Africa under colonial rule, 1880-1935
Professor A. A. Boahen (Ghana)
In February 1976, in Nigeria, a man was arrested at a police checkpoint between Ibadan and Lagos. He was carrying two bags full of bronze sculptures and wood on suspicion of having stolen it affirmât well as the owner. Upon inquiry, the man telling the truth. Recently converted to Islam, he lived and worked in Ibadan at a community center. The effigies of deities carved Yoruba he was carrying had been brought in Ibadan, like many others, by migrant workers to satisfy the spiritual aspirations of these artisans, shopkeepers, civil servants and other migrant workers in their temporary residence. But the leader of the community, having converted to Islam, began in turn to convert their neighbors. Converted in his turn, the suspect heard himself served as symbols of their ancient faith were to disappear to allow the community center to become a dwelling worthy of the spiritual presence of Allah. Unable to consider destroying these objects, he resolved to return to his village, place of origin, where they have since been resettled.
This incident is a perfect example of the evolution of cultural forms and their concrete manifestation and at the same time, the survival or the renewal of cultural values from specific forms of domination, whether of a religious or more clearly social. What remained true in 1976 was even more common during this period particularly dramatic external domination of Africa, which saw the submission of an entire people, its social