Africa is chockfull of traditions that many do ɴᴏᴛ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀsᴛᴀɴᴅ ᴏʀ ᴀᴘᴘʀᴏᴠᴇ ᴏꜰ. Nonetheless, it is imperative that we all become knowledgeable about practices that differ from those which we engage in. The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion. It is often celebrated and lauded. In the Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀ ᴛʀɪʙᴇ, which originates in Nɪɢᴇʀɪᴀ, ᴛᴡɪɴ ʙɪʀᴛʜs ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ʜɪɢʜ ᴏᴄᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴄ.
Margaretha is a woman of the Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀ ᴛʀɪʙᴇ, from Africa. The birth of a baby is a joyous occasion. It is often celebrated and lauded. In the Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀ ᴛʀɪʙᴇ, which originates in Nɪɢᴇʀɪᴀ, ᴛᴡɪɴ ʙɪʀᴛʜs ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ʜɪɢʜ ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴄᴇ. Twins, the birth of two offspring from the same ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ, is a ʀᴇʟᴀᴛɪᴠᴇʟʏ ᴜɴᴄᴏᴍᴍᴏɴ ᴘʜᴇɴᴏᴍᴇɴᴏɴ, and as such, twins are often regarded as special. Worldwide, the birth rate of twins varies by region and country. Latin America and Southeast Asia have the lowest rates, with only about 9 sets of twins per every 1,000 births.
In Europe, the figure is about 16 twins for every 1,000 births, and in the United States, it is about 33 for every 1,000 births. And in central Africa, that number rises to around 18 to 30 sets of twins for every 1,000 births. However, the Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀ people of southwest Nɪɢᴇʀɪᴀ boast the highest number of twin births in the world, with about 50 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births.
And in Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀʟᴀɴᴅ, one town in particular appears to take the prize for the highest number of ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜs in the world. Iɢʙᴏ Oʀᴀ, a sleepy agrarian town 80 kilometers from Lagos, is easily the twin capital of the world: unconfirmed estimates from the town say it boasts a mind-blowing 158 sets of twins for every 1,000 live births.
At the entrance to the town, visitors are welcomed with a large plinth, which proudly celebrates its reputation as “ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴀɴᴅ ᴏꜰ ᴛᴡɪɴs.” While there is no empirical reason for the high ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴄᴇ of twin births in the town, around Yᴏʀᴜʙᴀʟᴀɴᴅ, ꜰᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ ᴇxᴘᴇʀᴛs say a possible explanation for the high ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴄᴇ of ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜs in the area could lie in the ᴄᴏɴsᴜᴍᴘᴛɪᴏɴ of a specific type of ʏᴀᴍ containing a ɴᴀᴛᴜʀᴀʟ ᴘʜʏᴛᴏᴇsᴛʀᴏɢᴇɴ, which is thought to sᴛɪᴍᴜʟᴀᴛᴇ a woman’s ᴏᴠᴀʀɪᴇs ᴛᴏ ʀᴇʟᴇᴀsᴇ ᴇɢɢs from each side.
The locals and residents of Iɢʙᴏ Oʀᴀ, however, say the secret of their ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜs lie in their staple, which consists of the leaves of an okra plant and ʏᴀᴍ. In a 2013 interview, a community leader said: “We eat a lot of the okra leaf or Ilasa soup. We also eat a lot of ʏᴀᴍ and these diets influence ᴍᴜʟᴛɪᴘʟᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜs.”
Hardly could one get to a household at Iɢʙᴏ Oʀᴀ, Oyo State, without seeing a set of twins. The indigenes believe that a kind of okra leaves, locally known as ᴇᴡᴇ ɪʟᴀsᴀ, is capable of making women who use it ɢɪᴠᴇ ʙɪʀᴛʜ to twins. Taiwo Abiodun who visited the town writes on this phenomenon.