“At pilgrims’ rest beneath Idanre Hill
The wine-girl, dazed from devine dallying
Felt wine-skeins race in fire-patterns within her
Her eyes queried, what then are you? At such hour Why seek what on the hills?”
(Idanre and Other Poems p.62. )
by Wole Soyinka.
The Ondo people are Yoruba descended from Oduduwa via the wife of one of his great grandsons who had twins ” which is forbidden in the Palace of every Oba in Yoruba land” and had to flee persecution in Ile Ife.
“So she left with a large number of friends and retinue to the site of the present Ode Ondo, then sparsely peopled by a tribe named Idoko, and there settled, hence the term ” Ondo,” signifying the ” Settlers.” The people of the district knowing who the strangers were, yielded them ready obedience, and the strangers became rulers of the district.” – The History Of The Yorubas : From The Earliest Times To The Beginning Of The British Protectorate by Samuel Johnson.
The Idanre Hills are one of Ondo state’s jewels of tourism. The magnificent hills surrounding the town are classified as Inselbergs . The are festivals in May and December which celebrate the Idanre history.
Ondo state is also known as the home of the relic of Iwo Eleru the oldest human skeleton to be discovered in West Africa with a radio carbon date of about 12000 BC, in a cave located in Isharun, Ifedore Local Government of Ondo State.
As Sierra Leone counts down to the 7th of November hoping for no new cases of Ebola and to be finally declared Ebola Free, here is a look at at least one Yoruba community which somehow has remained Ebola free despite close and continued contact with bats including hunting , killing, cooking and eating them.
The photo at the end of this post has broken friendships. On my quest and e Travels in search of decent images for Idanre Hills as part of the Who Are The Yorubas series of posts, I found this travel blog post about bat hunters in Ondo state, and I thought if xxx was still my friend I would have shown her these pictures so that she could increase in knowledge with me. I had also wondered “who eats bats??!” at the outbreak of Ebola, until I found a picture of a mound of what could only be Eba sitting next to a big bowl of bat stew!
The Annual Bats Festival in Idanre Kingdom comes up next May.