13. Mirau and His Practice: A Study of the Ethnomedical Repertoire of a Tanzanian Herbalist. Whether they had lived long ago or recently, they were honored as the founders of villages and kinship groups and served as custodians of culture and laws and as mediators between humans and the gods. Mbiti, John S. 1990. Funerals are a time for the community to be in solidarity and to regain its identity. "Religions of South Africa" pp. The night vigil is a time for pastoral care, to comfort and encourage the bereaved. Today, around 10 percent of the African population still practice some form of traditional religion. Some African rulers reappear as lions. There are quite a number of revival groups and movements whose main aim is to ensure that the tenants and practice of African indigenous religion that are threatened survive. 10. ^ Encyclopedia of African Religion (Sage, 2009) Molefi Kete Asante Because the dominance of Christianity and Islam in Africa has resulted in the rejection of certain mourning customs, the funeral becomes an opportunity to declare faith. Although there is recognition of the difference between the physical person that is buried and the nonphysical person who lives on, this must not be confused with a Western dualism that separates "physical" from "spiritual." The oral nature of these traditions allows for a great deal of adaptability and variation within and between indigenous African religions. The Sun and the Drum: African Roots in Jamaican Folk Tradition. There is ambivalence about attitudes to the recent dead, which fluctuate between love and respect on the one hand and dread and despair on the other, particularly because it is believed that the dead have power over the living. . Ritual is the means by which a person negotiates responsible relationships with other members of the community, with the ancestors, with the spiritual forces of nature, and with the gods. They proceed home with the assurance that the deceased relative is accompanying them to look after the family as an ancestor. , Often spoken of in the terms of a singularity, deliberate; yet conscious of the fact that Africa is a large continent with multitudes of nations who have complex cultures, innumerable languages and myriad dialects..  Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. In the nineteenth century African religion was studied almost exclusively by foreigners: missionaries, anthropologists, colonial rulers, and self-styled African experts. 1. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. Despite the general belief in a Supreme Being, cults to the “high God” are notably absent from many African religions; prayers of petition or sacrificial offerings are directed toward secondary divinities, who are messengers and intermediaries between the human and sacred realms. When someone has died in a house, all the windows are smeared with ash, all pictures in the house turned around and all mirrors and televisions and any other reflective objects covered. The relatively small numbers in the northern colonies often blended into households and adopted the variety of Christianity practiced there. , Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. Groups of gods were associated with natural phenomena, such as thunder, earth, and especially water. There are, however, areas where twins were traditionally considered to bring misfortune, and consequently one or both children would be killed for the protection of the community. It was within their power to grant or deny fertility and health to their devotees. In most cases possession is actively sought, induced through the ritual preparation of the participant. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. Since the nineteenth century these sources have increasingly been recorded in writing, and since the second half of the twentieth century, on film and on audiotapes and videotapes. 1972. Islam is the other major religion in Africa alongside Christianity, with 41% of the population being Muslim, accounting for 1/4 of the world's Muslim population. Following a birth, the placenta, which is believed to be the locus of one’s destiny and the soul’s twin, is buried in the family compound and watered for the first week of the child’s life. 8. Other faiths are practiced in Africa, including Aleyhim, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Rastafarianism among others. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. Transmigration (also called metempsychosis) denotes the changing of a person into an animal. 