POLITICS AND THE
MYTH OF SANGO
STUDENTS OF WEST AFRICAN RELIGION may claim to be familiar with the myth of Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder.Having been popularized by many eminent scholars, 1 the details of the myth are usually taken for granted.In Hethersett's account in Iwe Kika Ekerin Li Ẹdẹ Yoruba, the most audacious distortion of the myth appears, either by design or by mistake.That the distortion lasted for so long in Yoruba society reveals the disturbing tenacity of the mental enslavement to the printed word of the lettered elite.Once this distortion appeared in print, it was taken as the gospel truth, and no one bothered to check further its veracity from the illiterate adherents of Sango worship.
In this investigation, we attempt to examine Hethersett's possible motives, if his distortion was deliberate.We also examine the possibilities of his making genuine mistakes either through ignorance or through indulging in folk etymology. We finally present correct details of the Sango myth, fruit of our current research.