ABOVE: Jeffrey L. Boney (far right) Forward Times Associate Editor reporting on NNPA’s historic trip to Ile-Ife, Nigeria for The Olojo Festival. “It has truly been a blessing to be a part of this unique and meaningful pilgrimage to Ile-Ife, Nigeria,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., NNPA President and CEO. (Center)
For the first time in the history of its existence, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents over 200 Black-owned media companies across the U.S., has made its way to Ile-Ife in Nigeria for a culturally impactful inaugural trade mission.
The NNPA, under the leadership of its president and CEO, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, was invited to Ile-Ife in Nigeria, by His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, The Oonirisa (Ooni) of Ife, for The Olojo Festival, from September 27 through October 3.
The Olojo Festival is a very prestigious annual celebration to commemorate the dawn of creation and to highlight the historical and spiritual ties of Ile-Ife being the cradle of human existence.
The NNPA was officially invited by The Ooni of Ife to participate in the annual Festival as a way to better understand the history and cultural significance of Ile-Ife, as well as to better inform African Americans and others throughout the world about the development opportunities and important cultural intersections between our sisters and brothers in Nigeria and across Africa and with people of African descent throughout the global African Diaspora.
“It has truly been a blessing to be a part of this unique and meaningful pilgrimage to Ile-Ife, Nigeria,” said Dr. Chavis. “African Americans have a history that did not begin or end with slavery in the United States. It is time we fully reconnect with who we really are without the trappings and ornaments of White supremacy.”
Ile-Ife is widely regarded as the cradle of the Yoruba race and culture. According to Yoruba myth, Ile-Ife is deemed the cradle of human existence based on the collection of historical information, empirical facts and science. Ile-Ife is celebrated as the original source of all mankind and The Olojo Festival is celebrated annually as the spiritual confirmation that God created the world and deposited the elements of creation in Ile-Ife.
The city of Ile-Ife is widely known for its many sacred shrines and spiritual sites that are meant to regularly highlight, promote and remember the Yoruba race and its cultural identities. The members of the NNPA delegation were able to visit many of these shrines and sites during their visit to the historical land.
Over the course of their visit to Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the NNPA will be participating in all aspects of The Olojo Festival and will be sharing many pictures, videos and coverage of this awe-inspiring and culturally significant annual celebration with its many readers.
Jeffrey L. Boney is a political analyst and international correspondent for the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com and serves as Associate Editor for the Forward Times newspaper in Houston. Jeffrey is an award-winning journalist, dynamic international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and founder and CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @realtalkjunkies.