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Initiation into Kaaras World: An Engagement of Esoteric Knowledge in Fulani Tradition

Monika Brodnicka


Limited access to esoteric traditions because of the oral character of transmission is especially relevant to the Fulani tradition in West Africa. Beyond overarching Islamic influences, the rich Fulani pastoralist culture includes traditional religious practice and initiation which cannot be readily communicated to the outsider due to its oral nature. Fortunately, Amadou HampatB a Fulani traditionalist and scholar of the twentieth century, was able to provide certain aspects of this tradition in writing. His publication of Kaidara, a timeless Fulani tale of initiation, harbors, within its covers, the secrets of a complex esoteric knowledge made available to a general audience. Although certain truths will never be accessible to the uninitiated, others are elucidated by the story and its lessons. As with many esoteric traditions, Kaidara addresses three main facets: the role of the person in search of self-fulfillment, the role of communication between the human being and the world, and role of the universe as a medium for understanding our ultimate oneness.


Tale; Initiation; Esoteric; Knowledge; African; Traditional; Religion

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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