Dislocated subjects: a comparative discourse of the plights of pre-colonial Yoruba and contemporary Liberian refugees

Femi Adegbulu, Redeemer's University

In traditional Yoruba society, a refugee was a fleeing stranger in need of sanctuary, received and treated as a guest and integrated in the receiving society with opportunities of rising to positions of power and influence. Conversely, refugees of contemporary world are like sands scattered by hostile political winds. This study is concerned with demographic dislocation occasioned by various wars in Yorubaland. It examines striking distinctions between traditional Yoruba refugees and contemporary Liberian refugees. It observes that contemporary refugees lose everything including their identities. The paper investigates factors that facilitated effortless integration of pre-colonial Yoruba refugees into their host communities, where they exercised great latitude. It also explores why contemporary Liberian refugees suffer so great deprivation of their livelihood and their dignity. That is the kernel of this paper. Data for this study were basically primary (interviews with Liberian refugees and some Yoruba communities founded by refugees) and secondary sources.

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Presented in Poster Session 4