The to maintain a unique identity and from

The imperial European colonization of Africa trace back to the 19th century. The subsequent exploitation of natural resources and the uprooting of African traditional spiritual values by Christian missionaries will leave a permanent European stand on the continent. The establishment of political control enabled the settlers strategic ideological control of the Africans by claiming Christianity as a common spiritual reference which naturally created controversy and division among Africans. This huge ethnic expensure of Christianity is recognized to be one of the most important and long lasting effects of the European incursion on the region in the sense that this practice embedded a new identity among Africans which created, from one hand, a resistance to maintain a unique identity and from the other hand behavioral assimilation. In his text, Houseboy, by Ferdinand Oyono, this issue is in the center for us to examine, as we deepen our analysis of the main character of the novel Toundi, we clearly can contextualize the role of Christianity on the mass population. Africans dealt with Christianity in different ways some embraced it, some resisted it, others adjusted it. This essay will inspect the impact of Christianity in Africa, and the reactionist attitude adopted by the converts towards the new tendency. Oyono’s novel, Houseboy, reveals the white French colonial rule and hypocrisy in Cameroon during the 1950’s. The portrayal one gets of Christianity, while reading the first few pages of the novel, is symbolic of deception. Father Gilbert, the white evangelist, typifies the white colonial mentality when he tries to gain converts using their crave for lumps of sugar, “… he threw the little lumps of sugar to us like throwing corn to chickens. What a battle to get hold of one of those little white lumps! They were worth all the scraped knees… ” page 10, Houseboy. Toundi was introduced to the French lifestyle and immediately wanted to adopt it, as he states in the beginning of the first exercice book “Now I keep a diary like he does. Keeping a diary is a white man’s custom and what pleasure there is in it I do not know. But I shall try it out” Page 9 Houseboy. This identity crises that Toundi is going through may be considered as a justification for his inconsistency towards his tradition and more importantly revoking his spiritual beliefs as he runs away from home on the night of the initiation day “met the famous serpent who watches over the man of my race”. In this particular case, Father Gilbert representing righteousness, Christianity took advantage of the naivety of Toundi by introducing him to the religion in a moment of despair using his father as a turning point against his identity. His hate for his “abusive” father enabled him to revoke his identity and seek a long life goal, become French. Unfortunately, Toundi spent his entire life trying to reach the unreachable to end up with a tragic failure realized at his deathbed————. Through Toundi’s naive voice, Oyono explores the most common faced issues in Cameroon during colonization, including this constant identity crisis, oppression and segregation among the mass population.Unlike Toundi, other converts dealt with Western Christianity in different manners. In chapter nine, Sub-Saharan Africa, of Douglas Jacobsen’s text, The World’s Christians: Who they are, Where they are and How they got there, he focuses on the different aspects of Christianity in the Sub-Saharan Africa identifying key characteristics of African Christianity, also clarifying the colonization and independence of African nations.The first element that the author discusses in this chapter is the important role of understanding the geopolitics in the Sub-Saharan region in order to interpret contemporary African Christianity. By the end of 1980’s, most of African countries had already gained their independence from European colonial forces. However, the transition to independence in Africa had been very rough as the leadership of most African nations is usually unsuccessful and filled with unfulfilled promises. Christianity and colonialism are closely related in the sense that the existence of Christianity is due to European missionaries (mostly French) that played a very important role in spreading the religion across the region.With the introduction of Christianity to Africans, there was a big controversy over some existential questions which led to a segregation of African Christianity from the one introduced by the missionaries. This resistance created new local African interpretations of the bible (Africanization of Christianity) as well as Independent African Churches (AICs), about twenty percent of the Christian in Africa is part of an AIC, most of which have strong Pentecostal/Charismatic affiliations. AIC’s are organized hierarchically and put emphasize on the Holy Spirit, Church independence movements have been generally more common among the Protestant community than Catholic. Jacobsen also pointed out the religious profile of Africa and stated that among the big issues facing the continent there was this problematic of uncontrolled growth of the population which also implies a growth of Christianity — fifty percent of the African population have a Christian denomination, twenty-five Muslim, and twenty with African traditional beliefs. The main reason Africans tried to adjust Christianity to their culture is because of the inconsistencies noticed in the religion which are not satisfactory for the social, spiritual and cultural gap between Europeans and Africans; an example for it portrayed in the novel, Houseboy, would be Father Vandermayer. He is supposedly, the role model of any society representing holynness, peace and ethical behavior. However, perfectness is not one of his strong traits  — “..loves to beat the Christians who have committed adultery, native Christians of course…” page 15, Houseboy, this statement confirms that the French used religion as a way to dominate the natives and enforcing the colonial policies which suggests the oppressive nature of the Europeans, also the degree in which they can abuse those who are “inferior” to them “Toundi, will you never learn what a houseboy’s job is? One of these days you’ll be the cause of the real trouble. When will you grasp that for the whites, you are only alive todo their work and for no other reason, I am the cook. The white man does not see me except for his stomach…” page 87- Houseboy. Oyono also tries to show that the Africans were naive and From this we can see a contrast between two cultures, but also the fact that they share a common similarity : obscenities.


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