Call Me by My Rightful Name: A Continuum of Yoruba Ancestral Agency in the African American Experience

Ndollane Dione


In this paper, we examine the watermarks of ancient Yoruba tradition in the plot of Call Me by Rightful Name of Isidore Okpewho. Recalling the complex interplay between forces and beings in the Yoruba cosmogony, It has been noted a harmonious circularity in which human existence is celebrated. The different worlds of the ancestors, of the living, and of the unborn which are related by the fourth stage stand as the different points of that circularity. The iconoclastic picture of the self-devouring snake of Idanre is a brilliant expression of the cycle that involves what Wole Soyinka has termed a cosmic totality. Accordingly, that snake in the context of this novel by Isidore Okpewho might be seen as the calling spirit. The sound of its voice is a resonance of the Para-textual stanza uttered in a solemn and captivating tone:


Hush, hush, somebody’s calling my name

Hush, hush, somebody’s calling my name

Hush, hush, somebody’s calling my name[1]

[1]Okpewho, Isidore. Call Me By My Rightful Name. Asmara: Africa World Press, Inc, 2004, p.1.


Ancestor, Yoruba, Agency, continuum, experience, African American.

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