YORUBA CULTURE AT ODU’A MUSEUM IN COCOA HOUSE
Built in 1965 with proceeds gotten from cocoa, rubber and other cash crops, Cocoa House used to be the tallest building in West Africa. However, it now houses various offices with the crown of them all being the Odu’a Museum and Hall of Fame on the 23rd floor.
Located on Liebu Bypass, this is one of Ibadan’s most imposing structures and is even more special now because of the museum. Opened in 2013, this museum is used to promote and preserve the history, culture, heritage and ingenuity of the Yoruba people.
The museum is divided into two sections. From the main entrance, you can either choose to start with the artifacts section or the hall of fame.
Upon entry, it feels like you’ve stepped into a time machine and have been transported into the past. The walls are adorned with batik designs, mats are hung on the wall, there are carvings on the wooden door, dim lights with Yoruba music playing softly in the background.
One thing you notice when you step into the artifacts arena is that the design is a reproduction of a traditional Yoruba village stetting which is often described as nostalgic if you lived in that era.
Everything in the museum is reminiscent of an era far gone. Objects such as talking drums, weapons, textiles, money and more are on display. Some colonial products can also be seen such as gramophones, typewriters etc
One interesting thing that is also on display is the treaty that brought an end to the Yoruba war of the 19th century called ‘Proclamation of Peace at Kiriji-Mesin Battlefield’.
On the other side of the building, the hall of fame shows famous Yoruba people who have contributed in one way or the other to the country. From Funmilayo Ransome -Kuti to Obafemi Awolowo, their pictures are proudly hung for all to see.
A bonus for visiting the hall of fame is access to the ’24th’ floor which gives you a bird’s eye view of Ibadan.
Cocoa House is a must visit when in Ibadan as it is a triple threat. You see what was once the tallest building on this side of the continent, you visit the museum and you get great views of Ibadan town.
My only qualm with the place is that it only opens on weekdays which is inconvenient as most people are probably free to visit it on weekends.
At the end of it all, Odu’a museum does what it was created to do. Showcase and preserve the essence of Yoruba culture.
Things to note
- Access to cocoa house itself is free. However to visit the museum, it costs N200 per person and this is paid when you get to the museum entrance.
- Pictures are not allowed (I’ll never understand why this is so). These pictures were gotten after a bit of begging by Jenny (trust Nigerians to be nicer to the pleas of a foreigner).
- Ample parking is available as shoprite now shares the premises.
- Opening hours Mon – Fri, 10am -4pm
Have you ever visited Cocoa House/Odu’a Museum? What did you think?
If you haven’t, will you be adding it to your list of things to do while in Ibadan?
*Reviews are based on opinions and personal experiences, and may differ from person to person
*prices written are based on the time the visit was made and is subject to change by the owners.