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Abstract

In this novel of 1966, the critical Nigerian author T. M. Aluko examines the irrelevance of an indigenous Christian movement among his Yoruba ethnic fellows during the final decade of British imperial rule. He, like Chinua Achebe and other literary contemporaries, highlights the corruption rampant in colonial Nigeria and attributes much of the responsibility for this social ill to the colonised themselves. Aluko takes to task both leaders and adherents of the Alasotele religious community for failing to perceive and address the social sin around them. In his portrayal, they fix their gaze on the anticipated return of Jesus Christ rather than raising a prophetic voice against the evils of the present world, shouldering public responsibility and contributing to the transformtion of society. Despite his scathing indictment of their religious escapism and purported moral poverty, Aluko sheds light on the Alasoteles' relationship to the colonial Church of England, their indigenous African style of worship and the individual spirituality they evince within the context of their fellowhsip.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

For many years scholars of African religion have appreciated the potential insights that imaginative literature can provide into religious beliefs and practices in rapidly transforming societies, not least with regard to the confrontation of indigenous religions and missionary Christianity. Generally ignored, however, has been the fiction of Onuora Nzekzuu, a talented Ibo novelist who during the 1960s was hailed as one founder ofNigerian letters but who stood in the shadow of Chinua Achebe and a handful of other contemporary literary giants. The present article is a study of enduring commitment to Ibo spiritual and marital traditions and the critique of Roman Catholic missionary endeavours in Nzekwu's first novel, Wand of Noble Wood (1961). It is argued that in this pioneering treatment of these recurrent themes in African literature of that decade, Nzekwu vividly highlighted the quandary in which quasi- Westernised Nigerians found themselves as they sought to come to grips with the confluence of colonial and indigenous values and folkways on the eve of national independence in 1960. Nzekwu did not speak for all Ibo intellectuals of his generation; his portrayal of the weakness of Ibo commitment to the Roman Catholic Church is squarely contradicted by other literary observers, such as T Obinkaram Echewa.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

For many years scholars of African religion have appreciated the potential insights that imaginative literature can provide into religious beliefs and practices in rapidly transforming societies, not least with regard to the confrontation of indigenous religions and missionary Christianity. Generally ignored, however, has been the fiction of Onuora Nzekwu, a talented Ibo novelist who during the 1960s was hailed as one founder of Nigerian letters but who stood in the shadow of Chinua Achebe and a handful of other contemporary literary giants. The present article is a study of enduring commitment to Ibo spiritual and marital traditions and the critique of Roman Catholic missionary endeavours in Nzekwu's first novel, Wand of Noble Wood (1961). It is argued that in this pioneering treatment of these recurrent themes in African literature of that decade, Nzekwu vividly highlighted the quandary in which quasi-Westernised Nigerians found themselves as they sought to come to grips with the confluence of colonial and indigenous values and folkways on the eve of national independence in 1960. Nzekwu did not speak for all Ibo intellectuals of his generation; his portrayal of the weakness of Ibo commitment to the Roman Catholic Church is squarely contradicted by other literary observers, such as T Obinkaram Echewa.

In: Religion and Theology

Abstract

This is a discussion of Aniebo's differentiated portrayal in The journey within of urbanised characters in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt who have come under the influence of Christianity but have reacted in varying ways to the promise and challenge of this new religion. A close reading of Aniebo's work warns against simplistic explanations of Igbo religious change and simplistic generalisations about the spiritual state of city-dzuelling Igbos in a rapidly urbanising society where to a great extent by the 1940s traditional beliefs and practices had lost their grasp on young adults but by no means completely disappeared from their minds. The novel demonstrates the predicament of Igbos caught in a Westernising world, coping with divided spiritual loyalties, ethical dilemmas made more perplexing by the conflicting demands of modernising society whose values often diverged from those of male-dominated Igbo villages, and participation in an economy which on the surface appears to offer opportunity but keeps them in a state of squalor.

In: Religion and Theology