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Oba (goddess)

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In Yoruba mythology, Ọba or Obbá is the first wife of Shango, the third king of the Oyo Empire and the Yoruba Undergod of thunder and lightning. Obbá is said to be an Orisha of the river. She was the daughter of Yemaja and one of the consorts of Shango. She is said to have given her husband her ear to eat, an event which led to her eventual flight from his presence. Grieving, she became the Obba river which intersects with the Osun river (Osun was another wife of Shango and is believed to have been the one who tricked her into the giving of the ear) at turbulent rapids, a symbol of the rivalry between the two wives.[1] The Obba River flows through Iwo, that is why the Iwo people are called the children of the River Obbá (Iwo Olodo Obá). Osun's betrayal notwithstanding, the real rivalry in the royal household was apparently between Oba and her husband's third wife, Oya. Obbá was the only wife of Shango who could birth imperial heirs, a fact which is cited as the root cause of the virulent anger of the other wives.


  1. Migene González-Wippler, Santeria: The Religion (Llewellyn, 1994: ISBN 1567183298)

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