Blessings on the river: Asheville and its sister city Osogbo, Nigeria, celebrate Osun (WITH VIDEOS)

With spiritual hands across the ocean, two cultures blessed their rivers and the goddess Osun, drawing Asheville a little closer to its sister city Osogbo, Nigeria, on Aug. 27, at Woodfin Riverside Park.

The event was sponsored by the Zamani Refuge African Culture Center, which was founded by Valeria Watson-Doost, otherwise known as Yeye Siju Osunyemi. It was Yeye Osunyemi who forged the Asheville-Osogbo sister city relationship.

The event featured Byron Ballard of the Asheville Mother Grove Temple, who set out Orisa altars. Yeye Osunyemi spoke about the river-goddess-blessing Osun festival in Nigeria, which takes place every August in the sacred groves of Osogbo and draws tens of thousands of believers and tourists.The festival honors and rekindles the mystical bonds between the river goddess and the people of Osogbo, who represent all of humanity, according to

The Asheville festival featured the Sahara Peace Choir and the Wild Bodema Drummers. Music was by Annelinde Metzner.

Three videos from osunpriestess capture the event as well as the Osun river grove and festivities in Osogbo, Nigeria.


The photos below are by Patty Levesque and Meg Kelly.


About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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