The Kingdom of Oyotunji: An African Kingdom in South Carolina

South Carolina. That is one state filled with secessionists, is it not? You probably know all about Fort Sumter and those who fought against the United States in order to maintain their right own human beings as property, but what do you know about the Kingdom of Oyotunji? The Kingdom is located in South Carolina and, at least according to the inhabitants, they seceded from the union in the 1970’s. The Kingdom of Oyotunji is located near Sheldon, South Carolina and was founded by King Efuntola to become a little slice of Africa right here in the United States.

Whether or not the Kingdom of Oyotunji looks more like an authentic African city or a Hollywood version of the Dark Continent more at place in a Clark Gable movie of the 1930’s is up to the visitor. One thing is for sure; most people who arrive in Oyotunji will instantly feel quite familiar with the kingdom’s African motif. Those tribal drum sounds that drove the inhabitants away from its original location due to the complaints of some truly uncool South Carolinians are even better than the Africa music you hear as you travel around Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The streets of Oyotunji are dirt and the occasional goat can block your path. Terrific and terrifically large ritual statues punctuate this really quite bizarre step out of the NASCAR-dominant landscape of the first Confederate state to secede. There is something grandly ironic about an Africa kingdom located in the middle of a state filled with people who had rather fight against America than give up their African slaves.

The Kingdom of Oyotunji offers native African crafts and creations for tourists and visitors to buy, and if you go there be sure to pick up some of the voodoo spells. There is a dimension of African spirituality that lies at the heart of Oyotunji. The sacrificial altar that has witnessed its share of unfortunate animals that include goats and frogs speaks volumes to the centerpiece of why the kingdom was established in the first place. It has long been promised that anyone can worship whichever religion they so choose in America. Of course, we know with that right also some the responsibility of dealing with people like the followers of John McCain and Sarah Palin who suggest that you have the right to worship another religion as long as you dare not run for President (even if you actually do worship Christ, paradoxically). The rights and responsibilities inherent in dealing with the reality of the American promise of being allowed to worship as you wish and how it conflicts with the ideals is at the heart of the secession of the founders of the Kingdom of Oyotunji. What better way to avoid the atrocity of how America’s reality never seems to quite jibe with the principles upon which it was supposedly based than by setting up shop in American and seceding?
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  Just ask the descendents of those other people in South Carolina who decided to secede because they wish to retain their right to worship a god who had absolutely no problem with one human being owning another as property.