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By H. Harris

The Nigerian diaspora is now world-wide, and whilst Yoruba shuttle, they take with them their non secular organisations. As a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim church in London for over thirty years, anthropologist Hermione Harris explores a global of prayer, spirit ownership, and divination via desires and visions.

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For “home” continued to provide a critical cultural reference for Yoruba worker-students. Their rooms rarely acquired the sense of permanence reflected in some West Indian households, with their profusion of ornaments, doilies, and cabinets of china and glass. The attitude of Nigerian students toward their housing was pragmatic rather than aesthetic: insecure and inadequate accommodation in London was yet another “obstacle” to their return. Class, Race, and Identity For Yoruba students, their housing situation perfectly illustrates aspects of their predicament.

But the spontaneous fervor of their prayer and possession by the Holy Spirit proved too much for orthodox decorum, and in 1925 they were forced out of mainstream congregations into independency. A C&S member in London described to me how in the late 1920s his uncle returned from trading in Lagos as a Christian convert, and enthusiastically joined the local CMS. “He used to be standing up there saying visions to the people. He didn’t mean to split off, he meant to bring something in. ” The founders of the first Aladura church—that which was to become the Christ Apostolic—had already suffered the same treatment; another Aladura group, the Church of the Lord, was to follow.

14 The demands of life in London also upset the shared cultural expectations of a domestic relationship while offering no alternative model to emulate. This conflict was not necessarily apparent: I often saw men preparing the soup, the red-pepper stew that would be eaten with rice, yam flour, or other starch accompaniment throughout the week. Husbands would shop in the Brixton and Shepherd’s Bush markets and haggle over live chickens with the poultry dealers in Whitechapel; they would bathe and look after the children—chores that a man would rarely undertake in Nigeria.

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