Ifa and Christianity as Double- Edged Sword: Instrumentalising Faith in Isidore Okpewho's Call Me By My Rightful Name and Wole Soyinka's Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known
Christopher Anyokwu (University of Lagos)
Paper short abstract:
Misunderstandings about the religious persuasions of others constitute some of the reasons religion plays a significant role in people of different faith. This study examines "Ifa" a religio-metaphysical worldview and Christianity as dramatized in the works of Soyinka and Okpewho.
Paper long abstract:
ABSTRACT Topic: Ifa and Christianity as Double- Edged Sword: Instrumentalising Faith in Isidore Okpewho's Call Me By My Rightful Name and Wole Soyinka's Samarkand and Other Markets I Have Known Misunderstandings about the religious persuasions of others constitute some of the reasons religion plays a significant role in galvanizing peoples of common faith, and also, sadly, why it has been seized upon by bigots and fundamentalists to wreak havoc upon those who do not pray to their own "gods". In this study, the traditional Yoruba religion referred to as "Ifa" is a religio-metaphysical worldview which some scholars or religionists dismiss out of hand as "occultic", "heathenish"" and "demonic". The main embodiment of this autochthonous faith, called "Babalawo" (a multi-purpose figure) is often denigrated as a filthy or a fetishistic shaman. Owing, therefore, to the rejection and demonization of "Ifa" and its priest by Christians and Muslims alike, we have witnessed violence resulting in wanton loss of life and property and also spawning a situation of warring ethnicities and ideologies. However, Isidore Okpewho in his novel, Call Me By My Rightful Name, dramatizes the fractious and unifying dynamics of Ifa and Christianity as shaping force in the existential odyssey of the novel's protagonist.Wole Soyinka's Samarkard and Other Markets I Have Known thematizes the same divisive and unifying elements of religion. Accordingly, we intend to mirror and use these social and fictional experience as model to explore the use and abuse of faith. Keywords: Religion, Social Experience, Literature and Peace .