1. ), https://www.pewforum.org/2012/08/09/the-worlds-muslims-unity-and-diversity-1-religious-affiliation/#identity, "Government Must Find Solution for Baha'i Egyptians", "Regional Conferences of the Five Year Plan; November 2008–March 2009", https://rlp.hds.harvard.edu/religions/hinduism/hindu-diaspora, "Most Buddhist Nations (2010) - QuickLists - The Association of Religion Data Archives", "Most Chinese Universist Nations (2010) - QuickLists - The Association of Religion Data Archives", "Religious Adherents, 2010 – Mauritius (0.2% Buddhist + 1.3% Chinese Folk Religion)", https://books.google.com/books?id=pOcWLGktIYoC&pg=PA254, http://www.missiology.org.uk/pdf/cotterell-fs/15_ferdinando.pdf, "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency", "Numbers and Percentage of Muslims in African Countries", "Muslims of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)", Global Religious Landscape Table - Percent of Population - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, "Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Kenya", "Malawi Facts and Figures | RIPPLE Africa", "Welcome religiousintelligence.co.uk – BlueHost.com", "UGANDA 2016 INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT", "Religious Composition by Country, 2010-2050", "Refworld - 2008 Report on International Religious Freedom - Swaziland", "African Traditional Religion" in "The Story of Africa" from the BBC World Service, African Religions at Africa Missions Resource Center, Tutelary deities of the Akan people of West Africa, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Religion_in_Africa&oldid=983762443, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2015, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 16 October 2020, at 03:04. It is possible, however, to identify similarities in worldviews and ritual processes across geographic and ethnic boundaries. There have been several Muslim empires in Western Africa which exerted considerable influence, notably the Mali Empire, which flourished for several centuries and the Songhai Empire, under the leadership of Mansa Musa, Sunni Ali and Askia Mohammed. Ranger, Terence O., and Kimambo, Isaiah, eds. Unlike other world religions that have written scriptures, oral sources form the core of indigenous African religions. . In some communities children and unmarried adults are not allowed to attend the funeral. The Traditional Religions of Africa. established schools to train blacks for the ministry so that they would proselytize among their own people. https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-religions, "African Religions It especially had wide-scale growth in the 1950s which extended further in the 1960s. London: Heinemann, 1969. During the rite of renewal, the king is purified and washed, and the water running off his body is thought to bring the first rains of the new season. It should be noted that any attempt to generalize about the nature of “African religions” risks wrongly implying that there is homogeneity among all African cultures. Though usually associated with the intellectual lineage that runs from Cheikh Anta Diop (192…, African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe, African Religions: New Religious Movements, African Side-Necked Turtles: Pelomedusidae, African Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis), African Traditional Religions: Functionaries, African-American Award Winners and Honorees—Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, U.S. Postage Stamps, African-American Award Winners in Entertainment, Population Ethics: Religious Traditions, Islamic Perspectives, https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-religions, https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-religions, https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/african-religions, https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/african-religions. During the burial itself the immediate family of the deceased is expected to stay together on one side of the grave at a designated place. "Kings, Magic & Medicine". , Followers of traditional African religions pray to various spirits as well as to their ancestors. African Traditional Religions. Religion in Africa is multifaceted and has been a major influence on art, culture and philosophy.  Kwesi Yankah and John Mbiti argue that many African peoples today have a 'mixed' religious heritage to try to reconcile traditional religions with Abrahamic faiths. The life journey of the individual is marked with rites, particularly at birth, initiation, marriage, and death. It is important for Africans to discover which ancestor is reborn in a child, for this is a reason for deep thankfulness. (Spring, 1976). The positive use of this mystical power is cherished and plays a major role in regulating ethical relations in the community and in supplying answers to questions about the causes of good luck and misfortune. Burial and funeral rites serve, among other things, to send the departed in peace to the spirit world, and to express condolences to the bereaved. Blending of Tradition. Idowu, E. Bolaji. The emphasis is on the transformation of the traditional rite, while providing for the consolation of the bereaved family. Stories, proverbs, and taboos are employed in the teaching of morals. In such cases the community undergoes a healing process, physically and ethically.  Another distinction of East African and Horners is the greater prevalence of prophets within the oral traditionas and other forms of generational transmissions of traditional African religion. The possessed are referred to as “horsemen,” because they are “mounted” by the spirits and submit to their control. God is ultimately watching over the moral life of the community, society, and humankind. "“I have to Resemble My Ancestors through Modification of Midline Diastema”: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Dental Modification among Karrayyu Oromo, Central Ethiopia."
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