BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL: OTHA AND ABNORMAL SEXUALITY IN AN AFRICAN MORAL JUDGEMENT

Abstract

Author(s): Karo OGBINAKA

G.E. Moore struck at the core of Western ethics when he stated that the central question in ethics is what is good or evil. Such bifurcating thought creates the impression that moral actions are universally either good or bad; evil or pleasurable and perhaps neutral. This paper attempts an explicatory analysis of another level of moral judgement called ‘otha’ in Isoko1 morality. Within the conceptual tradition of this African society, i.e. among the Isoko people, an action may be good, bad or it could be an ‘otha’. Here, we have used issues pertaining to homosexual or same sex behaviour to establish why a typical African society adjudges such behaviours as abhorring, unacceptable, and therefore regard those who engage in such to be sub-humans. The basic questions the paper addresses are what is ‘otha’? Why is ‘otha’ not simply bad, or to put it rightly, why is ‘otha’ evil, ‘bad’ and a tabu all at once?

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