On the defence of aspects of African traditional religion in some African poetry

Despite the African’s long exposure to and acceptance of foreign religions, he is yet tenacious of his traditional religious beliefs and practices, as is evident in the works of some African poets. The present author analyses a number of poems collected in the volume ‘Poems of Black Africa’ (1987), edited by Wole Soyinka. These poems deal, with the least touch of irony or cynicism, with some major aspects of African traditional religion: the cults of the ancestors, deities and God, animism, totemism, and transmigration. The article shows that the African’s acceptance of foreign religions does not imply a blind, prejudicial and thoughtless repudiation of indigenous customs and religion, but an enrichment, a widening of his spiritual awareness and ‘modus vivendi’, a reaching out to universal human culture and civilization. Bibliogr.

Title:On the defence of aspects of African traditional religion in some African poetry
Author:Lambo, John A.
Year:1995
Periodical:Journal of Asian and African Studies (Tokyo)
Issue:50
Pages:175-184
Language:English
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Abstract:Despite the African’s long exposure to and acceptance of foreign religions, he is yet tenacious of his traditional religious beliefs and practices, as is evident in the works of some African poets. The present author analyses a number of poems collected in the volume ‘Poems of Black Africa’ (1987), edited by Wole Soyinka. These poems deal, with the least touch of irony or cynicism, with some major aspects of African traditional religion: the cults of the ancestors, deities and God, animism, totemism, and transmigration. The article shows that the African’s acceptance of foreign religions does not imply a blind, prejudicial and thoughtless repudiation of indigenous customs and religion, but an enrichment, a widening of his spiritual awareness and ‘modus vivendi’, a reaching out to universal human culture and civilization. Bibliogr.