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OLAYIWOLA, Elizabeth: Contextualization of Women’s Spirituality in Mount Zion Films: Exploring Women’s Spirituality

Contextualization of Women’s Spirituality in Mount Zion Films: Exploring Women’s Spirituality


School of Visual and Performing Arts

Kwara State University

Malete, Nigeria


It is generally assumed by many that women have a greater connection to spirituality in such a way that men do not, women are perceived to be more spiritually involved than men Although men seem to hold more leadership and prominent position within most organized religion. Myth has it that there are more witches than wizards. (This we can prove from collections of African oral traditions). In most churches there are more women in church than men. This paper explore women’s spirituality, our usage of women’s spiritually slightly differs from its usage within feminist frame. So, by women’s spirituality we mean women’s way of connecting and relating to the spiritual and by spiritual we mean the immaterial unseen world. We postulate that women in peculiars ways romance the spiritual world in such a way men cannot or do not. We propose that this unique relationship between the female gender and the spiritualis likely as a result of their subjugation as a group. In the physical/material world female revolves around several limitation and oppression simply for been women. Spirituality seem to provide for women the liberty and justice they are deprived of and so seek in the physical world, the spiritual world seems to offer power and influence, which in turn offers better placement for woman in the material world. We intend to sustain this argument by surveying collections of Christianity film video. This paper seeks to provide answers to the research question: ‘Why are women so drawn to spirituality? From most stories emanating from African cultural space we see females connecting with spiritual world/force for help majorly over patriarchal imposed issues.

Introduction: The Birth of Women’s Spirituality

It is generally assumed by many (though it may not be expressly stated) that women have connections to spirituality in such a way that men do not. Although men hold more prominent positions within organized religion, women are, however, perceived to be more spiritually inclined than men. Myth has it that there are more women engaging the spiritual than men; more witches than wizards, more women in churches, more women attending deliverance sessions than men. We speculate that this is likely because in the physical there are several limitations/oppressions for women. The spiritual realm seem to provide for women the liberty and justice they are deprived of and so seek in the physical world, for the spiritual offers power and influence which in turn negotiate better placement for them (women) in the material world. We can sustain our position that women seem to be more dispose to the spiritual by survey of collections of Africa oral story: from most stories we see females connecting with spiritual world/force for help majorly over patriarchal imposed issues.

While some argue that within African traditional religion, women as well as men enjoy what seems like equal leadership, others think it is a sort of equality, not total equality; either way, women seem to enjoy more privileges within Africa traditional religion than they do within conservative world major religion. Leadership within most sectors of Christianity and Islam is patriarchal; God is prescribed with male imagery, and so is Satan. Women’s link to religion especially within conservative orthodox Christianity seems to be as object, they are object of discussion, subjected to man-made rules, must rules are meant for women – an ‘you must remain a virgin till your wedding day’ preachers spend hours telling Christian ladies to remain sexually inactive till they get married, hardly do one find any forum that address male youth virginity – the concept of male virginity itself is made to sound vague. The injunction – ‘wives submit to your husband’ is sometimes interpreted as life of servitude for women. Observed gender imbalances within religious sector lead to feminist agitation and eventually paved way for the birth and growth of women’s spirituality within Theology Feminism as an area of academic scholarship. The discourse of the concept women’s spirituality became popular in 1970s. In 1976, a journal – Lady Unique devoted to the goddess emerged; 1975 witnessed the first and well-attended women’s spirituality conference, which was held in Boston. It had about 1800 people in attendance. In 1978, 500 people participated in a course on goddess, which was taught at the University of California (Christ 75). The 70s witnessed a lot of soul-searching within world major religions. Groups of theological feminists began to examine humanity and the spiritual outside mainstream religious thinking. Feminists recognize that main stream religion is patriarchal in nature; they are deeply rooted in patriarchy thus problematic for women. God is described with masculine attribute. Mary Daly argues that patriarchal thinking within major religions; Christianity, in particular, implies that God is male; thus, “if the male is God then God is male” (Daly 9). This cannot be because the idea of God surpasses gender; it is probably beyond knowing. Carol Christ investigates the need for feminists to return from following patriarchal structured religion. She asks: “What are the political and psychological effects of this fierce new love of the divine in themselves for women whose spiritual experience has been focused by the male God of Judaism and Christianity? Is the spiritual dimension of feminism a passing diversion, an escape from difficult but necessary political work? Or does the emergence of the symbol of Goddess among women have significant political and psychological ramifications for the feminist movement? (72). One of the ideas behind women’s spirituality is that religion holds an important place in the psyche of many people; thus, it can no longer be left to be controlled by the fathers. Religious symbols portray male superiority thus affecting women’s thinking about themselves. Religions centred on the worship of a male God created ‘moods’ and ‘motivations’ that keep women in a state of psychological dependence on men and male authority, while at the same time legitimating the political and social authority of fathers and sons in the institutions of society (Daly 73).

Simone de Beauvoir is of the option that patriarchal religion will always be problematic for women; Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes; and since man exercise a sovereign authority over women it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being. For Jew, Mohammedans, and Christians, among others, man is the Master of divine right; the fear of God will therefore, repress any impulse to revolt in the downtrodden female (Christ 74). Within women spirituality movement some feminist remain within their traditional religion yet seeking to alter patriarchal system of worship advocating for the inclusion of women in the leadership roles-like priest and pastors, some began to pay attention to female person and imagery in their religious books, the Bible, Koran Torah, and other holy books. Others totally pull away from traditional world religion creating their own spirituality. For clarity it is expedient to state that in this paper the concept of women’s spirituality is approached from women ways of connecting to the spiritual and by spiritual we mean the immaterial unseen world.

Women spirituality became the response to gender imbalance within religious sector. As time passes women gradually began to move from been spiritual object to subject. Pastor’s wives gained more prominence within the ministry, some years ago they are only assigned the duty of hospitality and receptionist in the mission house. She was considered unworthy of spiritual leadership roles solely for her sex, however level of women’s involvement in the ministry differs from one age to other, at a particular age women were not considered fit to be spiritual leaders, with growth and development within Christendom and with some influence from feminist movement, women gradually became more involved within their own worship place. These growths and developments are reflected in most Christian films in Nigeria, especially Mount Zion’s.

Conceptualizing Contextualization

One of the reasons for sanctuary cinema in Nigeria is to contextualize the gospel; the most prominent Christian filmmaker in Nigeria is Mount Zion Film Production founded by Mike Bamiloye. It all started in 1985 as Mount Zion Christian Production with Mike Bamiloye as the founder and director of the group. In an interview, Bamiloye stated that, the mission of the group, “was borne out of the burden and vision to evangelize the world through the medium of drama and film production” (Odelami 74). He continued: When the ministry started in 1985, the initial main objective of the ministry was to produce Christian films and tele-drama for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to counter the effect of the prevailing few secular films of that time (Odelami 77). When the group started, it was faced with the challenges of acceptability; most churches refused to have them perform in their churched; drama was then perceived as entertainment with no spiritual benefit. At inception, their first film, The Secret of the Devil was rejected by Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) because of its poor quality. From 1986, they began to get invitations to stage plays in different churched. In the year 1990, film productions and tele-dramas took off in earnest and has continued to date. In their attempt to evangelize the world through film, they engage the concept of contextualization.

The ideal of contextualization within Christianity is to situate the gospel within cultural relevance. So, while discussing contextualization, one cannot ignore culture. Culture has been defined in several ways by different scholars. Of particular interest is the definition of culture as rendered by Harvie M. Conn (in Evangelical Dictionary of Missions). Conn’s definition fits more into our current discuss. For Conn, when we use the word, culture, within Christendom, we “refer to common ideas, feelings, and values that guide community and personal behaviour, that organize and regulate what the group thinks, feels and does about God, the world, and humanity” (3). Stetzer infers that, what this means is that ‘culture’ itself is not evil, but a composite of good and evil (as understood biblically) values and vocations, customs and creations, beliefs and behaviours that characterize a particular people in a particular place. Unfortunately, not all evangelicals understood culture in this manner. Some evangelicals mistakenly believe that scripture’s warnings against the world – the cosmos are warnings against culture itself. However, this is not the case. All people are fashioned in the image of God and are recipients of common grace. This means that we should expect to find some positive features present in every culture, even non-Christian cultures. For every person has sinned, and should expect to find some negative features present in every human culture. Instead of shunning culture completely, we should engage culture with care and discernment (page?).

