Introduction This article explores the place of African Traditional Religion (specifically Congolese Traditional Religion) in inter-religious encounters with Christianity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). on account of the persistent marginalisation of African Traditional Religion (ATR) in Sierra Leone by Islam and Christianity, to investigate the place of ATR in inter-religious encounters in the country since the advent of Islam and Christianity. Roman Catholic Christians also constitute 45% of Lesotho's population. Olupona rejects the western/islamic definition of Monotheism or Polytheism and says that such concepts could not reflect the complex African traditions and are simplistic. African Traditional Religion is referred to the diverse beliefs that are included in various ethnic regions in Africa.The religion is characterized mainly by: 1.Supreme Being The African societies and ethnic communities believed in a supreme being who had different names for different communities.The people worshiped this God through singing,offering sacrifices,dancing,dedications … Why African Religion. In Nigeria, Oshun festivals take place in the courtyard of the oba (king) as well as in the sacred grove of Oshun. religion is the very soul of African religion. There are also religions with a single Supreme being (Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, etc.). The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. General Overviews. Shrines are sanctuaries for animals and humans. According to Mbiti, “animism is the system of belief and practices based on the idea that objects and natural phenomena are inhabited by spirits or souls” (Mbiti 1996, 18). The indigenous religious beliefs and practices of African peoples include various traditional religions. By and large they had a much better perception of African Traditional Religion and they saw the relevance of the system of beliefs for African traditional society. If you meant “Yoruba traditional religion”, I would still have a hard time answering you because the traditional Yorubas believed in so many things. ATR (African Traditional Religion) Introduction Three religions dominates African continent: ATR, Islam and Christianity. The Benin Monarchy, Olokun & Iha Ominigbon. The Caribbean religion known as vodun or voodoo, for example, involves the worship of the vodu, meaning “spirit” in the West African language Fon. [39], For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). This knowledge of God through belief; became the cardinal point of the religion of Africans. Zulus are the largest black group inside South Africa. This is a list of African spirits and/or deities found within the traditional African religions.This list also covers spirits and/or deities found within the Afro-American religions—which mostly derives from traditional African religions. Ancestor Religion(s) and/or African Traditional Religion was pioneered by the University of Cape Town, in South Africa, that is, the coinage of the word and it was meat to serve academic purposes only. 37The Supreme Being 38. [15], Followers of traditional African religions are also found around the world. 38 African Traditional Religion Often the African concept of monotheism is one of a hierar- chy with a Supreme Being at its head. [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. Religious persecution. [40] With a long farming tradition, the Serer high priests and priestesses (Saltigue) deliver yearly sermons at the Xooy Ceremony (divination ceremony) in Fatick before Yoonir's phase in order to predict winter months and enable farmers to start planting.[41]. FOUNDED: 200,000–100,000 b.c.e. RELIGION: Traditional beliefs (worship of Modimo); Christianity ... the first human being emerged from a sea of reeds at a place called Ntswanatsatsi. Attributes of God (Supreme Being) in Africa: Attributes of God refers to words or phrases ascribing traits, properties, qualities or characteristics to the These are indigenous religions that practise an integrated form of worship, combining the Christian liturgy with the more ritualistic elements of traditional ancestral worship. RELIGION AS A PERCENTAGE OF WORLD POPULATION: 1.3 percent OVERVIEW. Xhosa traditional music places a strong emphasis on group singing and ... Power and Resistance in an African Society: The Ciskei Xhosa and the ... that had been taken from us we accept western religion as our own when there are people who relatively own the religion and are practising their worship … Britannica Book of the Year 2003. Religious traditions of Africa. Caves and sacred mountains, river banks, waterfalls, ruins, special trees are also used as sacred places where worship takes place. Introduction African traditional religions are the religions in Africa before the coming of the Europeans. The Semitic Abrahamic religion of Judaism is comparable to the latter world view. B. Ellis,16 and S. S. Farrow.17 The most Well, well. Symbolism and imagery in traditional religion include the carved statues housed in shrines, the veves traced on the ground in voodoo religion etc. 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. The challenge is to study faith, proverbs, traditions and mythology across Africa to identify the fragments of religion passed down as oral traditions and mythology in the great cultures of the continent. centre (Introduction to African Religions, 41, 42). [34] Some recognize a dual god and goddess such as Mawu-Lisa. [25], Some researchers, including historical ethnolinguist Christopher Ehret, suggest that certain monotheistic concepts, such as the belief in a creator god or force (next to other gods, deities and spirits) are ancient and indigenous among peoples of the Niger-Congo ethnolinguistic family (of much of West Africa and Central Africa) and date to the beginning of their history, in a form substantially different from the monotheism found in Abrahamic religions. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs. [31], When this trance-like state is witnessed and understood, adherents are privy to a way of contemplating the pure or symbolic embodiment of a particular mindset or frame of reference. The mode of worship, time of worship, and non-recognition of supreme beings are seen as some ways in which colonisation had influenced African traditional religious practices (Ekeke and Chike 2010 Encyclopædia Britannica. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.[36]. Traditional healers are common in most areas, and their practices include a religious element to varying degrees. Christian missionaries first arrived in the country by invitation of King Moshoeshoe I in the 1830s. Sometimes the worship of God is done through intercessors. Abidjan/Nairobi – “You can pray only if you are alive,” quips Abdallah Cissé Djiguiba, one of the grand imams in Cote d’Ivoire. Common Beliefs Traditional religion and beliefs of the Kikuyu. The religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa are Christianity and Islam. Worship is by way of utterances mainly, and not meditative, and comes in many forms, such as sacrifices and offerings; prayers, invocations, blessing and salutations; and intercessions. [23][24][20] San religion is generally non-theistic but a belief in a Spirit or Power of existence which can be tapped in a trance-dance; trance-healers. A traditional African practitioner would have no need to ascribe to any one “religion” in that there would no conflict in his mind between his traditional African spirituality and another faith for they would not be mutually exclusive. Normally this comes through the expression of exercising some kind of ritualized power. missionaries. The structure was originally built by a general named Uqba ibn Nafi as a Friday Mosque used for communal prayers on the Muslim holy day. 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. Traditional religion and beliefs of the Kikuyu. An important preoccupation of Mbiti’s work has been to show that knowledge of God and the worship of God have been staples of African life from the earliest times on the continent. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. They have replaced indigenous African religions, but are often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems. African traditional religions is a term referring to a variety of religions indigenous to the continent of Africa.. An African understanding, The List: The World's Fastest-Growing Religions, "US study sheds light on Africa's unique religious mix", Ian S. Markham,(A World Religions Reader. The ancestors are generally believed to reside in an ancestral realm (spiritworld), while some believe that the ancestors became equal in power to deities.[29]. The prayers are usually short, extemporaneous, and succinct, and may be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings. Some sacred or holy locations for traditional religions include Nri-Igbo, the Point of Sangomar, Yaboyabo, Fatick, