When I hear the sound of a good drum, I get dancing feet -Princess Folasade Adeyemi (Alaafin of Oyo’s daughter) - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

When I hear the sound of a good drum, I get dancing feet -Princess Folasade Adeyemi (Alaafin of Oyo’s daughter)



What does it take to be a princess in the palace of a first class traditional ruler in the South West of Nigeria? Princess Sade Adeyemi, the daughter of His Royal Highness, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Adeyemi III, is in good position to tell us. She was born a Princess, and even when she sojourned in America for years, the identity traced her there. 


Despite having been taught early in life, the basic knowledge of the palace traditions, Princes Folashade Adeyemi, who is also popularly known as Arewa Omo'ba, returned to Nigeria and went through further grooming in the palace.

Today, she is the cultural ambassador of the traditions of her people: A role which places a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders, as she moves around the globe building cultural bridges amongst her people, wherever they are.

Princess Folasade Adeyemi in this interview with Paul Ukpabio, shares her lifestyle in and outside the palace with us. 
   
Tell us where did you grow up, Lagos or Ibadan?

I was born to the Royal family of Alayeluwa Oba Adeyemi III, The Alaafin of Oyo: As the 3rd born and now eldest daughter of IkuBabaYeye. I love my upbringing in the Palace, full of rich cultural values, with strict discipline. Palace itself is another city on its own I must confess.

How about your education background? 


I grew up in Ibadan, went to primary school in Ibadan. After that, I proceeded to Federal Government College, Akure. After two years there, I left for the United State of America. That was in the early 80's. Over there in America, I completed my secondary school and went on for further studies, for a university education.

I have over 20 years in Banking/Customer service. But I returned to Nigeria in 2004. Here I worked for Ibadan base Children NGO before joining Oyo state politics. I contested and lost the election for Federal House of Representative, Oyo Constituency under Action Alliance (AA) in 2007.  Again, I re-contested for Oyo State House Assembly (Atiba LG) under PDP in 2015.

I became a political activist under GADA Gender and development Action (GADA), a Nigeria base Women Political Empowerment Forum lobbying for Gender Equality. There I became one of the Board Members of the organization.

At what point did you pick interest in culture and tradition?

It was in 2009 when I started promoting culture through public speaking in secondary schools. My passion for culture grew, so I started an organization for cultural programmes such as art, craft and style exhibition. It also included local and international Festivals, lectures and seminars.

Some people say that you are more or less your dad's P.A (The Alaafin of Oyo), what role do you play in that regard, and what other roles do you play in the palace?

No, I'm not my father's Personal Assistant, but I am more like a consultant and I do represent him at any forum on cultural events if there is need to do so.

What do you do these days, what business takes your time, and what is Arewa House of Culture all about?

As my passion grew, I created Arewa House of Culture. I took over Oyo Alaafin Cultural events by repackaging the ancient Festivals such as Sango, Egungun, Agidan IFA, Isese Day celebration, Egungun & Oranyan Festival, and the like. I was very proud of myself when I created the first Maiden Edition of National Isese Day Celebration Festival in Trinidad in 2014.

We hear that you have won some prestigious awards with regards to your promotions of culture, tell us about this part of you.

Oh yes, that’s true, I have some awards and titles to show for some of the works we have done. I have the Award for Cultural Ambassador, Prestigious Princess of Isese Parapo, Arewa Oduduwa, and that of Yeye Agbasaga.
...honour in Brazil
As the first Female foreigner from Africa, I was honored with a Ernesto Pedro's Gold Medal and  National Honor in Rio de Janeiro Brazil as Commander of Rio de Janeiro Brazil in recognition of promotion of Culture in 2016.

What fashion accessories do you value most and which fashion accessory do you not do without?

The best fashion accessories I value most are beads and I can't do without them. I am happy to say that, I have different kind of beads from different African countries. 


What kind of fashion style and clothes appeals to you?

My kind of fashion style is just some very simple, l love ankara and indigo fabrics. Majority of time, I love to wear and be seen in cultural attires, like Oleku.


What do you feel about make-up. Do you use it?

I'm not a make-up person, but when I use make-up, I keep it natural.

Tell us your beauty secrets?

You may be surprised because my beauty secret is so simple. I eat healthy food, fruits, and I drink lots of water.


Aside your sojourn in America, have you traveled out of the country in recent times, which trip influenced you most?

The trip that most influenced me was that which I had last year November 2016. I was given a National award as Commander of Rio de Janeiro with Ernesto Pedro's Gold Medal at the Municipal Legislative Chamber in recognition of my work in promotion of Culture. I was the first African woman to receive such recognition in Brazil 

Your first car, and which is your dream car?

My first car was a Jetta and my dream car is a G-Wagon Benz

You once went into politics, how did it turn out?

My political journey has been my own personal choice. It has been my sole decision since I joined Oyo State politics in 2005. I joined not because I'm Alaafin's daughter, but because more women are needed in politics. However, my father has always been supporting my decision. He has also allowed me to exercise my right even when sometimes he is not comfortable with my decision, he does not hesitate to guide me.

My journey into politics has been because I have to follow my heart. You have to follow your heart and do what it tells you. This allows you to know who you are and what you stand for.

I believe if you are called for specific duty, you just have to obey just like what I'm doing now with promotion of Culture. With my ten years of experience, I have discovered that, regardless of what party you belong, big or small, gender and discrimination is still a big issue.

