(The Igbo Example)
By Nze Ezeoforkire C. Ezenwa
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 manifest in 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.