Project Title: Animated Cartoon Series in The Medium of Yorùbá Language Based on Yorùbá Folktales about The Crafty Tortoise


Rationale for the Project

          Worried by the real possibility of the Yorùbá language becoming endangered as a result of the following reasons (among others):

  • literate speakers’ unwillingness to use it
  • its use in a restricted number of communicative domains
  • parents having a tendency for not passing it on to their children,

and determined to reverse the ugly situations noted above, CEYOLENG has been making concerted and ceaseless efforts to not only preserve the Yorùbá language as a vehicle of the Yorùbá people’s vital and living cultural heritage but also promote the use of the language in all domains of national life. One of such determined efforts is the production of animated cartoon series purely in the medium of Yorùbá language focusing on Yorùbá folktales about the crafty tortoise.


The Rationale for Choosing Folktales and Tortoise Stories for the Project

          Folktales serve as an important means of handing down Yorùbá traditions and customs from one generation to the next, and they are passed down by words of mouth. Today, however, the tradition of oral story-telling is vanishing in the Yorùbá society.

          Yorùbá children are no more accustomed to gathering together by moonlight to be told stories that centre on human and animal character types by the adults, and by that reducing to a great extent their connection to the cultural values of the Yorùbá people. The rationale for the choice of folktales for the Centre’s cartoon project, therefore, is to help connect the kids (as well as adults) to the cultural values of the Yorùbá people.

          Focus is on tortoise stories because the tortoise is an important and most recurring character type in Yorùbá folktales.


The Aims of the Yorùbá Cartoon Series

  • to strengthen the Yoruba language by bringing it to the generation of our children
  • to connect children and adults to the cultural values of the Yorùbá people (as noted in 2.2 above)
  • to preserve and increase the prestige of the Yorùbá language
  • to discourage the Yorùbá language prejudice harboured by those (for instance, the elite class) who are ashamed to use the Yorùbá language as a medium of expression particularly in formal settings or for official purposes, waking them up to the reality of an adage in Yorùbá which translates as “No one points to his father’s house with the left hand”.
  • to use electronic or digital technology as a strategy for preserving, protecting and promoting Yorùbá folktales as a vital form of the Yorùbá people’s indigenous knowledge system and living cultural heritage
  • to use animated cartoons as an instrument for Yorùbá language engineering and revitalization. Indeed, a revolutionary strategy in that regard.
  • to use animated cartoons as a useful audio-visual tool for teaching and learning Yorùbá language and culture at the (pre)primary and secondary levels of education, and as a second or a foreign language.


The Scope of the Project

          The Yorùbá folktales about the tortoise on which suitable storylines are to be prepared for the Centre’s cartoon project include (but not limited to) the following:

  1. Ìjàpá tan Erin wọ ìlú

          The tortoise used his wiles to get the Elephant to town

  1. Ìjà láàárín Ìjàpá àti Erin

          The fight between the Tortoise and the Elephant


  1. Ìjàpá ká eyín Erin

          The Tortoise yanked out the Elephant’s teeth


  1. Ìjàpá àti Bàbá Oníkàn

          The Tortoise and the Native Bitter Tomato Farmer


  1. Ìjàpá la ohùn Bọ́lá Ọmọ Ọba tó ya odi

          The Tortoise made Princess Bọla who was dumb able to speak


  1. Ìjàpá, Ẹkùn àti àwọn Ẹranko mìíràn

          The Tortoise, Leopard and other Animals


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ajá

          The Tortoise and the Dog


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ẹyẹlé

          The Tortoise and the Pigeon


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ọmọ Alákàrà

          The Tortoise and the Akara Hawker


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ìgbín

          The Tortoise and the Snail


  1. Ìjàpá àti àwọn Ọmọ Ìyá Mẹ́ta

          The Tortoise and Three Sibling Brothers


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ọmọkùnrin kan

          The Tortoise and a Boy


  1. Ìjàpá àti Òrìṣà Oko

          The Tortoise and the Goddess of Agriculture

  1. Ìjàpá àti Ọ̀bọ

          The Tortoise and the Monkey


  1. Ìjàpá àti Kerebùjé (Ọmọdébìnrin arẹwà)

          The Tortoise and Kerebuje (a beautiful girl)


  1. Ìjàpá kógun ja Odídẹrẹ́

          The Tortoise waged war against the Parrot


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ìgbín dẹ Ọṣọ́

          The Tortoise and the Snail set a Snare


  1. Ìjàpá àti Jìgo, Ọmọdékùnrin Ọdẹ

          The Tortoise and Jigo, the young Huntsman


  1. Ìjàpá àti Èrò ọjà

          The Tortoise and the Sellers and Buyers in the Market


  1. Ìjàpá fi Ọgbọ́n Ẹ̀wẹ́ fẹ́ Ọmọ Ọba Mẹ́ta

          The Tortoise used his Wiles to marry Three Princesses


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ìyá Ẹlẹ́pà

          The Tortoise and the Woman Selling Groundnuts


  1. Ìjàpá àti Àdàbà jọ dá oko kan

          The Tortoise and the Turtle Dove jointly made a farm


  1. Ìjàpá àti Àbọ̀n Ẹyìn

          The Tortoise and the Unripe Palm Fruit


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ajá lọ jí iṣu wà

         The Tortoise and the Dog went to steal some yams by digging them                up.


  1. Ìjàpá, Àgbẹ̀ àti àwọn Ọmọ rẹ̀

          The Tortoise, the Farmer and his Children

  1. Ìjàpá, Àgbò àti Igbá

          The Tortoise, the Ram and the Calabash


  1. Ìjàpá lọ jẹun lọ́dọ̀ Ìyá Ajá

          The Tortoise went to the Dog’s Mother’s place to eat


  1. Ìjàpá àti Alákàn

          The Tortoise and the Crab


  1. Ìjàpá, Ìgbín àti Abuké Ọṣìn

          The Tortoise, the Snail and the Ọṣin’s Hunchback


  1. Ìjàpá, Asín àti Ọ̀kẹ́rẹ́

          The Tortoise, Asin (Rat) and the Squirrel


  1. Ìjàpá àti Àáyá

          The Tortoise and the Red Colobus Monkey


  1. Ìjàpá jí omi pọn nínú kànga àwọn Ẹranko

          The Tortoise stealthily drew water from a well dug by the Animals


  1. Ìjàpá àti Àkèré

          The Tortoise and the Slender Edible Frog


  1. Ìjàpá àti Bàbá Adẹ́mu

          The Tortoise and the Palm wine Tapper


  1. Ìjàpá àti Ajá

          The Tortoise and the Dog


The Anticipated Impact of the Project

          It is anticipated that the Centre’s animated cartoon series will appeal to viewers of all ages worldwide. They will also make a huge impact on the teaching and learning of Yorùbá language not only at the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels of education but also as a second and a foreign language. Besides, they will act as a catalyst for changing the people’s negative mindset (especially the elite class) regarding the use of Yorùbá language in various communicative domains and specialized fields.