Open Access

Negotiating Afro-Oriental Religious Eco-Political Space and the Modernist Backlash in God Was African by Nkemngong Nkengasong and Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry


This article examines the representation of the connection between religious beliefs and the natural environment around sacred places in God Was African by Nkemngong Nkengasong and Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry. Comparing the eco-cycle around Zoroastrian Fire Temples, the Towers of Silence in Bombay and the shrines of Fuondem and other gods in Lewoh traditional religion, this article argues that the inter-connectivity between these Parsi-Bangwa religions reveals that gods reside in our immediate environment and only our eco-politics can preserve this supernatural connection. Using ecocriticism, therefore, I contend that the Parsis in India and the Bangwa in Lebialem revere and protect natural abodes of the gods like earth, water, hills, valleys, forests and fire against the devastating environmental crises heralded by the modernist backlash. The modern transformation of these sacred places into sources of generating renewable and artificial energies accounts for the different physical and ideological conflicts that abound in the two novels. As such, by protecting the different forms of life that inhabit these sacred places, this article concludes that Nkengasong’s and Mistry’s eco-poetical language and style in God Was African and Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer reflect Lewoh traditional religion, Zoroastrianism and the environment, participating in the Afro-Oriental artistic crusade for biophilia and environmentally friendly belief systems.