Yoruba speakers live primarily in southwestern Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Togo, and even as far west as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Upper Volta, and Ivory Coast. Historically, the trans-Atlantic Diaspora took Yoruba and its descendants to Sierra Leone, Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, Haiti, and other parts of the Americas. Today, there are 60 million Yoruba on the African continent and in the New World. Yoruba is a name that encompasses numerous pre-colonial groups, all of which spoke various dialects of the same language, some almost unintelligble to one another, and shared common cultural and social practices. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica (1978), the Yoruba were pre-colonially urbanized at levels unparalleled by other Africans. Yoruba are also famous for their prized bronze and terracotta figures, dating back 1,000 years.

Many African-Americans re-connect with their African ancestry through Yoruba culture. This explains the presence of the Oyotunji Yoruba village in South Carolina, as well as the annual Odunde Festival in Philadelphia. American popular culture also looks to Yoruba aesthetics for inspiration. For instance, Arrested Development, a hip-hop group, always features Baba Oje, a Yoruba-derived grandfather figure who sits on a rocking chair during live stage performances.

The resilience of Yoruba culture is also visible in religious expression, as in the Santeria in Cuba (and North American cities where Cuban Migrants have established homes), in the Candomble of Brazil, and in the Shango of Trinidad. It is found in the music of Felo Anikulapo Kuti of Nigeria, Gilberto Gil of Brazil, and Merceditas Valdez of Cuba. It is also found in the pacific nature of basketball NBA star Akeem Olajuwon and the richness of the writings from Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka. 

Source: African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania



  • YORB 0100 Elementary Yoruba I
  • YORB 0200 Elementary Yoruba II
  • YORB 0300 Intermediate Yoruba I
  • YORB 0400 Intermediate Yoruba II
  • YORB 1100 Advanced Yoruba I
  • YORB 1200 Advanced Yoruba II

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Yiwola Awoyale