Author Profile: Ezeoforkire C. Ezenwa

Ezenwa argues that Africans will neither find freedom nor fulfillment by following the spiritual prescriptions of wrapped with imperialist designs presented by Arabs and Europeans. Instead, Africa and Africans must rediscover their past, reconcile with it, before they can forge an authentic vision of where they’re going. And he laments the damage done by Islam and Christianity to African culture and thought, which ironically was the source of the founding concepts of the two religions.

With little or no formal education, Ezenwa never found satisfaction in the narrative presented to him as a child in the Catholic Church. His inquiries led him to several esoteric orders, exposing him to kabbalism, theology, mysticism and ancient Eqyptian studies. With his perspectives influenced by these experiences, Ezenwa now saw his African, specifically Igbo traditions, in new light and new meaning. Coupled with his experience of the Igbo traditional society, he’s offered explanations on the rational and scientific basis for many of the traditional practices and beliefs that were misinterpreted and denigrated by outsiders.

Ezenwa pouring libation.

For decades he had been a resource person for academics and students seeking to understand Igbo culture and traditions, he’s also been a rallying point for Igbo cultural revival, whereby an increasing number of young people are now declaring their adherence to Igbo traditional religion. Almost all of Ezenwa’s writing has been aimed at making the case for a revival, a return to traditional practices and beliefs with the intention of interrogating them and discarding those found to be retrogressive, in place of total surrender to foreign religions that have repeatedly failed Africans beginning with the Arab invasion and culminating with European conquest.

The Plan of Creation in African Tradition (The Igbo Example)

From the time European nations conquered Africa, they went on to condemn everything about the cultures they subjugated. Their religion was dismissed as mere paganism and their way of life was abhorred as subhuman.

The effects of this so-called “civilising mission” are still being felt today and often manifestin Africans who hate their past and present, without the ability to discern where the rain began to beat them, as the writer Chinua Achebe said. In this book Nze Ezeoforkire C. Ezenwa argues, against conventional thinking to show that African traditional religion is both mystical and scientific, a belief system based on empirical experience and not given to blind faith.

And how does he go about it? By looking at the everyday ways the Igbo interact with their environment, the way they discern it and the way they name it. Ezenwa dwells extensively on the concept of Chi in Igbo, how it denotes God, the personal god and the day and the night at the same time, to show the vastness of the idea in Igbo cosmology, and how God is everything and everything is God.

Similarly, Ezenwa discusses in the book the prime place of the concept of duality in Igbo thought, the idea that when something stands something stands next to it, the contending and balancing between the positives and the negatives, the dialectics of nature.

The author is of the view that there’s need for the Igbo, and by extension other Africans, to return to these concepts which formed the essence if their societies, to reconnect and understand their missing links, in order to achieve true liberation from the oppressive confusion and despair offered by colonial religions.