Wisdom is Mightier than Might: Fagunwa's Narrative and the Yoruba Communal Philosophy

  • Kolawole Owolabi


This paper is a philosophical interpretation of the classical novels of the Yoruba writer, Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa. The paper operates on the belief that in translating Yoruba mode of literary presentation, which many scholars already acknowledged, Fagunwa also presented the communal philosophy of his people to the modern world. At the heart of Yoruba communal philosophy is the veneration of wisdom as the ultimate value. Fagunwa adopted this principle and made it the pivot of his cultural philosophy. In this respect, rather than denounce the overbearing influence of modernity, he accepted the various challenges that it poses to the African society and culture. The essence of modernity to him conforms to the Yoruba belief that wisdom is the ultimate value. We therefore analyzed the axiom of wisdom being capable of meeting the various challenges of humanity,as embedded in Yoruba traditional belief. This paper further discusses how Fagunwa in his various narratives employed this belief system for his cross cultural interpretation and argument that the adoption of modern culture is a necessity for Africans if they desire to resolve their present dilemma.

(The Journal of Cultural Studies: 2001 3(2): 574-585)

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eISSN: 1595-0956