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Oddi Yekun is Babalao, or Chief Ifa. He has been studying and practicing the teachings of Yuruba culture and religion for 30 years. Originally from Africa, notably Nigeria, Yuruba culture arrived in the 15th century in Cuba and the Caribbean through the slave trade.  To maintain it, the African tribes who landed in Cuba had to gradually adapt their worship to the practices of their Spanish and Catholic masters. It is this adaptation that gave birth to the syncretism on which “santeria” is based today. This is the main religion of Cuba, affecting approximately 70% of the population.

This exchange followed three previous meetings in Cuba, including the last with Zam Ebale, around an inter-religious dialogue between a Buddhist leader and an Ifa Santero leader. The objective of this mission to Brussels in October 2019 was to deepen an intercultural dialogue between Yuruba culture and the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin. The many sharings also revolved around the rituals of dancing, singing and drumming and nourished and inspired the creative process of Zam Ebale's new choreography: Born at the wrong time, in the wrong place, in the wrong body?

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