In this piece, I will attempt to explain who ESU is and his attributes. Esu was translated as Satan when Christianity was introduced to the African people.
It is important to know first that the English version of the Christian scripture was translated to Yoruba language by Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther.
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther was born in Osogun is Egba land which is now known Abeokuta, the western region of Nigeria. Egba is a tribe in Ogun state Nigeria. Ajayi was taken as slave by the Fulani people when he was around 12-13 years old. Ajayi was sold to the Portuguese but his ship was intercepted by anti-slavery British navy who freed all the slaves in Sierra Leone. He came in contact with the missionaries, tutored by them and he excelled to become a mission teacher himself.
Ajayi later came back to his homeland Egba where he started a new mission and later translated the English Bible to Yoruba language.
It is important to know that translation is a form of origination. The translator in ‘most’ cases uses discretion or intuition to originate new things or create new meaning for a certain word. Ajayi was not an exception as he substituted the Christian Satan for the Yoruba Esu.
Is the Yoruba Esu the same character as the Christian Satan? Join me as we try to correct this together!
Ajayi Crowther was the first person to also translate the English dictionary into Yoruba langauge. One of Esu’s ‘lineage appraisal’ is: bara ti o logun ika to so ile alarena dahoro – Bara who does not have evil medicine but turns his in-laws house into desolation. Ajayi translated ‘bara’ as god of mischief. So he thought this god called Esu is as mischievous as the Satan mentioned in the Bible.
Like the other divinities I discussed in my previous work, Esu is an intermediary between God and man. He is like the gate keeper. He is the direct link to God. Even other gods respect him. Esu is not an evil doer. In fact, Esu does not do evil!
Perhaps, we should ask, if Esu is the same character as the one described by the Christian, how come the Yoruba people name their children Esukemi, Esubunmi, Esubiyi, Esugbamila, Esuseunfunmi, Esumuyiwa and so on.
The Yoruba people build shrines for Esu and venerate him. Can we say they are worshiping and venerating the same Satan or Lucifer that rebelled against God?
Esu is the main gate between man and other gods. Esu takes sacrifices and he his in fact constantly given sacrifices by man. Esu has power to stop other gods from inflicting evils on man and he can at the same time ignore man if man (male and female) refuse to give him sacrifice. Esu, as a god, is not synonymous with evil. Esu monitors evils and keep them in check always. To cast away evil, certain percentage of the rites prescribed for the sacrifice must go to Esu before the rituals can be completed. It should be noted that by sacrifice, I do not mean human beings. I mean edible stuffs which are offered to Esu and some are shared among neighbors in what Yoruba called saara (the process of eating the stuffs together as group).
When we look at the Satan described in the Bible, he is a rebellious god. The Esu in Yoruba does not rebel and cannot rebel again olodumare (God). He has a function that no other god does and he does them since time immemorial and he is still performing his functions.
The Yoruba Esu does not resides in hell and cannot reside in hell because he does not do evil nor working against God to gain souls to himself.
We should not also forget that the translator was a 12 year old boy when he left Africa. You can imagine the little thing a 12 year old boy would know about customs and traditions. So we can understand where the misconception came from.
Today, we curse Esu and call it many names but the god is different from the one described by Christian. You can say they have similarities in terms of being tricky. But when you look at their functions, attributes and histories, you will agree that they are two different entities.
It would have been fine if Ajayi had translated Satan to Satani. Satani is more literal and okay than a total substitution. So we can address Satan in Yoruba language as Satani not Esu because they are two different gods.
You can do your research further but I assure you, you will find out more that you have been calling Esu wrongly.
I will like to read your responses and contributions.
Ref – steemit.com