Oyotunji African Village – Seabrook, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Oyotunji African Village

Seabrook, South Carolina

North America's oldest authentic African Village. 


In the swamp lands of Sheldon, South Carolina, stands an authentic Yoruba village founded in the 1970s by Oba Oseijeman Adefunmi I. His followers came from New York, Chicago, and Indiana to establish the Kingdom of Oyotunji, now the oldest genuine African Village in North America, with the aim of reigniting African culture.

The fewer than 50 residents (a sharp decrease from a population that once numbered 200) of the village follow a mixture of the customs and traditions of Yoruba and Fon cultures, living in simple shacks, wearing traditional West African garments, and following religious counseling and training. The entire village is over 10 acres and holds assorted structures such as open-air shrines, courtyards, and a traditional bazaar that sells handmade artwork, jewelry, herbs, and clothing made by the residents.

King Adefunmi II lives in Afin, the royal palace with his wives and children. He still practices the tradition of ritual facial scarring that is customary for kings, but has given up certain traditions such as animal sacrifice.

Though the residents have come to rely on basic amenities such as electricity and indoor plumbing, they still try to live a simple as possible, relying on tourists to keep the economy afloat as well as the village priests who give lectures at local high schools, colleges, and universities.

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