniting with King Oranmiyan, Moremi’s news was joyously received. Following her suggested tactics, the Ifes defeated the ùgbòs. However, her vow to the stream god demanded a great sacrifice — her son Ela.

Reluctantly, Moremi fulfilled the demand, sacrificing Ela. Witnessing this tragedy, the Ifes, to compensate for the loss, pledged eternal kinship with Moremi.

To the ùgbò people, Moremi is seen as a betrayer. Her statue depicts her pleading with Òlùgbò, her husband, for betraying the ùgbò people to rescue her people from Ife.

3 thoughts on “The Story Of Queen Moremi, The Yoruba Woman Who Sacrificed Everything”
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