Yoruba (yariba, yooba). Poetry in a language of Nigeria, mirror of Africa. Yoruba poem for a face with piercing eyes waving its long hair. Yoruba is a Nigerian-Congolese language of the Kwa group, and official language in Nigeria. Spoken by 35 million people, besides Benin and Togo, we find this language in Cuba. Yoruba with the stress on the first syllable, is one of the major languages of Nigeria. Yoruba is considered by some people, to belong the the kwa branch, and by some others, to belong to the Benue-Congo branch. It was the language of the great Oyo empire of Nigeria, which at its zenith in 18th century included much of present-day Benin. The Yoruba alphabet was largely the creation of Samuel Crowther, a freed Yoruba slave who later became a Christian missionary.
The Yorubas are a people of south-west Nigeria, also settled in Togo and Benin. They live from agriculture and craft trade (renowned wood carvings); The distribution and the individual possession of the land, subject to the authority of a chieftain of lineage, have an obligatory socio-economic character. Extended families, made up of related families on a patrilineal line, form the basic social unit. The Yorubas constitute a population of a high culural level, while retaining many of their traditional beliefs (pantheon of deities, creative god). Grouped into highly structured village states, they created kingdoms such as Ife, Oyo, Nupe, Ijebu and Benin, which were based on an important military force. Power was held by a king. Among the Yorubas, poets and historians, men or women who perpetuate the soul of the people, are holders of the speech, which is both a force and a sacred act, they are both depositaries and transmitters. Nigeria is the most populous African country and despite a large oil manna, remains relatively poor. The other national languages of this country are Hausa and Igbo.