Africa’s Dark Sects
Green cloth over paperboard, 6” by 8 ¼”; 328 pages, with the title stamped on the spine. Though the date of publication is listed as being only four years previous (1921), this book is in very poor condition. The spine is broken, the back cover is cracked, and multiple pages are dog-eared. There are also some marginal notes in pencil. The author is given as one Nigel Blackwell; no publisher is listed. The end paper inside the cover bears a bookplate indicating it belongs to Harvard University’s Widener Library.
This book collects the papers of Nigel Blackwell, a minor self-funded African explorer. No attempt seems to have been made to organize Blackwell’s work (there is no index for example) and the topics vary widely. The focus of the work is on African cults and esoteric religious practices – the more gruesome or vile the better. Cannibalism and bestiality are some of the more comparatively tame practices discussed. The author treats the blasphemous religious claims of the various African tribesmen he discusses with an undue and unexpected degree of credence. Regions discussed include East Africa (the Kenya Crown colony and German East Africa in particular), the Belgian Congo, and West Africa (especially the Niger River basin).
Albert Roger Willis