OMNES : The Journal of multicultural society
[ Article ]
OMNES: The Journal of Multicultural Society - Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.51-72
ISSN: 2093-5498 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Jul 2020
Received 10 Jan 2020 Revised 01 May 2020 Accepted 01 Jul 2020

An Existentialist Reconciliation of African (Yoruba) Cultural Canons and Sustainable Development Goals

Abidemi Olufemi Adebayo
Redeemer’s University, Nigeria


The paper examines how the African (Yoruba) cultural canons and belief system are in collision with the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The collision has been born out of the non-lineal temporal divergence in the emergence of the Yoruba cultural beliefs and the conception of the Sustainable Development Goals. The inconsistencies have been explored through an existentialist lens as the theoretical guide for this paper. This is because existentialism exalts the individual will in an irrational world. Among the Yoruba, there are beliefs and practices that offend individual Goals of the SDGs. For example, the current s’ogbedi’gboro (urbanization for modernization) philosophy needs be discarded as it offends Goal 13-Climate Actions as a result of inordinate deforestation. In the same vein, the okobeerel’oyegomina (the governor deserves a large fleet of cars as convoy) philosophy and the ololajulo needs be jettisoned as itwidens economic inequality in Africa. This is pertinent because it is in contravention of SDGs Goal 10-Reduced Inequalities. The Yoruba attitude to female children, judicial philosophy, subservient disposition to the West, and the aboriginal knowledge system are not in consonance with the spirit of the overall principles of the SDGs. To this end, the Yoruba (African) native belief system as well as cultural practices need be modified in order that the essence of the SDGs will be accomplished in the Yoruba region and in the entirety of Africa.


Yoruba beliefs, SDGs, Africa, existentialism, United Nations, west


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Biographical Note

Adebayo Abidemi Olufemi (Ph.D.) teaches African Literature in the Department of English, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria. His areas of interest include African Culture, Popular Culture in Digital Literature, and Literary Stylistics. E-mail: