African Myth’s and Folktale : The Story of the Yoruba Goddess of River – Obba


Ọba [Obba], is the Nigerian and Santarian Goddess of the River, Daughter of Yemaja[Mother Goddess] ; She was Married to Sango [God of Thunder].

The thing is both her sisters were also married to Sango – Oya and Oshun. So a little bit of rivalry existed between the three of them.

According to Legend, Oba was the first wife and her children were set to be the heir to Sango’s kingdom. Sango however loved Oshun more than the rest of his wives because she was the best cook out of them all.

Oba on the other hand, desperate to please Sango once asked Oshun how she succeeded in making Sango so happy all the time. Oshun was not pleased with the idea of sharing her secret with Oba, afterall Oba was the first wife and only her children stood to gain anything from Sango’s kingdom.

Initially she point blank refused to tell Oba anything but after much begging and pleading, Oshun had an idea; She told Oba that the reason why Sango loved her so much was because she cut a piece of her ear, and added it to Sango’s food as part of the ingredients.

Oba was visibly pleased, she decided to out do Oshun by cutting her whole ear off instead of “a little piece”. The very next day she cut one ear off and put it in a well garnished food she had prepared, she was all smiles as she presented it to Sango encouraging him to eat as much as he could.

Not long after Sango started eating did he notice the piece of Ear floating in the Soup; His face burned with rage as he threw the pot of soup on the floor, he accused Oba of trying to poison him and he banished her from the house.  She cried so much, her heavy sobs began to turn into a river and the more she cried, the more she a pool of water began to form around her until she eventually turned into the River Oba which intersects with the Oṣun river at turbulent rapids, to show the rivalry between the two wives.  She is still worshipped there today.

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