Sunday, 17 April 2011

SANGO; The god of Thunder

Sango; the god of thunder is believe to be great deity as he was a great man while he was alive. The Yoruba people around the world share the belief that Sango often known as Xango or Chango by the Carribeans and the Latin Americans is also known as Jakuta  (the thrower of stones or the thrower of thunderbolt-Edun Ara) . he is known as the center point of Lukumi (Olukumi which means my dear one) religion of the Carribeans. Many initiation ceremonies as performed in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela for hundreds of years past are based on the traditional Sango ceremony of the ancient Oyo. 
Sango has carved for himself histories among different people around the world.- Basically they are all Yoruba.
History of Sango as told by the Yoruba of West Africa.
Sango was the third Alaafin of Oyo. He was the second son of Oranmiyan; the founder of Oyo Empire; the youngest of the grandsons of Oduduwa. Sango was a brave and powerful man that inherited most of his special abilities from the Nupe, his mother’s people. During the reign of Alaafin Ajaka, Oyo Empire was under a regular treat of war from Olowu, Ajaka’s cousin; who rules Owu Kingdom. Olowu later sent his warriors to capture Alaafin Ajaka and bring him to Owu. In their bid to rescue Alaafin Ajaka, the Oyomesi (Oyo’s council of chiefs), sent for Sango in Nupeland where he had lived. He rescue to Ajaka and he was crowned King while Alaafin Ajaka was sent into exile.
Sango, in his lifetime, had three wives: Oba, the first wife and in the traditional sense the legitimate, Oshun, the second and Oya, the third, a concubine (as no marriage right or dowry was paid on her) was a spirit who has the power to transform from human to animal. She also has the power to summon rain. Together with Sango’s thunderbolt, they had terrific victories in battle. The resulting Jealousy by Oba and Oshun makes Oya to be more close to Sango- becoming his princess consort (Ayo) and having access to Sango’s thunderbolt (Edun Ara) which later bring about his doom.
During the reign of Sango, he had two generals: Timi Agbale Olofa-ina (also known as Olu-ode) who could shoot arrows of fire and Gbonka (also Known as Eliri) who was equally powerful. After disobeying his direct order not to match on Owu in Battle, Sango follows Oya’s advice to get rid of them and sent them to govern the border towns of the Empire. Timi obeyed him and left for Ede but Gbonka stayed back in Oyo to pose further treat. Sango in his quest to destroy them both: sent Gbonka to Ede to capture Timi which he did. Sango who believed that the match in Ede was staged asked for a re-match in Oyo and Gbonka defeated Timi. Sango then ordered that Gbonka should be burn to ashes. Mysteriously, he appeared after three days giving Sango ultimatum to vacate the throne for his infidelity. Sango angrily request for his Edun-Ara from Oya that has being in the possession of it. He found it to be wet and stained with blood from her period.
He left the palace to a high rock facing the palace to re-affirm the potency of his thunderbolt. The thunder he created stroke the palace and burnt it down. Oba and Oshun; after losing everything to the inferno, left the palace angrily blaming one another for allowing Oya such access to Sango and became the undergoddess of the river Oba and Oshun respectively. (both in Osun state Nigeria). Oya, on her part, went back to the forest in Nupeland where Sango found him and became the undergoddess of Odo- Oya(now known as river Niger)
Historical corrections
Sango; heartbroken; left the town followed by the chiefs and members of his royal cult known as Baba-Mogba persuading him not to leave. After an unyielding persuasion, the chiefs went back as they approach an Ayan tree in a place called koso with the news that the king has hanged. But that is not true. Only a few of the Baba-Mogba who did not go back knew the truth which is:
Sango was attacked by Gbonka but Sango unwilling to fight varnished into thin air only to appear in the sky to destroy Gbonka and those peddling the rumors that he hanged. – Hence the popular saying OBAKOSO OR OLUKOSO meaning the king did not hang. –As created by the Baba-Mogba who knew the truth.
History of Sango in the Carribeans and Latin America.
       Sango (or Jakuta) was the third Alaafin (king) of Oyo.
