top of page

The Lowdown Hub

Do you know there was a culture where someone had to be buried with a late king?

Let’s walk through an ancient culture in Nigeria, a country in the western part of Africa.

The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria is known for its high regard for culture and royalty. In ancient times, the Yoruba Kings were considered lords over everything. He was greatly feared and had the power to compel people to do whatever he wanted. The fate of the people lies in their King’s hands. He could take as many wives as possible and even when a king dies, highly spiritual sacrifices are made before he can be buried. Some are buried with the king upon his demise - the Abobaku culture.

Abobaku is an ancient exalted death trap position. “Abobaku” literally means ‘one who dies with a king’. This means that when the King dies, the Abobaku usually gets buried with the king.

The Abobaku culture was prominent in the old Oyo Empire. This position came with exciting benefits like wining and dining with the king. Some live a luxurious life with the king but the reward of their enjoyment was that they are to be buried alongside an incumbent king when he dies.

This culture was based on the belief that the Abobaku helps to strengthen loyalty and prevent betrayal. He is usually the King’s right-hand man and he is expected to protect the King to avoid his own death as well.

The life and death of the Abobaku title holder solely depended on the King’s survival. Despite the clause attached to that position, so many people used to contest for it. This was because the Abobaku title came with so many benefits.

The Abobaku worked closely with the king and enjoyed nearly all that the king enjoys. It is believed that since he will die with the king, he should also enjoy his life to the fullest as long as the king is alive.

However, this Abobaku culture was abolished in 1859.