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Who is Obafemi?

Chief Oluwo Obafemi Ifayemi Epega is a world-renowned Babalawo and the founder of O.I.D.S.I. (Obafemi Institute for the Divine & Universal Study of Ifa).  He was initiated as a priest of Obatala in January 2004, and received his Tefa in February 2005 from Dr. Afolabi Epega at the Epega Compound in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. He has been a diligent scholar and active practitioner of Ifa for more than a decade. Baba Femi strongly believes that the restoration and preservation of African divine sciences and traditions can restore psychological balance and personal empowerment to all people.

Born Stephen Benjamin Clark Mackey on December 30, 1957 in Houston, TX, Chief Oluwo Obafemi Ifayemi Epega is the fifth child of Vivian and Fletcher Mackey, Sr., and the father of four boys: Stephen Jr., Corey, Sheldon and Jordan. His path to spiritual insight began in the summer of 1974 when he was sent to spend the summer with his uncle, a prominent minister on the south side of Chicago, who was characterized by Stephen as being both, dogmatic and “old school”. During that time, Stephen became exceptionally familiar with the Bible. He credits his uncle for inadvertently teaching him the illusive nature of the mainstream church.

Stephen played basketball all throughout his high school and college years. After graduating from McMurry University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education and a minor in Political Science, he travelled to Europe to embark upon a professional basketball career. Shortly after returning to the U.S., he began working at the Grocers Supply Company and married his first wife, whom he had met his senior year in college, and who later became the mother of his three oldest sons. In 1989 their marriage ended and Stephen began a new career with The Houston Chronicle (The Hearst Corporation). He was eventually promoted to management, and in 1995 he married his second wife. However, in 2001 Stephen and his second wife decided to part ways.

In 1993, Baba Femi was asked to leave the church. He then began exploring the video sermons of various African-centered speakers and historians, developing ties with the Pan-African community and the brothers and ministers of Ta-Seti African Historical Society, and exploring the extensional classroom teachings of Dr. Yosef Ben-Jochannan. Soon thereafter, Baba Femi was introduced to Ifa. It was during this time that he became aware of the possibility that his position at The Houston Chronicle could potentially be terminated. He approached the ministers of Ta-Seti in search of guidance and was advised that he would have to “back door” Kemet to obtain the type of assistance that he needed. Baba Femi then asked how he should proceed, and their reply was, “You must use Ifa”. Fortunately, it was this life-altering situation that served as the catalyst for the initial encounter of he and his late Godfather, Dr. Afolabi Epega.

Baba Femi is the author of the book entitled “Who is Sambo?”, and has established a substantial YouTube presence via Ifa-related lectures and classes over the years. As a lecturer, teacher and healer, Baba Femi has lectured at several universities on the topic of Ifa, as well as facilitated Ifa-related workshops in Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Europe and the Caribbean. He is proud to be an African American man, native Houstonian, descendant of slaves, priest of Ifa, teacher, author, mentor, son, a friend to many, a loving husband, and most importantly, an honorable father.