Oba Efuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi (born Walter Eugene King, 5 October 1928 – 11 February 2005) was an African-American initiated into the priesthood of the Yoruba religion.
King was born in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up with an interest in African culture and began African studies at the age of 16. King left the Baptist faith that he had been baptized into at the age of 12. At the age of 20, King traveled to Haiti in 1954 to study Vodou and, in 1955, to Europe and North Africa, often as a part of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Finally, in 1959 just before the Cuban revolution, he traveled to the Matanzas region of Cuba to be initiated into the Yoruba priesthood of Obatala, where he was named Efuntola Oseijeman Adefunmi. Efuntola means "the whiteness (of Obatala) is as good as wealth (or honor)." Adefunmi means "the crown has given me this (child)."
Upon his return to the United States, he founded the Order of the Damballah Hwedo, then the Shango Temple, and later incorporated the African Theological Archministry. That organization would come to be called the Yoruba Temple. In 1970, King created the Oyotunji Village in Beaufort County, South Carolina.
King's Black Nationalist stance drew large criticism from within the ranks of the Cuban Santería priests because of his strident opposition to certain aspects of their religion.
- Ancestors (Tribal origins) of the African-Americans, Yoruba Temple, (1962)
- Tribal origins of the African-Americans, Yoruba Temple, (1962)
- Olorisha: A guidebook into Yoruba religion, Orisha Academy (1982)
- The African state: An outline of the philosophy and organization of the ancient Yoruba kingdom of West Africa, pre-European period, Yoruba Temple, (1962)
- Lewis, James R. The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1998. ISBN 1-57392-222-6.
Additional Books and Articles
- Oyotunji village: The Yoruba movement in America, Carl M Hunt
- The Joseph E. Holloway Papers Cornell University Library
- African gods in South Carolina Essence Magazine
- An African kingdom in America American Visions Magazine
Fri, 11 Sep 2015 05:11:15 -0700
... Nigeria, in August of 1972. He was named king of Oyotunji community in 1972 with the designation, His Royal Highness Oba (King) Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi I, born Baba Adefunmi. He later died and his son, Adefunmi Adejuyigbe took over as ...
Black Star News
Tue, 27 Aug 2013 01:54:49 -0700
Luekemia survivor, mentally challenged child missing. 12 year old Miles Adefunmi went missing 9:00 this morning after being dropped off by his brother at Dekalb Avenue subway station in Brooklyn. If you have any information please call the 77th ...
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 19:10:18 -0700
According to Adefunmi II, these newcomers are “damaged by the American experience” and curious about life in Oyotunji. They describe a creeping sense of alienation that mirrors the experience of the first generation. From the Ferguson riots to the ...
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:05:18 -0700
This outpost is the Oyotunji African Village, founded by a man known as His Royal Highness Oba Oseijeman Adefunmi I, who in the late 60s was inspired to leave New York, purchase land in the Deep South, and establish a community born from the idea that ...
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 06:58:08 -0700
As mentioned, the West African dashiki gained prominence stateside during the 1960s and 70s after Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi — née Walter Eugene — began manufacturing the ornately designed traditional garments after a trip to Haiti in the ...
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 05:46:46 -0700
On her part, Adefunmi Tejuosho argued that implementing the regulation was important for security and safety. Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who approved the regulations after a voice vote by members, said the state cannot afford operations below standard ...
Charleston City Paper
Mon, 01 Jul 2013 06:59:33 -0700
The Oyotunji African Village, a small community off of Highway 17 near Beaufort, will host its second annual Pan-African Grassroots Assembly July 4-7. Speakers at the event will include Oyotunji's King Oba Adefunmi II, Gullah/Geechee Head of State ...
Charleston Post Courier
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 21:29:25 -0700
That hand-lettered marker currently is in the shop for refurbishment, but the king here assures visitors that the message still applies. "I didn't take your passport at the gate, but you're entering another country spiritually, socially," Oba ...
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