Saturday 10 October 2020

Sunny Ade's "Ja Funmi": Fate and Destiny in Yoruban Cosmology

This is one of Sunny Ade's finest songs.

The central lyrics are:

Ori mi ye o ja funmi

Eda mi ye o ja ja funmi

Ori agbe a ja fun agbe

Ori aluko a ja fun o

It is about having faith in the forces controlling fate and destiny. A man’s determination to persevere.

His plea has to be contextualised in the Yoruban cosmological paradigm of the spiritual & supernatural realm ("Eleda") on the one hand, and the earthly one on the other ("Ori").

"Ori", while literally meaning "head", is a metaphysical concept in Yoruba which not only refers to a person's intellectual abilities, but also to his spiritual intuition and destiny:

"Ja Fun Mi" literally translates from Yoruba as "Fight For Me".

© Adeyinka Makinde (2020).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

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