You are single, when are you looking forward to wedding bells to ring?

I'm very single by choice, no wedding bells anytime soon.


Tell us about your ideal man. How do you want your man to look like, what type of person are you looking forward to have as your man?

It is not difficult for me to say a Capital 'No' with respect to men that approach me for date. But certainly, when the right choice comes, I will not hesitate to give a positive answer. 
My ideal man will have to be very intelligent, bold with good principles. He will be the type that allows me to be who are I am and will be ready to add great value to my life. I guess that is as simple as ABC!

Do you bother if your suitor comes from any part of the world, or do you insist he has to be of Oyo descent?

One should not have a soulmate based on what states they come from. A soulmate I believe is more about how one feels about that person. Not about where he or she comes from. 


How does it feel being the daughter of Alaafin of Oyo? 

I have been living in America for years. It was a great privileged to travel to America at the age of 13! For that, I'm very grateful. So I can say that right now, it's very comfortable to be the daughter of Alaafin of Oyo. But about 10 years ago, when I just came back from the United States, it was not that easy and comfortable for me. Thank God, I have branded myself and people now appreciate me and know my worth. 


In the palace, what is the relation between culture, tradition and religion? Can they be separated? And does the Alaafin make it an issue that all his children must follow a particular religion?

The Palace is a traditional institution. We grew up with IFA, Sango, Obatala and Ogun: While the Royal family religion is Muslim. But as we grew up more, the Alaafin’s children grow older in all other aspects of development too. Some of us listen to an inner call and chose preferred religion.

In those days, history has it that royal palaces used to have strong, influential female characters, do we still have such today in the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo?

Yes, we still do have strong, influential female characters in Palace today; Most of the senior Oloris of Baba Alaafin are influential. And I will also include myself (laughs). 

The Oyo of your dreams; what kind of Oyo do you what to see in the near future?

Hmm the dreams I have for Oyo, is that of goodness. I look forward to see a better Oyo and above all, I pray that I live long to see Oyo become one of the best historical tourism center in Africa.

Will you return to politics someday, and why? 

Once you are in politics, one can't stand out of it! So the question should be, will I contest again? I have tasted the tricky water of politics which has helped brought awareness to my environment. Going into politics made me know and understand people better and I have been able to know and see the necessity of certain things in my community. It has also brought awareness to me of f what I should focus on. It gave me an experience of knowing what I can give back to my society. And that knowledge, I have channeled into cultural promotion.

Do you feel somewhat fulfilled in this regard? 

The truth is, I'm not where I want to be. I believe there is a little more work to be done. There is more I can do to be more relevant in society. I don't belong to boredom, and I don’t believe in hiding from people. I believe I can use my position as a Princess to add value more to a lot of things and people's lives.

What was growing up like in the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo?

Growing up in the palace was like a town itself with very strict discipline, full of cultural events and uncountable visitors. We, the princesses always have to be good looking, in order to receive visitors and prepare them to meet the Baba Alaafin.

I remember that we the children were not to going out to see friends or go to our friend’s houses. We didn’t use to go to parties too or to anywhere on our own. However, we used to attend events with our dad or with the Oloris.

You didn’t fully grow up in Africa in your youth days, so that makes me to ask, can you cook African food, and how did you learn the culture when you left to America at age 13?

The older Oloris witnessed the reign of other Alaafin, and they tell the story of how they were groomed and they groom us on how to act and behave how to cook, wash, and dress especially the female amongst us. They teach these things even though there are many people that can do it for us. Growing up in the palace is a full school on its own. Can I cook, with all the gender training in the Alaafin Cultural Institution? Ofcourse, I’m a qualified chef (laughs)!

Did your friends treat you differently at school knowing that you are a Princess?

Yes, I had friends then in school who liked me. Some bullied me because I am a princess. To a point I had to shy away from being a Princess. But that also made me to face and focus on my studies.

How was the reaction of your American friends when they found out that you are a Princess?

America then back in the 80s in California was different from Nigeria. I had to hide my identity. Throughout my school days, people didn’t know I am a Princess. It was only when Baba Alaafin comes to Los Angeles, California, and some of my American friends visited Baba Alaafin during the visit, that they got to find out that I am a Princess. After that, they kept asking me a lot of questions.

Which of your parents influenced you most?

I will say that both of my parents have influenced me in different ways. When I was younger, my dad did. But when I got into my 40s, my mom who is the First wife, influenced me more by teaching me more about love and patience.

Why did you leave Nigeria for America so early in life? 

Going to Los Angeles, California, USA, was not planned, it was destined. Apart from that, I do not have any other explanation.

You have the figure of a sports personality…

Oh, during my school days,  I was in the track team, I use to run long distance for my secondary school back then in America. I thought at a point that I will even make it to the Olympics then (laughs). Oh yes, I was good in sports.


What can you say attracts you most at the palace? 

The drums attract me most, when I hear the good sound of a drum, I immediately get dancing feet.

Do you dance? 

I am a good dancer, whenever Baba dances, I always challenge him (laughs) that’s how good I am.


Your present hobbies…

Due to my extremely tight schedule, I don’t go for long distance run anymore, nor do I do any track or field sport exercises. What I do these days is yoga. I do that to keep me fit.


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