The Hero with an African Face: Mythic Wisdom of Traditional Africa

Extending the sensibility of Joseph Campbell, Ford exposes readers to African myths and folk tales, finding that they harbor both culturally specific and universal motifs. Ford (Where Healing Waters Meet) has a diverse background in business, chiropractic, psychotherapy and African-American history. He recounts many traditional African stories, exploring their metaphors, symbols and archetypal figures, their answers to the timeless questions of how to live, how life began and how it will end. While these tales have been notoriously absent from world literature, they are strikingly similar to Eastern, Western and Middle-Eastern mythology in many ways. As Ford splices the myths with his engaging analyses of them, he illuminates universal themes and values, symbols and characters. Applying the hero’s journey to the African diaspora (“the massive forceful displacement of millions of Africans”), he ruminates: “there is every reason to believe that African slaves… understood their capture and travails in just such mythic terms.” Likely to find its way into college classrooms, Ford’s comprehensive work supplies a missing piece of world mythology.