Baba Medahochi Kofi Omowale Zannu Mogbarimu Ajinaku El
Baba Medahochi Kofi Omowale Zannu Sangodele Mogbarimu Ajinaku El
By Ason Gbehanzin Ajinaku
Baba Medahochi is and has always been an Afrikan nationalist. Years before he would eventually immerse himself into Afrikan religious systems, Baba had already internalized Pan Afrikanism as a way of life. It was from his intense passion for Afrikan people to have political, cultural and social sovereignty that his desire to resurrect Afrikan shrines began.
In the late 1950s in downtown Gary, Indiana while filled with frustration over the condition of Afrikan people, Baba contemplated suicide by jumping in front of an oncoming city bus. However, before he could do this, a conversation started in his mind. Something asked him what did he want. He then replied, a sovereign Afrikan world. Next he was asked what would their religion be. He responded, that he did not know, but would dedicate his life to finding it, whatever it was. It was at this moment that his search for Afrikan religion began.
Baba, along with his wife Modupe would search everywhere for information on Afrikan theology. At this time, there were not many publications that dealt with Afrikan religion seriously. Whatever they could find, they would absorb and try to implement. They created many rituals this way.
Despite not having a formal teacher for a few years, Baba’s knowledge and power in Afrikan traditions grew tremendously. He functioned as a priest where there had never been an Afrikan priest before. In the mid sixties, he and his family also established the Omowale cultural center in Gary, Indiana, to facilitate the needs of Black people looking for their Afrikan identity.
During this time, Baba Medahochi also met Oba Oseijiman Adefunmi and became his student. Also he met and worked with Nana Yao Opare Dinizulu. Later on Baba Medahochi would meet Saul Hernandez. He was an Afrikan from Cuba who was a priest in the Kongo tradition.
In 1969 Baba Medahochi was fully initiated into Palo Mayombe. The following year Baba was initiated to Sango Kawo Kabiesi. Baba Medahochi was the second Afrikan born in America that was initiated by an Afrikan born in America. On the night that he was initiated, there was one of the biggest thunderstorms in South Carolina history. Sango received him this way.
It is very important to note that before these rituals were done, Baba’s reputation as a leader and teacher was already well established. Baba Oseijiman gave him sanction years earlier. Baba Medahochi would continue to teach hundreds of Afrikans born in America the ways of our ancestors. He has been the father of many organizations dedicated to the promotion of Pan Afrikan spirituality. Some of those were Ile Omo Sango, The House of Mina, the Pan Afrikan Spiritual Temple, Ile Rironti-Mimo, Ijo Orunmila, Adulawo Ninu Amerika, The Akoda Institute and most recently the Nu Afrikan Vodun Spiritual Temple.
In the 70s Baba was initiated into Afa, which is the Eve tradition of Ifa. The ancestors led Baba to uncover the shrines and secret knowledge of many other Afrikan traditions. Baba would learn the secrets of the Komo society and introduce the worship of Bafaaro and Muso Koroni in North America. He is responsible for bringing deep knowledge of Ori and the Iyami to the forefront of Orisa worship in North America. In 1996 he was inducted into the Ogboni Iledi Akesan. In 2001 he was formally initiated into the worship of his Vodun Racine Grandbwa Sile/Togbui Nyibla by Hungan Paulin Marseille. A few years later, in North Carolina Baba was pronounced the Da of the Dahomian Vodun rites of North America.
It is impossible to measure the level of Baba Medahochi’s influence in Afrikan spirituality. The lives he touched have touched the lives of countless more. For this we are eternally grateful to him. Throughout his life’s work, his understanding has always been that religion is the deification of someone’s nationalism and religion is only relevant if it deifies your nationalism. Ajinaku Ayikungba Ahosu Lan le Bi.