Andrew Walls also says that, No one ever meets universal Christianity in itself: we only ever meet Christianity in a local form and that means a historically, culturally conditioned form. We need not fear this; when God became man he became historically, cultural conditioned man in a particular time and place. What he became, we need not fear to be. There is nothing wrong in having local forms of Christianity-provided that we remember that they are local (5). The reason for contextualization is to help localize Christianity, while retaining the central dogma of Christianity. An attempt is made to inculcate local-indigenous perspectives that will aid its (Christianity) acceptability among the natives: Contextualization matters because we are not eternal, timeless, and a-cultural. Some of the ways we worship, how we present eternal truths, and how we live in and relate to society all must be considered. We live in a culture. How we see things, understand them, and present them to others must take culture into account… presenting the unchanging truths of the gospel within the unique and changing contexts of cultures and worldviews (Walls 6-7).

While the gospel remains unchanged, interpretation of this same one gospel is influenced by the worldview of the natives. For instance, in recent developments in Nigeria’s cultural and political scene, a broadcaster while advocating for the Biafra nation, discouraged Igbo people from attending what he called, Yoruba Pentecostal Churches. This is because he believed that religion can be contextualized. Thus, in an attempt to retain Igbo consciousness, he believed that Igbo people should worship with Igbo Christians.    

Sterzer posits that contextualization can be supported by the way Christ lived. He lived His life on earth as a first century Jew; He did not only take up the form of Man; but also reverenced the people’s way of life. Apostle Paul also leaned towards contextualization, for he related same Gospel differently depending on the culture of the people. When relating with the Jews, he made a lot of reference to Mosaic laws and the prophets, because he understood their background, their history and their belief system. He spoke differently with the Gentiles; he was mindful of the fact the Gentiles did not share the same heritage as the Jew; thus may not be able to relate with some of Jewish traditions.

           Paul Hiebert gives insightful classification of contextualization as used within Christianity. First: the no contextualization approach; second: the minimal contextualization approach; third: the uncritical contextualization approach; and fourth: the critical contextualization approach. The first approach understands the gospel as existing outside our culture, thus, a people’s culture should not be considered in whatever form in relation to the gospel. The second approach acknowledges our culture but tries to have limit to the nearest minimal interactions between both, the third prioritize the people culture over the gospel thus in areas where the gospel conflict with the people’s culture the cultural stand is privileged. The fourth is the critical; in Hiebert’s words: “In critical contextualization the Bible is seen as divine revelation, not simply as humanly constructed beliefs.” This group believes that while contextualizing, the heart of the gospel must be kept; it may be encoded in forms that are understood by the people, without necessarily making the gospel captive to the contexts. This way, the gospel remains central in an ever-changing world. Here, cultures are seen as both good and evil, not simply as neutral vehicles for understanding the world (Hiebert 12-13).

Sometimes, in Nigeria, Westernization is imbibed as Christianity; Western culture became accepted as Christianity, simply because Christianity as presented to Nigerians was contextualized by European world view. A typical example is the adaptation of European style of wedding ceremony as Christian. Yet, Christianity as practiced in Nigeria differs to Christianity as practiced in Europe. Africanized Christian practice is made recognizable in the course of worship – the use of traditional songs, talking drum, sekere, and other traditional African instruments and dances is a clear indication of the disparity between European and African modes of worship. One Nigerian stand-up gig comes to mind. In this gig, the comedian notices that while Nigerian pastor will cast out demons screaming and sweating heavily, an European pastor spends less effort doing same thing, This joke attests to the difference in Christianity as practiced by both worlds. In the two selected Mount Zion films, we intend to analysis how women’s spirituality is being contextualized – Africanized. We will examine how the Nigerian phenomenon of spirit-husband and Mamiwater is contextualized.

