West and Central African religious practices generally manifest themselves in communal ceremonies or divinatory rites in which members of the community, overcome by force (or ashe, nyama, etc. He summarizes that traditional African religions are not only religions, but a worldview, a way of life. This facilitates better control and transformation of these energies into positive, culturally appropriate behavior, thought, and speech. He also notes that most modern African folk religions were strongly influenced by non-African religions, mostly Christianity and Islam and thus may differ from the ancient forms. Although the majority of Africans are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Virtue in traditional African religion is often connected with carrying out obligations of the communal aspect of life. All Christians are listed in one category regardless of their denominations. Some religious and non-religious scholars alike have always highlighted that of all the races in the world that God created the African is said to be the most notoriously religious. Christianity and Islam make up the largest religions in contemporary Africa, and some sources say that less than 15% still follow traditional African religions. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. However the most dominant ones in Ghana and Africa are Islam and Christianity, both accounting for more than 90% of religious adherents, with the rest, including traditional beliefs, having less than 10% of adherents. This Ghanaian Adinkra symbol means \"except for God\" and symbolizes the supremacy of God. Most African societies believe in a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). Ancestors (ancestral ghosts/spirits) are an integral part of reality. The defining line between deities and ancestors is often contested, but overall, ancestors are believed to occupy a higher level of existence than living human beings and are believed to be able to bestow either blessings or illness upon their living descendants. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. Main article: Persecution of traditional African religion. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. Westerners, and even most misinformed Africans, are wont to use derogatory words such as primitive, idolatry, paganism etc. Welcome to the summary lecture of African Traditional Religions. to tag the traditional religion of Africans and believe […] Religion enters into every aspect of the life of the Africans and it cannot be studied in isolation. In Sierra Leone, Botswana, and Burkina Faso more than 33 percent follow African religion, although it is not the religion of the majority. All aspects of weather, thunder, lightning, rain, day, moon, sun, stars, and so on may become amenable to control through the cosmology of African people. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. According to Gottlieb and Mbiti: The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. This is a 3-hour summary lecture on the basic components of African Traditional Religions. Main article: List of African mythological figures. In Africa the traditional religions are a major source for the study of the African experience of God. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society, and so on. Such separation and subsequent contemplation of the nature and sources of pure energy or feelings serves to help participants manage and accept them when they arise in mundane contexts. It is impossible to generalize about concepts in African religions because they are ethno-religions, being determined by each ethnic group in the continent. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. Yet certain aspects of African faiths differ from those of most world religions. Other people believed that Ngai’s abode was on Mount Kenya, or else ‘beyond’ its peaks. The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). Rites of Passage – In the rites of passage, African traditional religions played a significant role. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. [35], Traditional African religions generally believe in an afterlife, one or more Spirit worlds, and Ancestor worship is an important basic concept in mostly all African religions. The three main religious traditions—African traditional religion, Christianity, and Islam—constitute the triple religious heritage of the African continent. Today, the countries of Africa contain a wide variety of religious beliefs, and statistics on religious affiliation are difficult to come by. See also: Divination, Early-20th-century Yoruba divination board. . He noted that it is where Africans and for that matter Ghanaians belong. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. Traditional African beliefs and cultural practices cannot be fully discussed without the subject of religion being highlighted. Its study has to go hand-in-hand with the study of the people who practise the religion. Also, this practice can also give rise to those in these trances uttering words which, when interpreted by a culturally educated initiate or diviner, can provide insight into appropriate directions which the community (or individual) might take in accomplishing its goal. The will of the gods or spirits is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination. For instance, the Yoruba religion has historically been centered in southwestern Nigeria, the Zulu religion in southern Africa, and the Igbo religion in southeastern Nigeria. Peavy, D., (2009). The country straddles the equator, covering a total of 224,961 square miles (582,600 square kilometers; roughly twice the size of the state of Nevada). He gave birth to the human community, created the first Kikuyu communities, and provided them with all the resources necessary for life: land, rain, plants and animals. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world.”. ), World Christian Encyclopedia, summarized here, "Ancient African Religion Finds Roots In America", "The Need to Re-Conceptualize African Traditional Religion", The Civilizations of Africa: A History to 1800, Black God: the Afroasiatic roots of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions, Sayings of the Ancient One - Wisdom from Ancient Africa, culture-exchange.blog/animism-modern-africa, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Traditional_African_religions&oldid=997452558, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with dead external links from October 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Manjonjo Healers of Chitungwiza of Zimbabwe, Information presented here was gleaned from, Chidester, David. For the Kikuyu, according to their primary supreme creator, Ngai, acting through the lesser deities, is believed to speak to and be capable of guiding the virtuous person as one’s conscience. . Africa is a massive continent with diverse religious traditions, to the extent that within the same tradition there have been variations. Thunder is interpreted to be the movement of God, and lightning is God’s weapon by means of which he clears the way when moving from one sacred place to another. Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. They include the Protestants, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Independent and non-affiliated Christians. Africa is a vast continent, with many races, but in religion as in other matters it is helpful for study to divide the continent at the Sahara Desert. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. 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