Ooni of Ife: 'We will tell our stories ourselves'

The Ooni of Ife and his wife meet with Prince Charles in London as he attends the annual Commonwealth Day Reception on March 13 2017.

Story highlights

  • The Ooni of Ife is a traditional king ruling over the city of Ife in Nigeria
  • The monarch is the spiritual leader and the most influential traditional monarch among the Yoruba people of Nigeria's southwest
  • He also met with Prince Charles privately

(CNN)The hushed and reflective mood at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton was transformed on March 20, as the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, stopped by for an official visit.

During the visit the 51st Ooni took the opportunity to speak to curators about various artifacts, including an ancient Yoruba crown, that have been donated to the museum with little or no accompanying information.
    "We are here to connect the dots," His Majesty told CNN. "Because so many of our artifacts and antiquities that have been taken for many centuries can't be properly interpreted."
      "We are the custodians of culture, heritage and tradition, we took the baton from our ancestors, and we know more about those antiquities that anyone else."
      The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi sits during his coronation at Ile-Ife, southwestern Nigeria, on December 7, 2015.

      'We will tell our story ourselves'

      Sustained colonization and the international slave trade have resulted in artifacts from Nigeria ending up all over the world. In many cases these priceless items are kept in homes and museums, completely out of their original context.
        His Majesty offered a potential solution to this problem: "We want to come up with an initiative whereby every museum we've gone to in the world will loan our artifacts and antiquities, although they belong to us!"
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