Women and the Spiritual: Analysis of Captive of the Mightyand Blood Covenant

It is believed within most traditional Nigerian cultural practices and perhaps all over African and beyond that the spiritual wield great influence over the life of people. For most contemporary Nigerians, our first contact with these spiritual beings is with our story books. There are a lot of short stories with the theme of the spiritual. Mamiwater stories are very popular in Nigerian authored story books. Most times, Mamiwater is presented as a harmless spirit, who often appears in the form of pretty lady, eventually marries a man, and makes him prosper. She is soon suspected by other members of community to be a spirit. One taboo is let loose and she returns with her wealth into the sea. The concept of spirit-husband within African story telling privilege its negative influences over a woman – wives especially. Often, the spirit-husband prevents her from getting married, and if she does, he prevents her from getting pregnant; if she is fortunate to get pregnant, she battles with series of miscarriages; if she eventually carries the pregnancy to term, the baby keeps dying at birth or young. It is believed in some quarters that the child returns to live with their spiritual father. So, in the spiritual, she has children and in the physical she has none. In Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine, Ihuoma could not stay married because her spirit-husband kept killing her earthly lovers. Emmanuel Obiechina, in his analysis of the character of Ihuoma, acknowledges that, Ihuoma is a spirit being; she is or was a Mamiwater married to the sea god: “Ihuoma character in the concubine draws on religion and popular myth. She is not conceived as an ordinary human but as a water maid turned human, wife of the dreaded sea king” (Obiechina 96). It is these similar notions that form the plot of Mike Bamiloye’s Captive of the Might and Blood Covenant.

Oyekan in her study on infertility among Yoruba women, expouses how the spiritual takes centre stage within the life of Yoruba people. In some cases, infertility in women is linked to the concept of spirit-husband. Oyekan describes some of the beliefs surrounding infertility among Yoruba people. Her submission is establish that infertility is inability to bear children after one year of intercourse; and that there are different types of infertility: not being able to conceive at all is tagged, barrenness (Agun); inability to deliver babies alive (miscarriages or stillbirth); or deliver babies that die at young age (Abiku); then the one that will have one or two children and will be unable to have more. Barrenness bears the worst stigma; some women lie about their barren state. They rather lie that they got pregnant and had miscarriages than admit that they have never been pregnant (Oyekan15). Oyekan’s study also identifies cultural beliefs as reasons for miscarriages, still-birth or barrenness: The Yoruba belief in the spiritual world of witches (aje), wizards (oso), and evil spirits (obanje/emere), it is believed that this kind of spiritual world is not devoid of evil presence; this evil spirit takes delight in making others miserable including making women to be unable to conceive or always miscarrying. When a woman is an ogbanje/elemere herself, she conceives and gives birth in the spiritual world but is unable to conceive in the physical (17).

There is also the concept of spirit-husband – a man existing in the spiritual seeking to marry and even have children with a woman leaving in the physical; however their mating takes place in the spiritual. These are some of African’s notions of spirituality which has women as principal actors; all of these notions have found its way into Christianity as problems that must be solved. In fact some pastors/ministry are water/marine spirit specialist they even publish books on the operation of Mamiwater and how captive can be set free. People suspected to have dealings or influenced by these spiritual forces are taken to pastors with deliverance ministry for deliverance. Thus some of these Men and Women of God have taken time to understand the nature and operations of this spiritual force, some have taken their time to make a film of their experience or understanding of some of this spiritual notions. These notions have a strong appeal within Christianity as practiced in Nigeria. Apart from Mike Bamiloye, Helen Ukpabio has also shown considerable interest with witch craft and marine spirit. In her film, High Way to the Grave, she narrates how a water spirit in human flesh keeps killing men that commit adultery with her (see Onookome).It is on a similar platform that the character of Mabel revolves. In the film, Captive of the Mighty (CM), Mabel is married for two years without kids. According to Oyekan’s definition, she is infertile, although her case seems a little better since she is able to conceive but keeps having miscarriages. Although there is a medical terminology to describe her state, traditionally, she is Elemere; her miscarriage is caused by her jealous spirit husband. Her mother-in-law refers to her as a witch, probably lacking the exact English word for Elemere. She presumes Mabel’s infertility is self-inflicted; it is believed that Elemere are the very cause of their infertility, for they often have knowledge of the happenings in the spiritual world that is obstructing their fertility in the material world, yet they remain silent about it.

The film opens with the marriage celebration between Mabel and Dayo. Framed in a long shot is a man in black suit, he stand at a distance from the joyous crowd staring in what looks like a mixture of anger and regret. From the reaction shot we can tell that Mabel identifies him and was distracted for a while by his presence she quickly return to the joy of the moment – the dancing of the new couple and their well-wishers. However, her reaction makes us wonder who the man is; we soon discover from the next sequence who the man in black suit is: he is Iguana Mabel’s oko orun (spirit-husband). Through the dream world, Bamiloye gives his viewers access to the spiritual world of Mabel and Iguana. Iguana expresses his dissatisfaction with Mabel’s earthly marriage; he describes Mabel’s marriage to Dayo as a betrayal of their love and union; he pleads with Mabel to return to him (her first love); Mabel refuses. A cut away returns us to Mabel in the physical world lying on the sofa. It is then we realize that it all happened in a dream. Mabel did not dismiss her experience as just a dream; she acknowledges her dream as an extension of her life or her other life – there is one she live with Dayo and another with Iguana; now the former is been threaten by the later.

