Evan M. Zuesse
THERE IS NO DENYING THE POWER of traditional religious attitudes in Africa.In marketplaces in Nigeria handbooks to the Book of Psalms circulate, instructing the reader on which verses to read to cure boils and which verse to chant to destroy a rival trader.Rituals to assuage ancestors are enacted in the mining towns of Zaire and amid drilling rigs in South Africa. The former "Emperor Bokasa" of the Central African Empire, now a republic, is brought to court for conforming all-too-well to the stereotype "bad sacral king" of African mythology and cult, even to the practice of cannibalism.The recourse to Islam and Christianity can be added to this brief catalogue of traditionalist paradoxes, for it can be persuasively argued that the modern African interest in direct worship of God is a traditional African response to catastrophic change (Horton, 1971; Zuesse, 1979:100ff, 163f. etc.).