Concepts of coloniality of knowledge, being and power

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CHAPTER TWO OGUN, THE GOD OF PEACE IN PETER OMOKO’S BATTLES OF PLEASURE

Introduction

The previous chapter provided a review of decolonial theory and an indication of the three pillars of the theory as a basis for analysis in this thesis as a whole. In it, I defined the concept of such theory and how it could be applied to identifying the position of Ogun as an African subject that has been misrepresented and misinterpreted in scholarly texts. In addition, the chapter mentioned the different modes of gaining knowledge that have influenced my choice in exploring the identity of Ogun. The definition of keywords that are peculiar to decolonial theory afforded an insight into how Ogun as an African subject has been a topic of misrepresentation. The chapter mapped out the subject Ogun and how the god of iron was applied to both religious and social texts by the Yoruba people. The selection of the term ‘Yoruba people’ was also justified, in order to avoid the confusion of making these people appear a monolithic whole. The critical exploration of existing scholarship and the development of my theoretical framework in that chapter will now inform the analysis of the selected primary texts in succeeding chapters.In this chapter, my critical analysis focuses on themes that are associated with the characteristics of Ogun as the Yoruba god of peace, which has been a subject of misinterpretation by those scholars mentioned in the previous chapter as having been influenced by modernity. The definition of modernity was linked to coloniality as a concept in the previous chapter. Coloniality visualises colonialism as still being in existence despite its supposed ending after the colonisers had departed. This chapter will delink its discussion from views that Ogun causes chaos and violence; a narrative will be created to analyse the reason behind such associations. The play that will be used for analysis in this chapter is Peter Omoko’s Battles of Pleasure. I rely heavily on decolonial theory from the said epistemic perspective to examine Ogun’s representation in the text. As mentioned in the previous chapter, such a perspective is a critical theoretical approach that initiates an epistemic break from Eurocentric knowledge, one which focuses on crisis rather than solutions. Coloniality has caused crisis by instilling the belief that Ogun is a chaotic god or that the god’s worship is barbaric, outdated and outmoded. Therefore, decolonial theory deals with foundational questions that are relevant to conditions which dictate the representation of Ogun as an African subject, for example, and the manner in which such an existing crisis can be resolved.

Coloniality: Ogun and Ogun festival

I will be employing the concept of the three pillars of coloniality: of power, of knowledge and of being, to analyse the constructions of Ogun as a god of peace, harvest, and protection in Battles of Pleasure. This chapter seeks to explore how Nigerian traditional drama is still being interpreted from a colonialist perspective which undermines its religious value. Battles of Pleasure highlights the representation of Ogun as a god of peace, harvest, and protection, as represented in songs and practices that are rendered to the deity during Ogun festivals. In this study, attention is drawn to the elements that depict the characteristics of Ogun in Battles of Pleasure. Examples of such elements include songs, dance and costumes, various combinations of which have resulted in assisting audiences to realise how Ogun is represented in the play. These elements, as argued in the previous chapter, have been subjugated by coloniality. The notion of what an African drama is called or how it is referred to has been dependent on how it has been visualised by African scholars who might have been influenced by modernity. I have in mind the definition of scholars such as Ruth Finnegan, cited in Echeruo (2013), who might have been influenced in this way, as evident in what she refers to as African drama in its entirety. She comments on the absence of ‘linguistic content, plot, represented interaction of several characters, specialised scenery’ (Echeruo, 2013:30). To Finnegan, African ritual performance lacks the development that could be compared to that of Greek dramas. In contrast to Finnegan’s view, Peter Omoko presents a play that explores the rich cultural performance of a festival associated with the god of harvest and productivity. Tanure Ojaide applauds Omoko’s effort in adapting the ‘rich performance genre of his people to create suspense, action, music, and poetic flamboyance’ (Ojaide, 2009:7). The elements examined by Ojaide differ from the view of Finnegan that African ritual festivals are not fully developed. Giving an example of Egungun (masquerade) performance as an African ritual performance,Echeruo opines that the music, dance, rhythmic gestures, drumming and verbal commentaries are elements that make masquerade performances satisfying to their audiences (Echeruo, 2013:30). It is pertinent to note that elements such as music, dance, gestures, and drums are also an important part of the alleged Greek drama (Campbell, 2010:67). Thus, to my knowledge, ritual performances in their very manifestation, as dramas, are a communal activity of adherents coming together to define their notion of god. These require, and involve, groups of audiences at all stages of their enactment. This participation might be through dance, songs,gestures, and verbal commentaries, which are elements that enable such performances to convey meaning for their audience. Concurring with Echeruo, I consider that drama flourishes best in a community which has satisfactorily transformed ritual into celebration and converted the mythic structure of action from the religious and priestly to the secular plane (Echeruo,2013:30). Echeruo’s view falters, however, by relying excessively on having African ritual performance trace its origin to Greek drama, rather than arguing that African ritual drama had developed as fully as the latter, though in different ways.