Metaphorically, Bamiloye links the interface of the material world with the spiritual. Iguana seizes a flower vase from Mabel and as any flower attempt to spring, he plucks it out. This he continues to do while trying to gain Mabel’s attention; but Mabel remains adamant. What Iguana’s act translates to in the physical is that Iguana now controls Mabel’s fertility and decides which pregnancy stays. Sadly, Iguana refuses any of Mabel’s pregnancy to remain. We feel the reality of this symbolism when Mabel on one occasion meets Iguana in the spiritual realm. Iguanacollects the flower vase and pulls the tender flower; Mabel’s scream returns her to the physical on the bed with her husband. Immediately, we see blood running down her legs, showing that she has had a miscarriage. Despite several miscarriages, Mabel still refuses to consent to Iguana’s reunion proposal; she denies Iguana alongside their four spiritual children. In a fury, Iguana breaks the flower vase; this connotes that Mabel’s womb has been broken and will not bear any child again. Mabel, afraid of her new fate, decides to seek external help. When a woman dreams of having sex, it can cause miscarriage or inability to conceive. Reading of Psalms and fasting should stop such dreams. Dreaming of having sex with the spirit husband is a special case. It is believed within Yoruba paradigm that all women have a spirit husband (oko orun) in the other world. Usually, this oko orun keeps quiet; but when he starts to bother the woman in her dreams, she may not be able to conceive. There are special ceremonies to get rid of such dreams. They are usually organized by spiritual Christian churches and traditional spiritualist(18).

Bamiloye acknowledges that a woman may have a spirit-husband despite being a Christian and that may be responsible for several miscarriages and may even lead toward Agan (barrenness), as the case of Mabel would have been, had it not been for timely spiritual intervention. As Mabel discovers that her case was getting worse, she approached a woman of God (the concept of woman of God is a modern spiritual office for women, forming part of women’s spirituality) in what seems like feminist Sisterhood. Rev. Mrs. Stephens helps Mabel through the turbulent stage of her life. She leads Mabel through the process of deliverance. First, she made Mabel face the fact that she has a spirit-husband and children; secondly, she encourages her to disclose her spiritual relationship with Iguana to Akin, her earthly husband. Mabel eventually summons courage and reveals her other world to Akin, through the help of Rev. Stephen. Though heartbroken, Akin was able to support Mabel and go to war against Iguana; through a trance, we see the confrontation between Akin and Iguana and the ensuing victory over Iguana, which lead to Mabel’s freedom.    