The king is a major character in the divination literature of the Lukumi religion. Stories about Sango's life exemplify some major themes regarding the nature of character and destiny. In one set of stories, Sango is the son of Aganju and Obatala when in female form. As the story goes, Obatala, the king of the white cloth was travelling and had to cross a river. Aganju, the ferryman and Undergod of fire, refused him passage. Obatala retreated and turned himself into a beautiful woman. He returned to the river and traded his/her body for passage. Sango was the result of this unusual union. The tension between reason represented by Obatala and fire represented by Aganju would form the foundation of Sango's particular character and nature. In further stories of the faith, we find that Sango goes in search of Aganju, his father, and the two of them play out a drama of conflict and resolution that culminates with Sango throwing himself into the fire to prove his lineage. All of the stories regarding Sango tend to revolve around dramatic events such as this one. He has three wives; his favorite (because of her excellent cooking) is Oshun, a river Undergoddess. His other wife, Oba, another river spirit, was conned by Oshun into offering their husband her ear to eat. His anger was greatly kindled by this, and she is said to have fled from his presence to subsequently become the Oba River, which merges with the Oshun River to form dangerous rapids that are believed to be the physical manifestation of her life-long hatred for her fellow royal consort. Lastly, Oya was Sango’s third wife, and was the one out of the three who managed to learn the secrets of his special powers to use in later life.
Veneration of Sango
The religious ritual of Sango was possibly designed in order to help the devotees of Sango gain self-control. Historically, Sango brought prosperity to the Oyo Empire during his reign. After his deification, the initiation ceremony of the cult of his memory dictates that this same prosperity be bestowed upon followers, on a personal level. According to Yoruba and Vodou belief systems, Sango hurls bolts of lightning at the people chosen to be his followers, leaving behind imprints of stone axe blades on the Earth's crust. These blades can be seen easily after heavy rains. Veneration of Sango enables—according to Yoruba belief—a great deal of power and self-control.
Sango altars often contain an often-seen carved figure of a woman holding her bosom as a gift to the god with a single double-blade axe sticking up from her head. The axe symbolizes that this devotee is possessed by Sango. The woman's expression is calm and cool, expressing the qualities she has gained through her faith.
Veneration in different cultures
Sango is venerated in Haitian Vodou, as a god of thunder and weather; in Brazilian Candombl√© Ketu (under the name Xango); in Umbanda, as the very powerful loa Nago Sango; in Trinidad as Sango God of Thunder, drumming and dance ; and in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela - the Santeria equivalent of St Barbara, a traditional colonial disguise for the Deity known as Chango.
In art, Sango is depicted with a double-axe on his three heads. He is associated with the holy animal, the ram, and the holy colors of red and white.


  1. Thanks for this. Your essay provided new insights on the history of Sango, Ajaka and Oyo, which we are currently writing a book on.
    Thanks once again.

  2. Thanks for this. Your essay provided new insights on the history of Sango, Ajaka and Oyo, which we are currently writing a book on.
    Thanks once again.

  3. Didn't know it was this enlightening. Thanks now I know something about sango

  4. Didn't know it was this enlightening. Thanks now I know something about sango

  5. he didn't die. later he went to India and became the supreme god of India LORD SHIVA

  6. I think their are some few corrections. Sango actually committed suicide.
    In the town it spread like widefire that the king committed suicide so to reclaim his image, the Baba-mogbas would set the residence of anyone found saying Oba po oku so (The king committed suicide) on fire in the middle of the night. To deter people from saying oba po oku so, therefore the name was changed from to to olukoso.

  7. this is good. but I don't seem to understand why sango should burn Gbonka after he has helped him defeat timi.. pls try and explain that

  8. Great history thanks for sharing

  9. Kudos men,u really did a very great job guys