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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African mythology and Africa's political impasse
Author:Okpewho, IsidoreISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Nigeria
Benin polity
folk tales
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3820529
Abstract:The old kingdom of Benin, which flourished from about the 10th century until it fell to British imperial forces by the end of the 19th, continues to hold a powerful sway on the imagination of many. From the late 15th century, when it struck commercial relationships with various European nations, the kingdom began a career of military campaigns whereby it brought many communities far and wide under political and economic control. Today, those communities that once lived in the pale of Benin's power still tell stories that show traces of their ingrained resentment of the kingdom. Since 1976, the author has been collecting tales from some of those communities - Igbo-speaking towns and villages west of the River Niger, in present-day Delta State of Nigeria - that formed the eastern sector of what has been fashionably called the Benin empire. Many of these tales are conventionally set in the old realm of Benin, though in some of them the political or other connection with the fabled menace of Benin is not so easily discernible. A close look at three stories, collected in October 1980, shows that they were in a fundamental sense driven by the determination of the narrative culture to assert itself against the historical claims of Benin over it. Bibliogr., notes, ref.