Ghosts of Africa Past
Spirits of Africa to Come
For the just ended month of October, which here in the U.S. is basically a month long build up to Halloween celebrations on the 31st, most of our discussions focused on folklore and traditions around death, underworlds, spirits, ghost, zombies, revenants, and other things morbid and dark. Most African peoples see death as a transition to another state of being. Traditional African worldviews are full of stories about places and circumstances which include the spirits of the dead, either as disembodied entities, reanimated bodies, or in some other kind of manifestation. Not all of them are benevolent ancestors!
Many of these beliefs have persisted into modern African popular culture and the material we encountered this past month reflected that. In addition to reading folktales, we shared ghost stories from boarding school and read a couple of contemporary short stories which explore traditional African beliefs around the afterlife and those beings who walk the boundaries between life and death. We also watched and discussed two movies: Atlantics, an award winning ghost love story by Senegalese film maker Mati Diop and Tokoloshe: The Calling a South African horror movie by Richard Green.
You can revisit some of the threads, stories and discussions here, here, here and here.
I am perpetually inspired by the creativity of African people, past and present, and exceedingly hopeful for the future of African storytelling as it interfaces with and adapts to the technologies which permeate modern life. With such rich material to work with, and an ever-increasing interest in African lore, the next couple of decades are bound to be exciting! I am especially thrilled about the way the internet is facilitating access to and conversations about the work being done by, for and about us Africans, as well as easing efforts to build vibrant creative communities. The Mythological Africans community is definitely thriving, and I have you all to thank for that, all 2500 and counting of you (WOW!).
Cheers to a fruitful November full of fun and discovery! As always, thank you for going on this journey with me.