Gender Specifics and Social Relations in North-Eastern Yorubaland: Isua Akoko Example, up to 19th Century

Oluwasola Ibitayo Daniels


A unique feature of Akokoland is the divergent origins of the people. Like other Akoko communities with multifarious historical backgrounds, the history of origin of Isua Akoko is also shrouded in migrations from different areas: Yoruba and Edo. A major corollary of these two fundamentally different regions is: cultural fluidity in Isua Akoko social relations which cut across several aspects of the people’s life such as marriage, widowhood, divorce and especially age-grade. It is on this backdrop that this paper, from the gender perspective, analyses the social grouping of males and females in Isua Akoko with the aims of showcasing the cultural fluidity, especially, in the female grouping and its implications. For instance, while social grouping of males was based primarily on “age” as elsewhere in Yorubaland, grouping of females was, however, largely premised on marriage and motherhood. The work is approached from historical perspective with the methodology of narration and critical analysis of data. Theory of historical feminism is used to interpret gender narratives in the sources. The work submits that the gender specifics of Isua Akoko, a Yoruba community is distinct from Yoruba cultural identity in social relations. Therefore, Isua Akoko does not conform to cultural uniformity of Yoruba in gendering of its social relations.


Gender; History; Isua Akoko; Age-grade; Motherhood; Bareness; Widowhood; Divorce

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