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RE-IMAGINING OGUN IN SELECTED NIGERIAN PLAYS: A DECOLONIAL READING
DECLARATION 
ABSTRACT
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION 
1.1 Locating Ogun in Yoruba mythology 
1.2 Decolonial epistemic perspective: a theoretical intervention
1.3 Principles of coloniality 
1.4 Why decoloniality to study Ogun?
1.5 Concepts of coloniality of knowledge, being and power
1.5.1 Coloniality of power
1.5.2 Coloniality of knowledge
1.5.3 Coloniality of being
1.6 Application and significance of the pillars
1.7 Relevance of Yoruba oriki (panegyric) to the understanding of Ogun 
1.8 Conclusion
2 OGUN, THE GOD OF PEACE IN PETER OMOKO’S BATTLES OF PLEASURE
2.1 Introduction 
2.2 Coloniality: Ogun and Ogun festival 
2.3 Battles of Pleasure: A Synopsis
2.4 Constructions of Ogun in Battles of Pleasure
2.4.1 Construction of Ogun as a god of harvest
2.4.2 Construction of Ogun as a god of peace
2.4.3 Ogun as a protector and a custodian of wisdom
2.5 Implied significance of coloniality in Battles of Pleasure 
2.6 Significance of festival materials and association with Ogun
2.7 Conclusion
3 OGUN, THE GOD OF JUSTICE IN SUNNIE ODODO’S HARD CHOICE 
3.1 Introduction 
3.2 Synopsis of Hard Choice
3.3 Critical scholarship on Hard Choice
3.4 Facekuerade: A decolonial perspective
3.5 Constructions of Ogun: A close analysis of Ogun Principles in Hard Choice
3.5.1 Oki as an embodiment of Ogun principle of order
3.5.2 Bashorun as an epitome of Ogun principles of justice
3.6 Ogun as a god of communal integration 
3.7 Conclusion
4 OGUN AS A REFORMER IN AHMED YERIMA’S MOJAGBE
4.1 Introduction 
4.2 Synopsis of Mojagbe
4.3 Existing scholarship on Mojagbe 
4.4 Constructions of Ogun in Mojagbe: A close analysis
4.4.1 Ogun as the god of social administration and reformation
4.4.2 Esan as an emblem of the Ogun principle of liberation
4.4.3 Balogun as an essence of Ogun’s principles of fearlessness
4.5 The cleansing: Motunrayo, an Ogun executioner of judgement 
4.6 Conclusion
5 OGUN, THE OBSTACLE REMOVER IN ALEX ROY-OMONI’S MORONTONU .
5.1 Introduction 
5.2 Synopsis of Morontonu 
5.3 Critical works on Morontonu 
5.4 Reimagination of Ogun in Morontonu
5.4.1 Ogun, the guardian and obstacle remover
5.4.2 Ogun as the helper of the poor
5.4.3 Ogun, the champion of labourers
5.5 Conclusion
6 CHAPTER SIX
CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY
PRIMARY SOURCES 
SECONDARY SOURCES

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