Home Op-Ed Ooni of Ife inspires students during visit to Hollywood High School

Ooni of Ife inspires students during visit to Hollywood High School

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Above, King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, dressed in white and gold robes and a diamond-encrusted hat, and his spiritual leaders present a plaque to Hollywood High School Principal Alejandra Sanchez and Associated Student Body President Aurora Massari. In Los Angeles to be honored by the Hollywood and African Prestigious Awards, also known as the African Oscars, the Ooni of Ife, a traditional monarch from Nigeria, stopped today at Hollywood High School where he spoke to students about his life in the West African nation.

King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, head of the Yoruba people in Nigeria, poses with students from the Performing Arts and New Media magnets at Hollywood High School.

King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi is head of the Yoruba people in Nigeria, which is sometimes called “the Giant of Africa” because it has the largest population and most prosperous economy of any country on that continent.

Dressed in white and gold robes, with a diamond-encrusted hat and staff, he made his way to the auditorium.  He was preceded by his spiritual leaders, who shouted blessings, rang bells and shook gourds filled with beads. Members of his entourage paid him homage and intoned “Ashe,” (pronounced ah SHAY), loosely translated as, “So be it.”

“My message to you today is very simple,” the monarch said in English, the national language of Nigeria. “We are one big happy family all over the world, irrespective of our color, our complexion and no matter who we are.

“I am praying for you today that goodness, good things of this world are given to you,” he added, “and in the future, to your parents and your teachers.”

He also offered advice, urging student, “Love one another. Nurture one another.  Respect everybody.  Love everything in life.”

Asked about a typical day in his life, he explained, “The King wakes up to traditional chanting and honors at 7 a.m.  Next, I talk to my creator and to my ancestors,” whom, he said, he can traced back 60 generations.  “I give honor to them and then to God almighty.

Students perform an African dance in honor of the Ooni of Ife, a traditional monarch from Nigeria.

“Before we were colonized (by the British) everything was centered around the king – legislative, judicial and executive matters.  Due to the Westernization, most of those responsibilities were taken by the government. I attend to the King’s court, where people bring disputes from the entire kingdom. I pray to God for wisdom, that I make good decisions for the aggrieved parties.”

He also greets visitors from around the world, especially those interested in the heritage sites and traditions of Nigeria. Students from Hollywood High’s Performing Arts Magnet performed an African dance for the king. A student choir, the Hollywood High-notes performed an a cappella rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” and the Beatles’ “Let It Be.”

Student actors performed a scene from “Two Masters and a Servant,” and the school broadcast a music video, “The Best is Yet to Come,” produced in the campus recording studio.

“It was a fun experience,” said freshman Jessica Cafruni, one of the dancers. “It was fun to learn about other people’s culture.”

Angelica Whipple, a freshman who is part of the school’s student leadership shared her excitement about meeting someone from Africa.  “His words were inspiring!”

Courtesy: LAUSD DAILY

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