This is undoubtedly an historical novel that reads like watching a movie, that holds your eyes glued on the screen. The readers attention is held in an epic that turns him or her as participant in telling the story, unconsciously engaging in the writing process on which direction the story should go at every twist. It is not unexpected that a reader will totally give in to the intensity of the story as it fictitiously captures the real events of African past that the present generation is currently debating and reviewing; the adverse effects of slave trade and religious invasions of Nigeria/Africa…
Exodus of gods takes a critical survey of the gory events of the slave trade and links them with the Christianity invasion in such a manner that would make readers better understand the agitations of the likes of Wole Soyinka, John Pepper Clark, Niyi Oshundare, Chimamanda Adiche, Robert Mugabe, Jomo Kenyatta in either their speeches or writings. Exodus of gods tells part of the stories of “dark ages” of Africa in a disturbing yet entertaining style that is lacking in similar historical tales on slave traders and christian invaders of African space. In telling the stories of the main characters in this historical epic,
Kayode Fanilola did not shy away from revealing the loss of dignity, development and cultural identity that the invasion of the Europeans brought on Africans, as well as the resilience of the African spirit that the human traffickers that metamorphosed to gospelers suppressed but could not completely destroy.
One of the storylines in the book is enough to drive home the message in this historical tale.
The story takes off with the white christian Missionaries coming to Yorubaland trying to convert people from the traditional way of worship to their imported ways. Acceptance of the new mode of worship would necessitate doing away with all their deities, chis and ikengas. While there were true evangelists with the mission of spreading the gospel, fake ones abound, fakes one with the same economic considerations of their fore-father slave traders.
One of such white invader was John Clapper. He led the fake white christian missionaries using evangelism to condemn and steal
the symbols of african multitude of gods. The gods of the Yorubas arrested him when his spouse, Nancy Chamberlain became pregnant. Fadahunsi Ogunleye, a colonial government gardener from the clan of Yoruba priesthood was responsible. The death of John Clapper and the incubation of the child of destiny in white skin as predicted by Ifa made Governor General Ray Chamberlain and her daughter believed that their mystery and shame was over. The child was named John Clapper Jr.
Two and a half decades later, white man John had a black child from his white girlfriend, Flora Wood, a chain of events followed that brought a black child of a white couple Atkin Smith to Yorubaland in Nigeria.
Meanwhile the activities of sculptor Alabi Ojetola and the priestly influence of the Ogunleyes in repositioning and defining the cultural identity of the Yoruba race has gained global recognition that provided a conducive environment for foreign historians and sociologists like Boris Bascom (Yoruba slave descendant) to be partakers in the emergence of african renansciance.
The presence of Atkin Smith and John Clapper Jr.(father and son who are the products of religious slavery) in the congregation of scholars of african descent (byproducts of slave trade) makes Exodus of gods a highly entertaining tale that promises a return of the gods stolen from palaces, shrines and homes.
In summary, Exodus of Gods is a historical tale of deceptions, dominance, betrayal, perseverance…and love during the slave trade and christianity invasions.
It is highly recommended for the motion picture industry as the plot is such that makes the transformation easy as all other supporting stories in the novel will spice a very interesting tale on screen.This is a well written book that should go into the high school curriculum as one of the recommended text. More especially at this point in time when history is relegated to the background.
However a reduction in the Yoruba pynagerics is recommended when a reprint is made. It is well understood why the infusion is necessary but such become redundant to non Yoruba speaking readers.
Exodus of gods is recommended to all readers, especially historical scholars. I am sure that many will look forward to a follow up tale… a sequence from the author of a book that you will not put down until you finish reading. It has a glue…
YEMI ADEBIYI is the author of historical novels- THE BLOOD SAMPLE and THE PASTOR’S PROSTITUTE