According to Mr Harold Augustus Koko, Ambassador of Nigeria, and Professor Senka Kovač, PhD, Department of Ethnology and Anthropology – Belgrade University, the Yorubas have the highest rate of multiple births in the world.
According to Yorùbá beliefs, every person has a double in the heavens. Twins are children who are born along with their heavenly counterparts.
The name for twins in Yoruba is ibeji, meaning “born two times”, which is also the name of the divinity that protects them in Yoruba’s Orisha (Deity) Pantheon
Kehinde (Short for Omokehinde) is a given name of Yoruba origin meaning “the second-born of the twins” or the one who comes after Taiwo.
Taiwo (variant forms: Taiye, Taye, Taiyewo) meaning to-aye-wo is a name of Yoruba origin meaning “the first twin to taste the world.” or the one who comes before Kehinde.
Though Taiwo is the firstborn, it is believed that Kehinde is the elder twin, sending Taiwo into the world first to determine if it is time to be born.
The Yorùbá saying: Akehinde gb’egbon (the last to come becomes the eldest) is a very popular saying to attest to the fact that Kehinde is the eldest in Yoruba beliefs.
A well-translated full Panegyric/Eulogy of Twins (Oriki Ibeji Yoruba); The Yoruba people are well known for having great respect and high regard for Ibeji (Twins), asides from the fact that Yoruba town, Igbo-Ora produces the highest number of twins in the world, the Yorubas regard Twins (Ibeji: Taye(Taiwo) and Kehinde) a deity (Orisha) and are treated in a godlike manner.
Oriki Ibeji (An Eulogy or Panegyric of Twins)
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ará ìṣokún
[All twins hail from Isokun]
Ọmọ ẹdun tíí ṣeré orí igi
[Hoping and jumping from a tree branch to the other]
Ó fẹsẹ̀ méjèèjì bẹ sílé alákìísa
[landed in a wretched man’s place]
Ó salákìísà donígba aṣọ
[Turning around his misfortunes]
Gbajúmọ̀ ọmọ tíí gbàkúnlẹ̀ ìyá
Tíí gbàdọ̀bálẹ̀ lọ́wọ́ baba tó bí í lọ́mọ
[A rare set of children that commands undue honour and respect from their parents]
Wínrinwínrin lójú orogún
[To your stepmother, you are an unwelcome sight]
Ejìwọ̀rọ̀ lojú ìyá ẹ̀
[But to your mother, you are both emperors of two empires]
Tani o bi ibeji ko n’owo?
[Wouldn’t you love to be parents to twins?]
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ti mo bi, ti mo jo
[Twins that I gave birth, that resembles me]
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ti mo bi, ti mo yó
[Twins that I gave birth, that make me happy]
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ ara isokun
[Twins inhabitants of Isokun]
Omó édun nsere lori igi
[Children of the monkey who plays on the top of the trees]
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ wo ile olowo ko ló
[Twins come into the house of the rich man and doesn’t go away]
O wo ile olola ko ló bé
[He comes into the house of the wealthy and doesn’t request anything]
Ile alakisá lo ló
[To the house of the filthy he goes]
Ẹ̀jìrẹ́ só alakisá di alasó
[Twins watch the filthy man (and he) becomes dressed]
O só otosi di olowo
[He watches the poor man (and he) becomes rich]
Bi Taiwo ti nló ni iwaju
[If Taiwo goes ahead]
Bééni, Kéhinde ntó lehin
[Likewise Kéhinde remains behind]
Taiwo ni omode, Kehinde ni egbon
[Taiwo is the child, Kéhinde is the elder]
Taiwo ni a ran ni sé
[Taiwo is sent to get out first]
Pe ki o ló tó aiye wò
[I order to taste the world]
Bi aiye dara, bi ko dara
[(To see) either it is good or bad]
O tó aiye wò. Aiye dun bi oyin
[He tastes the world. The world is sweet as honey]
Taiwo, Kehinde, ni mo ki
[Taiwo, Kéhinde I greet you]
Eji woró ni oju iya ré
[Only they two stand before the mother]
O de ile oba térin-térin
[He comes into the kings house laughing joyfully]
Jé ki nri jé, ki nri mu
[Let us get something to eat (and) something to drink]
Igbo-Ora; Twins capital of the world.
Igbo-Ora, a town in Oyo State Nigeria is nicknamed the Twins capital of the world.
According to Olu (King) Of Igbo-Ora, Oba Jimoh Olajide Titiloye, Igbo-Ora is where there is a large concentration of Twins in the world. He further stated that WHO and other universities have researched the mysterious issue of twin births in Igbo-Ora community.
Igbo-Ora organizes world twins festival every year. At the elaborate maiden edition in 2018, according to the organisers, about 5,000 twins graced the occasion which was fully supported by the government. In 2019, during the festival, no fewer than 10 women gave birth to twins during the ceremony, Olu Of Igbo-Ora said.
This blogpost is dedicated to Taiwo and Kehinde Babasola
Written By Johnson Okunade
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