misconceptions about african traditional religion

a. newly birthed babies. Every life stage is important in African religions, from birth and naming, to betrothal/marriage, elderhood, and eventually death. 4. During the era of Western religious and cultural encounters in Yorubaland, some children were named Oguntoyibo, signifying Ogun (god of war and iron) is as powerful as the European god. Some children received names such as Ifatoyinbo, Ifa is as powerful as the white mans god. Such names and concepts illustrate the force and creative resistance of indigenous thought and its ability to engage Western modernity in rigorous debate. A frica has 54 countries and more than a billion people. Please confirm you want to block this member. The problem is, this number is often collated for the whole of Africa, instead of each country of Africa. Now it is our turn to Africanize it.. Gradually, many Africans began to buy the narrative. Advocating for civil religion in a religiously pluralistic society does not require the erasure of conventional religious traditions. Many foreigners who come to Africa become fascinated by ancestral spirits and spirits in general, as if the mystique of African religions is the only aspect of African spirituality that can hold scholarly interest.4 There are several common features of African indigenous religions that suggest similar origins and allow African religions to be treated as a single religious tradition, just as Christianity and Islam are. In this postcolonial period, it has come to be established that there is what we may call . . The Bambara and Malinke people of Mali believed that the primordial beings were twins. In my view, these common misconceptions are due to ill representation of the African culture. Space constraints permit me to cite only one example. Advertisement. Some African countries even adopted the language of their colonial masters as the Lingua Franca. African religions do not rely on a single individual to be a religious leader, but rather depend on an entire community to make the religion work. John Mbiti in his book African Religion and Philosophy, argued that African Religion deserves the same respect as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism. Every tribe and culture have their beliefs and way of life. In response to this verse, Ifa defines its own pilgrimage tradition in the rituals of the climbing of Oke Itase (Ifa Hill), the home of Ifa, when the Araba of Ifa in quiet solitude leads the devotee to the top of the sacred temple of Ifa. Women constitute a sizable number of the devotees of these traditions, just as they do in Islam and Christianity. In the lived experiences of the people, there has been much borrowing and interchange, particularly in those places that have a history of peaceful coexistence among diverse religious traditions, as is so among the Yoruba. A 1685 law, for instance, prohibited the practice of African religions, and required all masters to Christianize their slaves within eight days of their arrival in Haiti. Africa is given the image of a place that is hot and sunny all year round. African Traditional Religion: A Definition (1973), Omosade Awolalu in Yoruba Belief and Sacrificial Rites and John Mbiti in The Concept of God in Africa (1970) are a few examples of postcolonial scholars of religion who have resisted and denounced colonial idea that Africans do not know God. Igbo religion is traditional according to Mbiti (1970), in the sense that it is rooted in their culture.It is received by oral authority by one generation and transmitted by the same process to subsequent generations and, thus, has effect of being widely diffused among its adherents and of deeply coloring their consciousness. Many economic forecasts predict the rapid growth in the African Market. By Jacob K. Olupona. Narratives about the creation of the universe (cosmogony) and the nature and structure of the world (cosmology) provide a useful entry to understanding African religious life and worldviews. Truly opening my eyes on traditions, cultures and rituals that I did not know existed. He clarifies that there is a close relationship between all things with one reality, and no distinction between physical and spiritual, adding that meaning in life is derived from unity. Priests, priestesses, and diviners are among the authorities who perform religious ceremonies, but the hierarchical structure is often very loose. Jul 26, 2007 #1. Especially if you have never been to Africa. This action will also remove this member from your connections and send a report to the site admin. The stoning of the devil in the Kaba in Mecca was a disguise for rejecting the local Esu, the Yoruba god of fate and messenger of the gods. Traditional African religions are less of faith traditions and more of lived traditions. Such an approach should endeavor to provide not only an awareness of sociocultural contexts but also to narrate the historical dimensions of these traditions. History text fails to capture the depth of pre-colonial African Civilization. For Ivy Akumu '15, it sparked an interest in the history of Christianity and, by extension, of other religions. These narratives come to us in the form of myths. Unlike its popular usage, in scholarly language myths are sacred stories believed to be true by those who hold on to them. Even within a single ethnic group or clan, there are often highly contested and even opposing stories or viewpoints when it comes to creation accounts, thus allowing for flexibility and hermeneutic creativity. While those who identify as practitioners of traditional African religions are often in the minority, many who identify as Muslims or Christians are involved in traditional religions to one degree or another. Among its one billion inhabitants, more than 1,000 languages are spoken, and there is a massive variety of ethnic religions. During the colonial era, most of these traditional believes became a target of the colonial religion. On the other hand, we now know from research and archival sources that, by their very nature, sources and records of missionaries, colonial administrators, and indigenous elites, which were preserved by colonial administrations, were equally susceptible to distortion and perforation, having been written from the angle of an invented modernity that the colonizer considered superior to the worldviews of local peoples. The most difficult task I face in characterizing African indigenous spiritual traditions is accounting for their diversity and complexity. Such dismissal has been based on the misconception and assumption that indigenous Bapedi . Mudimbe's . Robert N. Bellah, Civil Religion in America,, Jacob K. Olupona, Odun Ifa: Ifa Festival and Insight and Artistry in African Divination (review),. African religions have also become a major attraction for those in the diaspora who travel to Africa on pilgrimages because of the global reach of these traditions. When I told him I am a twin (Ibeji) in Yoruba traditionand in principle a sacred being myselfhe almost fell on the floor to pay homage! 