Oba Moro

Oba Moro is a play by Duro Ladipo, built on desire for continuity. “Let us abandon this place of refuge,” cried the Yoruba refugees in this play derived from Samuel Johnson’s History of the Yorubas, ‘let us build our glorious city, Oyo Ajaka.” The play, was first performed on 17 March 1962, on the occasion of the foundation of the Oshogbo Mbari Mbayo club. It was printed in 1964 together with two other of Duro’s plays in an English version by Ulli Beier.

Oba Moro is an adaptation of a particular occurrence during the reign of a fifteenth century Alaafin, Abipa, who thwarted efforts by Alapinni, an Egungun cult chief and his cohorts to deter him from returning the Oyo empire capital from Katunga in the Savannah to Oyo Ile. Alapinni and friends arranged for ghosts to scare away the Alaafin’s emissaries to the abandoned town as to feign the disapproval of the gods. Their plans came to the king’s knowing and the ghosts were caught, thus the cognomen of the Alaafin, as Oba Moro, meaning the king who caught the ghost.