Comparing Diverse African Cultures
Throughout every culture there are many similar customs, however it is the personal experiences that make the cultures different and diverse. In the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, the main character Okonkwo lives in Umofia until the tribe exiles him for accidentally killing a man in his village. After seven years the people of his village allow him to return to Umofia, among his return there are white missionaries in his village that have come to introduce christianity to his people. Okonkwo quickly realizes that his village is now unrecognizable. The short story Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu by Abioseh Nicol, expresses the strong relationships between the living and the dead that are present in African culture. The religious beliefs, social structures and attitudes toward the dead represented in Things Fall Apart are equally similar and different to the concepts present in the short story Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu.
Death is a natural part of the circle of life, and the way the dead are treated varies from culture to culture. In Life Is Sweet At Kumansenu, a grandmother (Bola) and her granddaughter (Asi) receive an unexpected visit from the spirit of their son/father Meji. Except it is unknown to Bola and Asi that their loved one is a spirit until after he leaves them. Mr. Addai announces Meji’s death to the village on Monday, “‘But I tell you, he was here on Friday and left Sunday morning,’ Bola said. ‘He couldn’t have died on Friday.’” (Abioseh 10). The spirit of Meji had come back to his family to say his final goodbyes and thank his mother for all she had done for him. In the African culture they worship and praise the dead, as the dead are a huge part of their lives and culture. Similarly in Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s people believe in spirits of the Nigerian tribes, also called the egwugwu. The people of Umofia both fear and respect the egwugwu, “A woman fled as soon as an egwugwu came in sight. And when,...
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