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A picture showing the legend of ODUDUWA taken from our African mythology archives. Illustration by Chas Saunders. Read the story below or search the index for more African Gods, African Goddesses, heroes, demons and monsters!

Last-minute Creator of the Earth after his brother failed to show up.

His mighty brother OBATALA, the elite of the ORISHAS, was given the task of building the Earth. To get him started, their father OLORUN, the God of the Sky, gave him a handful of mud, a chain, a five-toed chicken — and detailed instructions.

But like so many builders throughout history, OBATALA failed to turn up at the appointed hour. Instead, he had gone to a party.

Seeing his chance for fame and glory, cheeky little brother ODUDUWA purloined the holy building materials and attempted to create the Earth himself. It was only DIY home improvement on a slightly larger scale, he thought.

Advised by a friendly chameleon, he lowered the chain over the edge of heaven, climbed down, and tossed the lump of mud into the primeval sea. The five-toed chicken hopped onto the mud and began scratching it in all directions.

Pretty soon there was a decent size landscape and thus was the Earth born. For an amateur builder it wasn't bad. Okay, it was a bit rough around the edges and some of the mountains weren't straight, but at least the job was done on schedule.

OLORUN was so pleased with his son that he promoted him to God of the Earth, while sodden older brother OBATALA sunk into disgrace and was forced to create humanity as punishment.

ODUDUWA later went down to Earth to rule over the Yoruba people, becoming their first king, ancestral folk hero and legendary home improvement expert.

Godnote: ODUDUWA is frequently confused with the female goddess ODUDUA but, so far as we can tell, they are utterly different deities.

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Article last updated on 20 April 2013
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.

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Godchecker's article on Oduduwa is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us and we'll try to fix it.

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Area or people : Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin
Location : Africa
Gender : Male
Type : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Good/Evil Rating : OKAY, not bad
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Alternative names : ODŁDUWĄ, ODUWA, ODUDU, ELEDUWA
Popularity index : 1145

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