Concept of Witchcraft in African Drama and Negative Female Stereotyping in Select Nigerian Plays
Drama as the saying goes is as old as man. It is an integral part of every human society. The mimetic bodily gestures of primitive man necessitated by the in-adequacies of spoken language gave birth to drama. Drama and theatre have over the ages been appropriated for diverse human purposes. It has at one point or the other of human development or civilisation been a tool for education, entertainment, propaganda, confrontation, opposition, socialisation, mobilisation and therapy amongst other purposes in society. This essay is an exploration of the concept of witchcraft as it is appropriated by playwrights in their dramatic creations. The thrust of the essay is the portrayal of female characters as witches in African drama. The essay is limited to the Nigerian dramatic tradition; it examines three selected dramatic texts: J.P. Clark’s The Wives Revolt, Irene Isoken Salami’ Emotan and Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods. All three dramatic texts explore the subject of witchcraft in female characters from three different trado-cultural perspectives.