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DRUMBEATS of THE BLACK CHRISTO by Prince Anin Agyie all rights reserved
This collection of traditional African Christian poetry is an attempt to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ through traditional African arts and culture without defying the spiritual establishment. By this attempt, the author intends to make African Christians especially the youth to be more patriotic and proud of their African heritage. For the only sure way human development and civilization can ultimately be achieved is to strengthen our traditional social institutions by modifying them through modern religion to suit our way of life, and these verses clearly portrays such mental re-birth and spiritual consciousness. All these verses refer to a single song, the ‘Drumbeats Of The Black Christo’, but they deal with separate episodes and exist as distinct items.
RHYTHM OF THE DEAD
© PRINCE ANIN-AGYEI
All Rights Reserved.
In this traditional African poetry entitled the holy ‘Rhythm Of The Dead’, written for his unborn child, the author through the myth of Prince Kabutu (a mythical High Priest in Akyem tribal history) prophetically illustrates the concepts of Owuo (death) and reincarnation, the theory of man and the universe, and the powers and roles of the Nsamanfou (ancestors) and the pantheon of Abosom (gods) in the afterlife of the African. These are not poems per se but traditional African epic written as a single narrative letter by a father to his unborn child who was destined not to see his/her father.
Whether the arts and teachings of the “Rhythm Of The Dead” is a true reflection of an unadulterated traditional African religion or an ethic may be left for future generations to judge correctly. However, the question will obviously depend on how one defines traditional African religion. With its close attention to personal conduct and morals, “Rhythm Of The Dead” hits Nkwa (life) from a different angle than do other religions. But this does not deny it the dignity of being considered as a relative traditional African religious philosophy.
Also, if religion is taken in its widest sense as a way of Nkwa woven around a people’s ultimate concerns, the arts and teachings in this narration clearly qualifies. Even if religion is taken in a narrower sense as the concern to align man to the trans-human ground of his existence, then “Rhythm Of The Dead” advocates a form of traditional African religious teachings albeit a muted one.
Traditional African religious truth is relative and dynamic but not absolute and static, and the changing conditions of time and society eventually render most doctrines obsolete. Only the most fundamental and universally applicable moral teachings remain valid and are reinforced by all believers. The true arts and teachings of Prince Kabutu which distinctly epitomizes a form of traditional Africa religious beliefs, cannot be abrogated by mere logic, but can only be altered by new revelations from Africans and for Africans.
These narrative poems are to be read with all seriousness and with the desire to understand that he who chooses rightly and works in harmony with these teachings of Prince Kabutu becomes the master of his fate. Whilst he who fails to choose rightly and works out of harmony with these divine teachings is a slave to fate and a victim of destiny unconsciously created.
It is also very important for the reader to note that, each letter in this book is as complete as a complete book, but they originally existed together in a single narrative. This epic must therefore be enjoyed not for the story sake, but for the unified vision of the permanent truth behind the creative story. The great priest of Africa personally inspired them, in order that by means of these letters you should have the knowledge of the truth of the true African culture. As one critic of these works puts it ‘For Africa is full of the enlightenment of Prince Kabutu as the firmaments cover nature.’
The aim of this epic is to exhibit the true history and common culture of the African by creating new philosophical ideas and improving on the ancient lost ideas and works (whether they existed before or not). It is also to correct the notion that, the traditional African culture and its forms of religion is inferior and devilish. And to expose the true virtues of traditional African culture which will bring back the pride of Africaness and consciousness.
Besides, traditional African poetry must not be read because of its beauty of poetical arrangement, rhythm or size of content as expected and perceived by certain cultures. But the inner message or oracle from or inspired by the Abosom (gods) and preserved by the Nsamanfou (ancestors), and carried through the priest (poet) unto you as a person and the continental African nation as a whole. Think about this, what significance does American and English rhymes, rhythms and stanzas to the Divine Horn and Drum messages from the Abosom and Nsamanfou through the traditional priest?
The philosophy of the author is an incarnation of common sense and practical wisdom confirmed by his believes in the African Personality and Identity, and he holds no apologies to critics for resuscitating the ancient African ideas and pride into the imaginative light of modern academics and philosophy. As written in the ‘Libellus XVI’ in the early centuries A.D by Asclepius to King Ammon;
“that those who read my writings…will think
them to be quiet simple and clearly written,
but those who hold opposite principles to
start with will say that the style is obscure
and conceals the meaning”,
The author strongly believes that the combination of any active exercise of personal experience, rational and instinctive imagination by a traditional African poet (priest) placed in designed words, could actually create the truth and reality of the traditional African society. This is how poetry may be defined in the traditional African context.
These letters were combined under one theme “Rhythm Of The Dead”, but it has been sub-divided under several topics into simple modern grammar for easy reading and understanding. You can also learn and apply some of these wisdom and philosophical experiences of the great priest of Africa as you face Nkwa today and Owuo tomorrow.
Perhaps, you and I know that these creative ideas are myths and cannot be empirically proven. Yet while the black African soul lives, myth transcends itself; for a moment it becomes history. The history not of historical facts, but of the way the traditional African has lived them.
Thus whether true or false, whether efficacious or otherwise, the fact still remains that such beliefs and practices do exist and affects the socio-psychological behaviour of the true African directly or indirectly.