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stories and histories TRIBAL MARK IN YORÙBÁ LAND

The Yoruba tribal marks are scarifications which are specific identification and beautification marks designed on the face or body of the Yoruba people.

The tribal marks are part of the Yoruba culture and are usually inscribed on the body by burning or cutting of the skin during childhood.The primary function of the tribal marks is for identification of a person's tribe, family or patrilineal heritage.

Other secondary functions of the marks are symbols of beauty, Yoruba creativity and keeping mischievous children alive (ila Abiku).

This practice was popular among Yoruba people of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. During the trans-Atlantic slave trade, tribal identification and facial stripes became important.

Some repatriated slaves later reunited with their communities by looking at facial stripes.

But today, The use of tribal marks as a means of identification and beautification among the Yoruba tribe is no longer a norm and some Yoruba States have enacted certain laws that prohibit the use of the marks. Violators of the law are liable to fines or imprisonment (or both).

In Oyo State, for example, the prohibition of tribal marks is an integral part of the state Child Rights Law, a law that imposes a fine or one-month imprisonment or both for violation.

According to the law "No person shall tattoo or make a skin mark or cause any tattoo or skin mark to be made on a child".


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