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This chapter focuses on slave proverbs and has three goals. First, it seeks to validate proverbs as a source of data on slavery. Second, the chapter considers how slavery is memorialized across generations. Third, given that slave proverbs remain popular several decades after the legal abolition of slavery, it establishes the continued salience of slave origins and uses this to modify certain received ideas about the institution. The chapter provides an overview of slave-related conflicts in Yorubaland, and examines some slave proverbs and their (possible) origins, use, and meaning. Owe (proverb) is a Yoruba oral literal and figurative tradition whose full meaning is subject to translation and unpacking. Slavery in Yorubaland played an important role in Yoruba state formation and administration. Slaves functioned as administrators in the Oyo kingdom and were a powerful force in supervising provincial chiefs.
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