“‘Orunile,’ heaven is home:” Afrolatino diasporas in Africa and the *Americas

Solimar Otero, University of Pennsylvania


This manuscript explored the movement and creation of Diasporas. The long historical engagement of language, religion, and material cultures between Africa and the Americas fostered the emergence of groups of Afrolatinos that identify with many coasts along the African Diaspora. Two salient examples of cross-Diasporic communities were the Lagosians living in Havana, Cuba, and the Aguda residing in Lagos, Nigeria. Many Lagosian Yoruba had settled in Havana, Cuba in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries, either as slaves or manumitted workers. These individuals labored, bought their freedom, and built their fortunes in Havana. Many were escorted back to Lagos, Nigeria by British Anti-Slavery forces, stopping in London and Sierra Leone along the way. Upon their return to Lagos, Lagosian-Cubans intermarried with Brazilian Nagos, another group of repatriated Yoruba from the Americas, Bahia, Brazil. The Aguda community that ensued distinguished itself from other Yoruba in Lagos by actively nurturing the social markers of their ‘Yoruba-Cuban-Brazilian,’ Afrolatino heritage. Afrolatino communities, whether in Nigeria, Cuba, or Brazil, emphasized cultural differentiation as a means of connecting with ‘home.’ Though Afro-Atlantic communities spoke in the idiom of locality, it was the transnational, polylingual nature of these conversations that allowed for their distinct modes of perpetuation and reinvention.

Subject Area

Folklore|Latin American history|African history

Recommended Citation

Otero, Solimar, "“‘Orunile,’ heaven is home:” Afrolatino diasporas in Africa and the *Americas" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3043930.