Ojeh Society

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Colloquial name for society of Yoruba origin that emerged from among the so-called 'liberated Africans' [i.e. those rescued from slave ships by the Royal Navy] in Freetown and the villages of the Sierra Leone peninsula in the course of the 19th century. Its Yoruba name is Egungun which was corrupted by missionary writers to egugu or agoogoo. Ojeh or Oje, the name by which it is widely known today, is the term for a society group or lodge. In the 20th century it spread among groups of young migrant workers outside of the peninsula and Ojeh groups are now to be found widely distributed throughout Sierra Leone, for example among the Temne. Ojeh 'devils' or masked dancers perform in a brightly variegated costume of coloured cloth that covers the head and reaches down to the calves. The face of the masker is concealed behind a grill of netting.

  • J.W.Nunley, Moving with the Face of the Devil (Urbana/Chicago 1987)