Category Archives: Awo Fasina Falade

Characteristics and Functions of Apetebi


Characteristics and Functions of Apetebi in the Ifa Orisa Community

An Apetebi is a role model for all women is ways she thinks, speaks and acts be it at home, in the Ifa community or even in the Society at large.  In other words she must have Iwa Pele, (good character) and be honest and have the ability to correct her errors and grow from them.

The most important duty of an Apetebi in the home is the day-to-day running of the home front.  An Apetebi is expected to be absolutely honest to her family (of procreation and orientation) be dedicated in all things she sets her mind on doing.  Take care of her husband whom Ifa enjoins her to take as  her first child, the children, brothers, and sisters as well as all those other people living in her home.

She is also expected to take care of the Ifa shrine and all the symbols of all the other Orisa in the house.  An Apetebi must, as a matter of course, know how to cook all Ifa meals as well as all the meals of all the other Orisa in the house.  As it is the duty of all Babalawos to know all the means of all Orisa, what each Orisa forbids and what the Orisa loves at any given time.  It is also the duty of all Apetebi to know how to prepare all Orisa meals and understand under what conditions such meals are to be prepared as well as know when a particular meal is not to be given to an Orisa.

An Apetebi is duty bound to work hard in order to command the trust and confidence of her family.  Her husband must be able to vouch for her character at all times.  She must be able to impact sound morals into her children and loved ones who are in close contact with her.   An Apetebi, needs to be reminded at all times that bringing up children and young ones in the proper way acceptable to the family and the society at large is the preserved responsibility of an Apetebi.

Irete-Otura says that “A childs mother is either the childs failure or its success”  Apetebi should always strive to be the success story of her children at all times, by guiding and leading them right and proper.

In the community, an Apetebi is expected to be the shining example of Otito, Ododo and Iwa-Pele (good character) for all other women.  Remember that in Eji-Ogbe, IFA says that “Whatever we think, Say or Do, all what we are looking for is character, Good Character” It is the duty of an Apetebi to infect all her friends and neighbors with her good character. She must be at the forefront of all good things happening in the community, or in the Ifa circle in which she belongs.

An Apetebi, needs to participate in programs which will bring development to her home, her community and to the whole society.  She must be an active member of at lease one group whose focus is the socio-economic and moral up liftmen of her immediate community.  If this is organized by members of her faith, the better for her.  She must be however be free to work with people of any faith with an open mind and understanding with out any discrimination what so ever.

A woman will be able to proudly call herself an Apetebi only when she had been able to satisfy all criteria listed above.  Anything short of this is not acceptable.  Any of us who has not attained this level needs to work hard and concerted effort to earn the respect, glory and honor that the name Apetebi concerns on lucky women.

Olotoye Fasina Falade  1998






tumblr_nbdc9iEMh81tfrwoho1_1280This article was written by Awo Fasina Falade in February 1995, and discussed on our Tuesday evening Class at the Ara Ifa Yourba Center in Leimert Park, hope you enjoy his point of view.

There have been many discussions about the Polygamous Society of the Yorubas’.  If we are to understand the Ancient Traditional Society, we must rebuild or reorientate our thinking and not to substitute the dictionary meaning of Polygamy.  We must also address the social conditioning of 400 years of separation from traditional values.

Firstly, this system isn’t a excuse for sexually promiscuous relationships, be it instigated by male or female.  It is a system of developing family.  Yoruba marriages traditionally, are the merging of families and not just the bringing together of a man and a woman.  This is the reason the screening and dowries are part of the ritual.  This is not the “Free and Easy” approach to marriage.  If, for example, ones’ brother passes, it’s the responsibility of the next man in the family to support or provide for the wife and children of the deceased to maintain the family structure.

In our Social conditioning, we view things on a worldly or physical level and cannot see the important of “Spiritually Caring”  for each other.  Conditioned men use the term, Polygamy, to sexual exploit the mothers without respecting them. We find that in Traditional Society it approved of the multiple wives system, provided it was did in the open and not to the detriment of others.  Without lies or deception.  Most relationships in this Society begin with deception and then we sit back and wonder why we cannot have an enduring or secure relationship.  Traditionally, there was also a multiple husband system, for a wife was free to leave her husband to take residence as the wife of another man, especially if the first husband failed to make her fruitful, but it had to be a clean break and in accordance with the custom which did not impose sanctions through the medium of high divorce fees or slander.  This is not to be judged as adultery, which is not accepted in the tradition, but the right of the person to receive truth in relationships.  Adultery is quite a different matter for this was a contract between God and Man, in which any individual culprit necessarily and automatically involved society-as the organic unit of which that individual is an integral part-in a crime against the gods and as such society became responsible and the punishment of the gods and as such society became responsible and the punishment of the gods would be meted out, not simply to the people involved, but to society as a whole.  Again it’s necessary to be up=front in ones relationships or face the consequences of your actions.

I don’t believe that we have grown to the point of accepting responsibilities in polygamous relationships.  Many who state that they are for this, get mid stream and reverse their direction.  We must be sincere at the beginning of the affair and not to have hidden motives for involvements, e.g., money, titles, alimony, or sex, etc.  If these are the motives they should be revealed in the beginning of the relationship and no deceit/lies. If the beginning is in this direction, not only will you have a lasting relationship, but be able to “have your cake and eat it to”, meaning that everything will be shared in harmony.  Fasina 2/95