Mama with knowledge

Mama with knowledge

Juul adjusts microphone Sophie

Some misunderstandings have come to my attention. In a certain online encyclopedia false facts are promoted about Sophie Oluwole. Interestingly so, since she was the one uncovering false facts about an ancient Yoruba philosopher in the first place!

Listening directly to the source

During my visit to Sophie Oluwole in December 2017 we did an interview in her garden. I heard a noise through her microphone so I just ran over quickly to adjust it. The camera captured us while I was doing this. I was filming on my own, so it’s a rare moment, catching us together on video.

When they get it all wrong

Sophie Oluwole published on an ancient Yoruba philosopher Orunmila. She uncovered that for years he has wrongly been regarded as a deity of a pagan religion. Important ethnologists from the West had contributed to this by publishing flawed interpretations of traditional texts.

When Oluwole re-analysed some of the texts in their original language, Yoruba, she realised they were philosophical in nature. Full of critical thought and analyses, not religious prescriptions.

History seems to repeat itself on Wikipedia (and in other publications who take this website as a reliable source). But this time it considers Sophie Oluwole herself.

Wikipedia, not cool

According to Sophie Oluwole, a babalawo is like a male professor. She was suggesting a better Western equivalent term, rather than calling them ‘priests’.
Wikipedia states currently (January 2021) that Sophie Oluwole was also known as an iyanifa – the female equivalent of a babalawo. However this is not true!
She was not trained in the tradition of Ifa. As a University scholar she studied Ifa system and analysed its philosophical value.

Be careful! Don’t believe anything you read (online). Be critical of sources and careful around nuances, or else you end up contributing to the spread of false information yourself.


Binary Tales is a documentary project currently in development. In search of a different perspective filmmaker Juul van der Laan teams up with professor Sophie Oluwole to look into a pre-colonial philosophy. Read more here



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