AFRICAN LITERATURE AND INDIGENOUS RELIGION: A STUDY OF WOLE SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN AND D.O. FAGUNWA’S ADIITU OLODUMARE

Femi Abodunrin

Abstract


Religious bigotry pervades our world today. As the 21st century oscillates between what Ramin Jahanbegloo (2015) has described as the politicisation of religion and its accompanying ideologisation, this study examines the vast array of literary creativity and indigenous religion/knowledge from an ecocritical viewpoint. By indigenous, it is meant those systems of knowledge and production of knowledge that are sometimes perceived as antithetical to the Western empirical systems. Encapsulated in myths and mythical wisdom, these indigenous values have at the centre of their philosophical presuppositions a symbiotic strategy that seeks to integrate man with nature. The study examines Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and D.O. Fagunwa’s Adiitu Olodumare [The Mysteries of God, Olu Obafemi (trans)], in particular, and the indigenous religious/knowledge system that they reiterate, in general, as distinct from the Western monotheistic system in ontological and metaphysical terms. Also, largely because the metaphysical presupposition of Yoruba religion is essentially performance poetry in motion, a carnivalesque perspective is employed to account for the folkloric and other elements of carnival often described as ‘the feast of time, the feast of becoming, change and renewal’.


Keywords


Indigenous knowledge/religion, Carnivalesque, Ecocriticism, Metaphysical presupposition, folklore

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