This tiny, isolated South Carolina village is one of the last of its kind.
South Carolina is home to a traditional village (the only one of its kind in the United States) based on the culture of the Yoruba African kingdom found in Nigeria. Founded in 1970 in lower South Carolina near Sheldon and Yemassee, it is open for visits and frequently holds events that are definitely worth seeing. It had a population of up to 250 people at its peak (the 1970s). It is now home to around nine households.
It is “North America’s Oldest Authentic African Village,” according to the village’s website, and the slogan is “The Freedom You Can Feel” (“Oyotunji”). “To remain a crucible for the study of African culture, and we aim to explore and preserve our culture,” says the group’s mission statement (SouthCarolinaETV). The locals are passionate about maintaining African heritage, notably the Yoruba and Dahomey cultures of West Africa. The Oyotunji Village is passionate about sharing their culture with others, and they offer tours, educational opportunities, and festivals open to the public.
Ofuntola Oseijeman Adelabu Adefunmi, the creator and first monarch, or “Oba,” of the Oyotunji Village, was a notable member. Oba Adefunmi was well-known for his passion to educate people and build structures and monuments that resembled those seen in his birthplace.
This society, like previous communes we’ve read about, had a desire to return to the land and retain traditional traditions. They also seek to move away from the mainstream of society. This commune is notable because its occupants are black, and their objective is to showcase rather than escape their history and culture. Visit Oyotunji Website for more details.
A sign posted near in the entrance warns visitors they are leaving the U.S. and entering the Kingdom of Oyotunji.