A YORUBA TALE OF MARRIAGE, MAGIC, MISOGYNY AND LOVE

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

In this paper I approach the efflorescence of witchcraft-sorcery concerns in post-colonial Africa through the personal experiences of Délé, a Nigerian friend and research assistant. At one level, the witchcraft-sorcery incidents offer illustrations of the rural-urban conflict situations that the Comaroffs and other Africanists have written about in recent years. Yet at another level I read Délé's texts for what they are, the chronicles of a real-life drama in which he plays the tragic hero's role. As a storyteller, Délé recalls events in which the actors' virtues, vices, and emotions constantly mirror our own experiences of what people can turn out to be as they progress through life. In Délé's case I perceive such a progression in his shift from a virtue-centred Catholic upbringing in rural Ìséyìn to a more prayer/power-centred aládúrà-Pentecostalism in Lagos, when recently the spectres of mágùn sorcery and witchcraft began to close in on his marriage, livelihood and health. Délé's tale compels me, as a friend and correspondent with a different view of the world, to reconsider the morally universalising aspects of what it entails to be human. I attempt this from the triple perspective of Délé's ancestral roots in traditional Yoruba religion, his attraction towards aládúrà-Pentecostalism in a failed nation-state, and his nostalgia for the missionary Catholicism through which our friendship first developed.

A YORUBA TALE OF MARRIAGE, MAGIC, MISOGYNY AND LOVE

in Journal of Religion in Africa

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