Ordering being, divining time: Nilotic sacrifice as iconic poiesis

Quincy Amoah


The Karimojong prophet Apaokere was called by Divinity in a dream to sacrifice. In this vision, Divinity instructed him to kill a prized dark ox for the women of his household to avoid the onset of “nothingness.” This two-part essay (the first part published in Hau 13 [2]) proposes that the sacrifice of the “Dark One” was a unique iconic poem and that, in general, Nilotic sacrifices are founded on iconic principles whose ends are enrapturing poiesis, and not scapegoating. The account also proposes that the phenomenology of language and “rhyme-reasoning” may be able to resolve some of anthropology’s incommensurable “apparently irrational beliefs.”

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/729897