Critical Study of Bini and Yoruba Value Systems of Nigeria in Change Culture, Religion, and the Self

Author: Babatunde, Emmanuel
This study makes the point that foreigners who have come in contact with Africans, whether as missionary, teacher, colonial administrator, or trader have often underestimated the extent to which the African cultural ethos rules the African mind. Modernizing efforts in Africa are based on assumptions which seek rapid transformations into the ways of another cultural ethos. An examination into the content, structure and symbolic notions of the African ethos will unearth those aspects which are in conflict with, and those which are in favour of, modernizing tendencies. This orientation sheds light on the problems that inhibit stability and development in Africa.


"Babatunde has provided a thorough and solid addition to the anthropological study of the Bini and Yoruba peoples. . . . Conceptions about reincarnation, ancestors, death and general belief systems are particularly richly analysed. It is important to note that this analysis immensely benefits from the rich store of prior anthropological study of the Yoruba and Bini peoples. Even more importantly, this analysis is supported by Babatunde's research as participant-observer and by his personal communication with numerous scholars. On the whole, he evaluates the Bini and Yoruba world-views through a comparative prism. This approach greatly sharpens and deepens his analysis. . . . This text will be of interest to both pure and applied social scientists and those in the humanities." - Australian Journal of Politics and History

“The author’s in-depth knowledge of Nigerian society enables him to search for insights on the value systems in cosmology, reincarnation, chieftaincy, kinship, and physiology, just to mention some of the related issues covered in the text. . . . Each chapter, and indeed each page, contains valuable ethnographic material. Constant reference is made to Bini and Yoruba expressions of their value system. The work contains quotations from folk-tales songs, prayers, proverbs, plays, and interviews. A number of customs and rituals are discussed vividly. . . . the ethnographic material seems extremely rich and detailed. The book represents an encyclopaedic approach to the system of Nigerian social values.” – Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford