Okot Pbitek's Song of Lawino and Ocol: A Battle of Cosmos and Ontological Differences
Authors: John Madoshi Peter
Number of views: 12511
Okot pBitek’s Song of Lawino and Ocol manifests a conflict caused by Cos-mos and Ontological differences between African and western culture. The main character, Lawino in the Song of Lawino, laments of the cultural death of her western educated husband Ocol. Examining the book through the lens of African Philosophy, it is shown that Lawino has no sufficient knowledge about western cosmos and its ontology. Thus her argument is centered upon the protest and defense of Okoli’s tradition and customs. Two perspectives seem to conflict within Song of Lawino and Ocol. First is the way Ocol views African tradition and customs and second is the way Lawino regards her reli-gion and the foreign religion into which her husband has been converted. Ocol in Song of Ocol, seems to attack the center of African ontology. He sees that Lawino’s beliefs in African tradition and customs is superstation. In the side of argument, Ocol appears to be stronger because he knows the weakness of his society. Being the advocate and prophesying western civilization, he under-stands what he advocates through the knowledge he acquires from reading. (Song of Ocol), Ocol shifts from attacking Ocol’s culture and his attack is ex-tended to African culture in its totality. He attacks the Gikuyu,, the Ankole women of Rwanda and Burundi, the Swahili women with their buibui attires, the Luo, the Karamajong the Kalenjin and the Maasai warriors. The fact that Ocol shifts his attack to cover the large area of African tradition and customs shows that the two characters are used symbolically to represent traditional Africans (Lawino) and educated Africans who who are represented by the character Ocol. However, despite the fact that Ocol is educated, he retains his roots just as Ocol tribe retains his name.