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How late Austrian priestess, Wenger, preserved Osun-Osogbo groove

How late Austrian priestess, Wenger, preserved Osun-Osogbo groove
Written by Maritime First

… As Residents, devotees celebrate 600 year-old heritage in Osun***

Susanne Wenger, an Austrian popularly known as Adunni Olorisa, preserved the Osun-Osogbo Groove through depiction of scriptural images, turning it to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Wenger came to Nigeria in 1949 with her husband, UlliBeier, and settled in Osogbo in 1960 where she later became a priestess of the Yoruba deity before her death in 2009 at 93.

Wenger depicted the ideas and thoughts of the deity through sculptural images which are at the Osun-Osogbo Groove in Osogbo.

Speaking at a memorial lecture to celebrate the late Osun-Osogbo devotee, Mr Adekunle Fatai, the Curator and Osun-Osogbo Groove Manager, said Wenger lived and died for Osogboland.

Fatai said the Orisa deity accepted Wenger when she got to Osogbo and anointed her to champion its promotion and development.

“That we continue to celebrate the Osogbo Festival today and that the Osun Groove has been enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage list can be traceable to the endeavours of this cultural icon that we celebrate today,” he said

He said Wenger encouraged stakeholders to maintain and protect the Osun Groove by preventing poaching and encroachment as well as giving it authenticity and integrity.

The Baale of Gbodofon in Osogbo, Chief Jimoh Brimo, while giving a brief history of Wenger, said Oba Adenle Adisa accepted the groove’s priestess as his daughter when she came to Osogbo, adding that all subsequent traditional rulers gave her recognition.

Brimo said Wenger was given access and control of the Osun-Osogbo Groove by Adenle, adding that she dedicated her life to the transformation of the groove while preventing people from encroachment.

In the meantime, residents in the city of Osogbo, on Thursday, woke up to traditional songs and dancing as the ceremonies heralding the Osun -Osogbo festival started.

The Osun-Osogbo cultural group in a motorcade moved around the metropolis to herald the beginning of the Osun-Osogbo festival.

The road leading to the Ataoja’s palace at Oja-Oba also witnessed high vehicular movement as visitors including international tourists to the festival stopped by to pay homage to the traditional ruler, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, the Ataoja of Osogbo.

The major routes to the Osun groove were spotted with traditional decorations and pictorial images of the Osun goddess.

Sponsors of the Osun Osogbo festival including Seaman Schnapps and producers of Goldberg larger beer also dotted the palace premises and the routes to the groove with billboards, banners and posters welcoming visitors to the festival.

Speaking with one of the devotees, Bose Ifayewa, stated that she believed the event would go smoothly when the Arugba carries the calabash and heads to the Osun river.

Ifayewa said that the 2022 festival was unique, looking at the level of preparations.

Also, Mr Abass Irewole, another devotee, said that the festival was to further strengthen the relationship between the deities and humans.

Irewole also urged other devotees in Osun and other parts of the world to come out and celebrate the Arugba when she comes out to carry the calabash down to the Osun river.

The Osun Osogbo festival, which is a 600-year-old international heritage, holds annually with the Arugba sacrificing to the Osun River Goddess.


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Maritime First