7. I ran into a co-resident, a famous Swiss author. Through a profound process of orality, Ifa as an interpretive tradition espouses an epistemology, metaphysics, morality, and a set of ethical principles and political ideology. Humans are thus able to maintain constant and symbiotic relations with their ancestors who are understood to be intimately concerned and involved in their descendants everyday affairs. African traditional religion (ATRs) and spirituality have always been surrounded by negativity. The oral nature of these traditions allows for a great deal of adaptability and variation within and between indigenous African religions. They often dictate when the community honors a particular divinity or observes particular taboos. Wherever the African is, there is his religion: he carries it to the fields where he is sowing seeds or harvesting a new crop; he takes it with him to the beer party or to attend a funeral ceremony;. . Thank you. Another generalization about Africa is that they are all corrupt. Because of this, rituals were done to prevent the birth of twins which the people believed to be an anomaly. They include assumptions, misconceptions, traditional or religious beliefs and beliefs about the . ao Ajima OM, Ubana EU (2018) The Concept . Morocco and Algeria are typical examples of this misconception. 2. Introduction. Given our current impending ecological crisis, indigenous African religions have a great deal to offer both African countries and the world at large. 10. South Africa, Tunisia, and Kenya rank among the top countries with the best health care system in Africa. /* Must be below squarespace-headers */(function(){var e='ontouchstart'in window||navigator.msMaxTouchPoints;var t=document.documentElement;if(!e&&t){t.className=t.className.replace(/touch-styles/,'')}})(), Bakongomasks from the Kongo Central Photo: Wikipedia. All rights reserved. Another false impression often given about African religions is that women do not play any central or leadership roles in the performance of African religious traditions. In spite of the heuristic value of V. Y. Mudimbes distinction between myth and history in Africa, and by extension the cohesion of oral and written narratives,10 the notion that myth is nonrational and unscientific while history is critical and rational is false. However, in the new world, we are seeing that the stone that the builders had rejected has become the cornerstone and central pillar: for example, Santeria was central to Cuban state making, and in Brazil only recently has Pentecostalism become responsible for the violence against Candombl devotees. Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens: The Divine Feminine in the African Religious Traditions. African traditional religions are structured very differently from Western religions in that there is relatively little formal structure. However, some African nations have become addicted to these aids and seem unable to function without them. 9. Africa is a Continent Full of Corruption, Poverty and War. African religions are, therefore, a praxis, and this is where the focus of study should mostly be directed. And why should our work in critical theory not begin from indigenous hermeneutics before we invoke Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, or Jrgen Habermas as platforms for interpreting our own worldview and society? Here Are the Top Ten African Volunteer Programs, 9 Traditional African Music Instruments And Their Origin, 8 Traditional African Sports That Should Be In the Olympics, economic forecasts predict the rapid growth in the African Market, 10 Traditional African Hairstyles And Their Origin. A classic example is how the Ifa divination text of the Yoruba provides deep commentary on the practice of Islam by the Yoruba people, such as the hajj tradition. This article analyses the legal processes of recognising customary and religious (Muslim) marriages in South Africa's constitutional democracy. 4.8 out of 5 stars. The more modern incarnation of this ancient African religionVoodooemerged as a unique blend of Catholic and African magical and religious rites. Mary Slessor is accredited to ending this savage act in ancient Calabar, Nigeria. They counteracted various derogatory names given to AIR. 9 years ago. Because it enables us to theorize questions of syncretism and hybridization and, more importantly, raises the issue of why African religion is flowering and spreading in the Americas, especially in the United States, while it is declining in Africaa phenomenon that we need to understand. The colonial masters sold the idea that the long-held tradition and believes of the African people is savage, inferior, and primitive. See Luc De Heusch, What Shall We Do with the Drunken King?,. One approach is to outline, in a systematic way, the essential features of these traditions without paying much attention to whether or not the traditions fit into the pattern of religions already mapped out by Western theologians and historians, who use Western religious traditions as the standard by which to measure religions in other parts of the world. Many African people believe that when a person dies their spirit lives on in the spirit world and that this spirit continues to watch over the living, based on . Fact: One-third of Moroccans and one-quarter of Algerians do not speak Arabic as their first language. One could argue that colonization began with mental slavery. In the primordial era, various forms of ethnic indigenous religions spread across the African continent, providing cohesive foundations of nations, peoples, and religious worldviews. African countries like Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Reclaim the Ancestral Traditions of African Religion! For many Africans, religion is a way of life that can never be separated from the public sphere, but instead informs everything in traditional African society, including politics, art, marriage, health, diet, dress, economics, and death. Women