African Culture

He is Esu, He is not Satan.

He is Esu, He is not satan.

He is just being misrepresented, like Ekwensu, in Igbo Omenala.

The Aborisa religious system of the Yoruba tribe in western Nigeria has been greatly misunderstood by modern Christians and widely disrespected. Most African cultures were built on the idea of a Supreme deity and then primordial bodies. They were called orisas, and they represented elements of nature and humanity, Divinity, and ideas. Adherents of this belief system get guidance from this orisas. Sango is the most popular of them.

Who is Esu?

Esu is not satan.
Esu is not satan.

Esu is one of the orisas that has great importance in the Yoruba land. There’s no shrine you will enter in the Yoruba land that does not represent Esu. Some towns have their representations at spots, and some have theirs in the heart of the towns.

Esu in Aborisa faith was an intercessory god that devotees of all other gods have to pay homage to. Most Yoruba scholars and historians have made it clear that Esu in the original Yoruba cosmology was quite a complex figure or concept.



Esu, Yoruba Aborisa religion.
Esu, Yoruba Aborisa religion.

Esu was more like an international relations officer to olodumare. He makes the recommendations for him to approve. And he regularly reports the deeds of men and divinities. He was like the connection between heaven and earth. He is also a messenger, the right-hand Divinity of orunmila, orunmila listens to the voice of olodumare in divination. It makes it known to the world and its Esu’s work to make sure its being heed. He might even bring calamity if the word is being disobeyed. So Esu and orunmila (Babalawo) have a solid connection. To orunmila, Esu is like a door.

Esu was a god that overdoes things in frightening ways. He, too, is a trickster. He calls the shots. He decides what the other gods do, so he often needs to be sacrificed to maintain a balance.

Samuel Ajayi crowder, the famous Ajayi crowder, kidnapped based on the slave trade; he later has a turn of fate and is baptized. He became one of the leading missionaries promoting Christianity in Nigeria and one of the leading figures translating the Bible to local languages. He was Yoruba, so who would do the translation? Him, of course.

They gave a Jesus christ and equivalent translation, which is Jesu Kristi, and instead of giving Satan the same, they decided to pick from one of the existing gods in the belief system. Therefore Esu. Esu in the authentic Yoruba concept is the enforcer of the will of eledumare

Esu as an enforcer would bring bad things to people when the wills olodumare is not done and will bring good when it’s done. This is the reason behind the misinterpretation of Esu by foreigners who didn’t know much about this concept. But the fact that Yorubas bought this concept is another disheartening thing.

Esu was a combination of good and evil, relatively due to the positivity and the negativity of the world.

It’s not normal and nice to equate Esu’s position with the theology of Satan and the devil. They are not the same.


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Francis Chidera
the authorFrancis Chidera
Popularly known as Chokolate is a content creator. A lover of simplified words making it easy to get to a wider audience. It pains to see that Africans are forgetting and neglecting who they are, hence, I am passionate about reminding us of our culture. I work with 54history on the African culture category, to achieve this aim.

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