Spiritual Journey and Primordial Self: Requisite Actions for Individual and National Identity in Christopher Okigbo’s Poetry

Open access


European nations colonized most of the African societies and as a result had political and economic power and control over these nations. With the western domination, the colonists ruled the African nations and every other person was to obey their command. The colonizers introduced hegemonic educational system to Africans in which they were taught the European ethos without their studying African culture. Due to this hegemony, the European colonial masters imposed their culture on Africans and it succeeded in reshaping the cultural and political lives of Africans. Many Africans abandoned African customs and beliefs when they gained western education. Therefore due to this hegemony Africans lost their authentic/real selves and became adulterated. Their main concern becomes to create and recreate themselves through going back to their culture and origin. Through poststructuralist analysis of ‘Heavensgate’ and ‘Path Thunder’ in Labyrinths (1971), this paper explores how Christopher Okigbo, an African poet, embarked on a spiritual journey in quest of his primordial self and became an asserted poet. The paper aims at imploring Africans all over the world to follow the footprints of Okigbo in identifying their true selves for them to have meaningful lives.

Achebe, C. (1975). Morning Yet on Creation Day: Essays. London: Heinemann.

Barry, P. (202). Beginning Theory: An Introduction to literary and Cultural Theory. 2nd ed. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Barthes, R. (1968). The Death of the Authour’. Manteia, No5.

Cary, J. (1939). Mister Johnson. London: Faber and Faber.

Conrad, J. (1899). Heart of Darkness. Edinburgh: Blackwood’s Magazine.

Deleuze, G. (2004). How Do We Recognise Structuralism? In Taormina, M. (Ed.), Dersert Islands and Other Texts 19953-1974 (pp. 170-192). Trans. David Lapoujade. Semiotext(e) Foreign Agent Ser. Los Angeles and New York: Semiotext(e).

Derrida, J. (1976). Of Grammatology. Translated by Gaytri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Dieke, I. (1993). The Primordial Image: African, Afro-American and Caribbean Mythopoetic Text. New York: Peter Lang.

Dieke, I. (2010). Allegory and Meaning: Reading African America and Caribbean Literature. Maryland: University Press of America Inc.

Eagleton, T. (1983). Literary Theory: An Introduction. London: Wiley Blackwell Publishing.

Edinger, E. F. (1972). Ego and Archetype. New York: Harper & Row.

Harggard, R. H. (1885). King Solomon’s Mines. London: Cassell and Company. Henty, G. A. (1968). By Sheer Pluck quoted in G.D. Killam, Africa in English fiction 1874 – 1939. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.

Nwoga, D. I. (1978). Literature and Modern West African Culture. Benin City: Ethiope Publishing Corporation.

Obiechina, E. N. (1978). Literature: Traditional and Modern. In Ofomata, G. E. K. (Ed.), The Nsukka Environment. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.

Okigbo, C. (1971). Labyrinths. New York: Africana Publishing Corporation.

Urama, E. N. (2016). Self and Identity in African and Caribbean Literatures. Unpublished Ph.D Dissertation submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

wa Thiong’o, N. (1965). The River Between. London: Heinemann.

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 146 146 16
PDF Downloads 43 43 15