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PROJECT TOPIC- CONCEPT AND ESSENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN RELATION TO AFRICAN WORLDVIEW, A STUDY OF CLARK’S OZIDI AND SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

PROJECT TOPIC- CONCEPT AND ESSENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN RELATION TO AFRICAN WORLDVIEW, A STUDY OF CLARK’S OZIDI AND SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

 

ABSTRACT

African cosmology and worldview are sine qua non to the people of Africa, their ways of life, their ethos, aspirations, essence and their relationship with the supernatural powers.
Some of the early African early dramatists have attempted to document this essential aspect of the lives of the African people. Prominent among these dramatists are Wole Soyinka and J.P. Clark of Nigeria. Death and the King’s Horseman is based on Yoruba worldview, that when the King dies, his horseman must go together with him. It is based on Yoruba concept of life after death. According to Soyinka, “life continues in its manifestation the unborn, the baby, adulthood, old age and death and at death, there is reincarnation.” (45)
J.P. Clark an Izon playwright tries to portray the Izon myth and thaumaturgy in his first of all, the Ozidi Saga, which later metamorphosed Into Ozidi play. The issue of African metaphysics is largely documented in the play. The objective of this dissertation is to project the essence of African cosmology and worldview as creatively portrayed by Wole Soyinka and John P. Clark in their plays, Death and the King’s Horseman and Ozidi. The dissertation is anchored on mythological theory based on K.A. Armstrong and Azouzu’s view of the theory.

 

CHAPTER ONE
GENERAL INTRODUCTION

For generations, African beliefs and practices have been located in the intersection between the natural world and the supernatural world. Despite the impacts of colonialism and even in the contemporary test of modernization, the complex interplay between these worlds have not been reduced. The interaction between religion and indeed traditional beliefs, as a facet of culture has been long a subject matter in anthropology. This relationship brings these aspects of African beliefs as in witchcraft, healing, re-incarnation, superhuman or extra-ordinary prowess among others, together in such a complex manner.
This therefore has made it difficult to attempt to understand the dynamics of African belief in the supernatural. Evidently, the existing ethnographic instances of African communities in different parts of the continent have a somewhat near, if not a total semblance.
In order to comprehend the interaction between these numerous cultural concepts, it is necessary to understand the general cosmological view of the African as evidenced in the world. In these stage art world, just like anyone else on the continent, it is believed that humans have the ability to control both the natural and supernatural worlds and thus become the centres around which natural and supernatural forces interact. These interactions are evidenced in witchcraftcy, sorcery, talisman and others, as they move along symbolic interpretation given.
Among the Africans , for instance, witches are regarded as opponents to the natural order of harmonious community life. As such, any unnatural misfortunes that befall a community raises suspicious of witchcraft. The suspected witch is hunted out and may be killed by members of the community. Similarly, a supernatural talisman who wiered enormous prowess could embark on a ruthless revenge mission in response to a grievous injury or harm caused to him. Deeply rooted in the cultural expressions of African cosmology and understanding of the essence and appreciation of the concept of African supernatural belief as reflected in selected African plays is quite pertinent. This can be done through a dissection of the literary works and reflection on the notable playwrights for such an appreciation.

PROJECT TOPIC- CONCEPT AND ESSENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN RELATION TO AFRICAN WORLDVIEW, A STUDY OF CLARK’S OZIDI AND SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

1.1 Statement of the Problem

In this interacting natural and supernatural world, humans occupy a central role. They are individuals around whom these two worlds interact and they have the ability to impose meaning through culture on these worlds. The implication is that forces in both the natural and supernatural worlds are in themselves neutral. To understand this interaction is imperative as some studies undertaken to believe this evolved from the angles of history or anthropology. This is not enough as it failed to mirror the interplay of the forces of supernatural, to this end, the study of selected African plays give more insight into understanding the concept and essence of supernatural belief to African worldview as explained in this study. Do the supernatural powers have any influence on the people of Afroca. This essence has been a devastating pressure in the mind of the researcher.

1.2 Research Questions

To obtain a reliable outcome, the researcher is guided by a number of research questions:
• What has been the general perception of African worldview?
• Have the play production approaches made any effective contributions?
• Has the contemporary African theatre Approach able to discern the concept of African cosmology?
• Does Wole Soyinka in his Death and The King’s Horseman able to explain the essence of Yoruba worldview?
• Can the contemporary African theatre artist sell African traditional theatre to the world at large?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

This study intends to achieve the following specific objectives:
• General nature of African worldview would have been appreciated.
• The existing techniques or approaches to theatre performance, would have been studied and analysed.
• Play production approaches to the African worldview would have been identified.
• The analyses of Ozidi and Death and the king’s Horseman as work of art would have been done.
• The establishment of the relationship between Ozidi and Death and the King’s Horseman with African cosmology would have been firmly established.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study is of significance in many ways: it will contribute to an understanding of cultural perspective of the supernatural, as rooted in the African belief system. Also, this study will be of immense benefits to scholars in the field of Theatre Arts.
Moreover, this sturdy will spark up further studies and research into the African belief system which supernatural is a high point of such African belief systems.
This is indeed a research that keeps Africans connected to their root.

PROJECT TOPIC- CONCEPT AND ESSENCE OF THE SUPERNATURAL IN RELATION TO AFRICAN WORLDVIEW, A STUDY OF CLARK’S OZIDI AND SOYINKA’S DEATH AND THE KING’S HORSEMAN

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