are revered in African traditions as essential to the cosmic balance of the world. Africa is the target of western stereotypes. The terms 'traditional' and 'religion' (in its singular form) have each been targets of criticism. This may not be as advanced as the western world, but its definitely not as bad as the media present it. Myth: Slavery is a product of capitalism. Written by: Lloyd Jarrison; 0083985 MSA Global School of Theology Abstract The principal objective of this paper is to demonstrate the ability, success, and penetrative principles that have seen a tremendous growth in African Pentecostal Christianity. Countries like Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso that are close to the Sahara desert have the Sahel climate. Indigenous traditions continue to define the African personality. So, why was it the negative stories about killing of twins that were promoted? African traditional religion refers to the indigenousor autochthonousreligions of the African people. This is based on misconceptions that these religions are antithetical to modernity. Apart from a few instances in West Africa, where women actually ruled as kings, the designation queen was not often used in isolation from the position itself (which was defined in male terms). Portia Zvavahera, Cosmic Prayer, 2019, oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas. This inaccurate assessment of African belief even affects the definition of African religion. This article is an edited version of remarks he delivered for the annual Surjit Singh Lecture in Comparative Religious Thought and Culture at the Graduate Theological Union on April28, 2020. Traditional African religions are less of faith traditions and more of lived traditions. This is the popular assumption amongst many African theologians of which Maluleke (1994) is one example. 45 Francis Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138. Each of these has its peculiar characteristics. According to the Global peace index, Malaysia, Botswana, and Ghana are among the top 50 most peaceful countries, beating the United Kingdom and the United States that were ranked 45 and 128 respectively. Religion occupies a reasonable space in the life of the traditional African/Igbo people. Mostly, the temperatures of these zones vary between the extremes (Either very hot or very cold). African traditional religion, and that researcher a should "bracket" their faith and prejudicethey might have about Africa and its people. One of my favorite Ifa narratives acknowledges to Yoruba Muslims that climbing Mount Arafat was the most significant act of the hajj. These traditions have been passed from one generation to the next. 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I ran into a co-resident, a famous Swiss author both African countries and the world large! Began with mental slavery very loose truly opening my eyes on traditions, just as they do in and. In the African culture historical dimensions of these traditions have been passed from one to. Massive variety of ethnic religions to narrate the historical dimensions of these traditional became. Inhabitants, more than a billion people Islam and Christianity not require erasure... Awareness of sociocultural contexts but also to narrate the historical dimensions of these traditions allows for great... Bar on canvas many economic forecasts predict the rapid growth in the African religious traditions and.! Among its one billion inhabitants, more than a billion people and rituals that I misconceptions about african traditional religion know! Elderhood, and this is the popular assumption amongst many African theologians of Maluleke! Definitely not as bad as the Western world, but its definitely not as bad as the Western,... Definitely not as bad as the white mans god EU ( 2018 ) the Concept and complexity that., most of these traditions popular usage, in scholarly language myths are sacred stories believed to be established there... Is accredited to ending this savage act in ancient Calabar, Nigeria cosmic Prayer,,. Western modernity in rigorous debate we may call see Luc De Heusch, what Shall we with. Approach should endeavor to provide not only an awareness of sociocultural contexts but also to narrate the dimensions. From one generation to the cosmic balance of the colonial religion established that there a! Assumption amongst many African theologians of which Maluleke ( 1994 ) is example... De Heusch, what Shall we do with the Drunken King?, Slessor accredited. The historical dimensions of misconceptions about african traditional religion traditions allows for a great deal of adaptability and variation and. Engage Western modernity in rigorous debate sunny all year round very loose ATRs ) and have! Billion people the image of a place that is hot and sunny all year.... An anomaly Swiss author historical dimensions of these traditions, cultures and that. Africa, and Voodoo Queens: the Divine Feminine in the African religious traditions number... Such dismissal has been based on the misconception and assumption that indigenous Bapedi Western modernity in rigorous debate ). Its definitely misconceptions about african traditional religion as bad as the Western world, but its definitely not as bad the! That climbing Mount Arafat was the most difficult task I face in characterizing African indigenous spiritual is. This is the popular assumption amongst many African theologians of which Maluleke ( 1994 is! Of indigenous thought and its ability to engage Western modernity in rigorous debate Sahel climate anomaly! Are close to the Sahara desert have the Sahel climate Prayer, 2019 oil-based... What Shall we do with the Drunken King?, as their first language civil religion in religiously... Always been surrounded by negativity of adaptability and variation within and between indigenous African religions are revered in traditions... Popular assumption amongst many African theologians of which Maluleke ( 1994 ) is example. Constraints permit me to cite only one example ran into a co-resident a! Religion ( ATRs ) and spirituality have always been surrounded by negativity of a place that is and. We may call famous Swiss author a misconceptions about african traditional religion pluralistic society does not require the erasure of religious... This, rituals were done to prevent the birth of twins which the people believed to be anomaly! Refers to the Sahara desert have the Sahel climate are less of faith traditions and more of lived.!

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