The cultural phenomenon of spirit-husband serves as springboard for all other issues raised in the film. Viewers seeing the film can get a glimpse on the concept of spirit-husband. The presence of this theme is so strong in the film. Bamiloye employs this spiritual theme to discuss Nigerian women and marriage related issues; the obsession with children is typical of Nigerian marriages and it is often termed the woman’s fault when a couple fails to get a child. Rev. Mrs. Stephens, who is yet to have her own child, have us believe that is her womb that is shut, though she believes that God is preserving her womb for a special baby. Thus, the issues are with God and the woman to resolve, exempting men from blame and solution seeking process. Although Mike Bamiloye eventually proposes that husbands should stand by their wives and form a formidable team to fight every challenge. Dayo forgives Mabel for withholding the details of her spirituality; together, they fought and conquered Iguana. The filmmaker succeeds in establishing a cultural perception then introduces alternative ways of approaching these familiar concepts. We (Nigerian audience) are acquainted with spirit-husbands and marine spirits; we are also aware of the harm that befalls humans who disagree with their agenda; culturally, the victims are subjected to appeasement ritual to pacify the goddess, god or spirit-husband as the case maybe. Ifeoma in Amadi’s The Concubine performs a lot of rituals yet her spirit-husband refused to be appeased. With Mabel in Mighty of the Captive, Bamiloye offers alternative route to traditional rituals; through Pentecostal form of prayers, he delivers Mabel from Iguana. While contextualizing the spirit-husband phenomenon, the gospel is presented to the audience as the only way out for the prey held captive. Ukah rightly observes that, Pentecostalism in Nigeria is increasingly altering the way that those who are attracted in large numbers by its practice and resource perceive their relationship with local culture and material goods. One of the practice of Pentecostalism that has captured popular imagination is the production of Christian video-films (Ukah no pg). In Blood Covenant, the power of the marine spirit is confirmed just as we believe within most Nigerian traditional culturally space in this film. We are made to believe that the locale of the marine world is situated in an ocean; we meet an all-female marine spirit sect headed by a queen, Princess Angela, a Special Agent on a mission – she is out to seduce a powerful and popular man of God. The film shows that she had succeeded in the past in seducing men of God; now her current assignment is to seduce Reverend Teniola. Once she is able to have sexual intercourse with Rev. Teni, it is in their kingdom, a blood covenant which in turn allows the marine world to control the Reverend. At this point, the Reverend is considered out of God’s protection. Princess Angela is however mindful of Reverend’s wife she is described by the Queen as spiritual, intelligent and hard to manipulate. As soon as Angela got her opportunity to be with Reverend alone, she plots a scheme which leads Reverend to a sexual relation with her. Reverend troubled about the incident confessed to Baba his spiritual father. Baba requires Reverend to confess to his wife, the board of Elders and probably the entire church only then can the blood covenant be broken Reverend however mindful of his wife’s feelings and the embracement of facing the elders refuse to confess on the other hand the marine world still need Angela to succeed – have intercourse with him one more time to finally destroy Reverend’s soul and ministry. Angela tries to get to Rev by requesting to be PA to Reverend’s wife. The woman did not give a quick response she maintains that she will prayerfully think about it even when Reverend under the influence of marine control tries to persuade her to allow Angela. Baba tries to no avail to make Reverend confess, Princess Angela strikes again and Reverend Teniola’s pot was crushed in the spiritual and immediately he died in the physical.

It is a common myth within Nigeria communities that women are prone to be Mamiwater and within Christendom as practiced in Nigeria these water spirits are believed to be very powerful and can lead to the fall and destruction of men of God, no matter how powerful. This particular film built its plot around this thought, confirming how strong Mamiwater can be. Rev. Mrs. prayers and vigilance could not safe her husband from the hands of Angela neither could the prayers of the prayer team. Even Bamiloye’s could not help but privilege the traditional stance that marine spirit especially Female Marine spirits are very powerful and tactical. Bamiloye uses his usual light versus darkness philosophy to form the conflict. The tension in the film builds around two women: Rev. Mrs. Teniola, symbolic of light, and Angela, darkness; it is a contention of two women over one man, (that’s a familiar social phenomenon). This contention however has a little twist that differentiate it from the social phenomenon of two women fighting over a man as often replicated in Nollywood movies. While Mrs. Teniola is not sure of her opponent, Angela is aware of her opposition and has her under surveillance with help from other marine forces. So, it does not really seem like a fair match for Angela has the upper hand and is at advantage over Rev. Mrs. Teniola. Angela cunningly plays out her cards and eventually wins Rev Mrs. Teniola. It is a war between two women belonging to different spiritual world.

The build up of Angela confirms a myth in the church, especially within the orthodox and old Pentecostal Nigeria churches. It is hard for these churches to consent that a woman can combine beauty with holiness, when she is so beautiful it generally agree that she is alive to carnality and is a stumbling block to men of God. So, if it so happens that a sexual relation ensues between her and a man of God, the man of God often get off easily, for the story is often told in his favour, he is a man called by God and working for God until the devil sent this beautify lady to make him fall – the people’s compassion is often for him.

