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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religion, hybridity, and the construction of reality in postcolonial Africa
Author:Kenzo, Mabiala Justin-Robert
Periodical:Exchange: Bulletin of Third World Christian Literature
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:African culture
African identity
Abstract:That Africans are incurably religious has been one of the pillars on which current knowledge on Africa and the Africans is built. However, the accuracy of the claim is questionable on a number of fronts. This paper suggests that the real significance of the question is that it raises the issue of cultural determinism and indeterminism. Taking its cue from the postmodern and postcolonial criticism, the paper argues that cultures (or religions) are not ready-made packages that are passed on from one generation to another. Rather, cultures are transmitted through processes that can be described in terms of interactivity, negotiability, indeterminacy, fragmentation, and conflict. More importantly, humans are active participants in these processes. Based on this view of culture, the paper argues that the religious identity of Africans is a matter of constructed hybridity. An examination of Ben Okri's 'The Famished Road' further demonstrates that Africans are neither incurably religious nor incurably irreligious. Instead, they skillfully and creatively construct their identity borrowing insights from resources that are both endogenous and exogenous to Africa and their own tribal contexts. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]