Title: The Sopona Pandemic among the Yoruba of West Africa: Local Interpretations and Colonial Interventions
Authors: Oladiti, Abiodun Akeem
Ajibade, Samuel Idowu
Oyewale, Gbemisola Mary
Citation: West Bohemian Historical Review. 2022, no. 2, p. 249-262.
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
Document type: článek
URI: http://wbhr.cz/images/issues/WBHR_2022_2.pdf
ISSN: 1804-5480
Keywords: koloniální intervence;pandemie;neštovice;západní Afrika;Yoruba
Keywords in different language: colonial intervention;pandemia;smallpox;West Africa;Yoruba
Abstract in different language: Smallpox, also known as (Sopona), is one of the epidemic plagues experienced among the Yoruba people of West Africa especially in Abeokuta and Lagos under colonial rule. The aim of this study is to examine the Yoruba perception of the management of smallpox infection, socio-cultural beliefs about it and the colonial interventions in the management of the disease condition in Africa. This is necessary to explain the construction of indigenous knowledge via indigenous traditional science related to the history of medicine in Nigeria under colonialism. There is paucity of data and detailed historical narratives on the local interpretations and colonial interventions of the sopona pandemic and the procedures adopted in the containment of the spread of the disease as well as the colonial response to the disease outbreak. The interconnectivity between the pandemic and colonial rule shows that the disease condition was more difficult to control than officials expected, thereby increasing the transmission rate and spreading the epidemic among the population. Over the period, large numbers of people among the natives and colonial invaders died from the disease, causing widespread fear to the colonial authorities. The colonial officials in Nigeria were not equipped to handle the outbreak, given their uncertain knowledge of its etiology and lack of vaccination or drug for its treatment in Western medical science during the colonial period. The study relied on both primary and secondary sources. Primary data included oral interviews, newspaper reports and archival materials. Secondary sources were obtained from university libraries and research institutes across Nigeria. Data were historically analysed from the outbreak of smallpox to the period modern vaccination was introduced in 20th Century. The innovativeness of this study is to articulate how local people handled and interpreted disease conditions with their socio-cultural system and beliefs in contrast to the colonial perspectives and interventions in cases of illness and health among the Yoruba people of Africa in the colonial era. It is, therefore, against this background that this study provides a historical analysis of the Sopona pandemic among the Yoruba people of West Africa in colonial times.
Rights: © Západočeská univerzita v Plzni
Appears in Collections:Číslo 2 (2022)
Číslo 2 (2022)

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