Mrs. Teni is portrayed as strong, feared by the marine world she is very active in the ministry, coordinators report to her brother Zacchaeus the prayer coordinator seem to be more comfortable revealing spiritual revelation to Reverend. Mrs. than Reverend himself, when Bro. Zacchaeus narrates the revelations shown to the prayer team Rev Mrs. had a more mature response to the issues than Reverend. She is a woman in charge, never was she relegated to the private sphere she engage both sphere actively. In fact never at any point was she tag with the kitchen, in the scene were eating was referred to, Megi the house help announces dinner all Rev. Mrs. did was to encourage her husband to come to the dinning set. She was more concerned with church administration and spiritual state of the family. She seem to be the one in charge spiritually she encourages her husband to be more active, for better part of the film she hard edge over her husband while Rev. Teniola was either confuse or all eaten down by guilty Rev. Mrs. Teni has clarity, sound in judgement, and discerning, She perceived that something is wrong and she is ready to get to the bottom of the matter prayerfully. On the other hand Angela-the cause of Rev. Mrs. Teni suspicion is fervent and unrelenting, subtle, hard working coping with all her duties in the church, the marine world and her office, she is an agent on assignment and she refuses to fail, devoted, subtle and cunning she got her target Rev. Teni. The film employs every serotype associated with women’s spirituality in the coinage of the character of Angela. She is a schema she subtly gain asses to Rev. Teni. After the adulterous act, she led Rev. Teni to believe that she is a poor innocent lady trying to serve the lord and he just led her to sin. Angela never resulted into display of power; she keeps looking all innocent and helpless, yet her strength lies in her silence.


Why are women so drawn to the spiritual? In the spiritual women seems to enjoy and exhibit a lot of prowess and powers deprived them in the material world, in the spiritual they somehow live above patriarchal order. In both films within the spiritual world of the Church and the marine world, women occupy prominent roles; they are presented as key players. Women appear to be reverend as custodian of mystic powers and as major patronizes of the same. It is this notion that probably leads to the failure of Iguana and the success of Angela – supporting the stance that women strive better spiritually than men. even within Christian spirituality as portrayed by Bamiloye we see female group engaging the spiritual a lot more than the male, this seem a fair representation for my visit to four different churches in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria confirms this – female form about 65% of the congregation though it is hard to get accurate ratio of female to male in the marine but myth has it that there are more female water spirit than male.

If both movies had omitted some female characters it would have succeeded in upholding the myth that women are more comfortable as witches attacking the innocent, or as victims helpless held captive by their sexuality or biological make up. The coinage of Rev. Mrs. Teniola and Rev. Mrs. Stephen serve redemptive function- the temptation to generalize that women are wicked seducers of the innocent is eliminated. Rev. Stephen in Captive of the Mighty is coined as a strong woman who is not submerged in sorrow for her childlessness, despite her infertility she radiates in joy and offers great counselling which leads to Mabel’s victory. Her whole life didn’t come to a stop for childlessness she call women’s attention to the fact that outside getting pregnant and nursing children there are other important productive functions women can serve and derive joy from. Although Rev. Stephen did not fully imply that a barren woman can live a completely happy life, because she insinuate that there can only be a delay for a child of God in child bearing that but eventually she will have children. So, she did not envisage nor speak of life without children for women rather she propose solution for women going through delay in child bearing. This is still problematic for the issues of Barrenness is captured as unfathomable (even in the imaginative realm) thus not dabble into, Bamiloye choose the easy way out – believing that a child of God cannot be barren.

Since most world is has patriarchal set up men kind of feel sufficient in themselves; thus, not feeling the need for external or spiritual help, while most men enjoy some sort of self-sufficiency more women find themselves in reverse order; women seems to have this vacuum physically that only the spiritual create a possibility for filling. The spiritual especially outside organized religion seem to offer universal acceptance irrespective of gender, thus women feel more secure and less threatened engaging the spiritual.

Work Cited

Christ, Carol P. “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological, and Political Reflections.” In Spretnak Chaelene (Ed.), The Politics of Women’s Spirituality: Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power within the Feminist Movement. U.S.A: Anchor Press, 1982: 86-71.

Daly, Mary. Beyond God the Father: Towards a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation. Boston: Beacon Press, 1973.

Koster-Oyekan, Winny. “Infertility among Yoruba Women: Perceptions on Causes, Treatments and Consequences.” African Journal of Reproductive Health, 3(1), 1999: 26-13.

Obiechina, Emmanuel N. Tradition and Society in the West African Novel. London: Cambridge University Press, 1975.

Ukah, Asonzeh. “Advertising God: Nigerian Christian Video-Film and the Power of Consumer Culture.” Journal of Religion in Africa, 33(2), 2003: 231-203.


Bamiloye, Mike. Blood Covenant, 1997

---------------. Captive of the Mighty, 2001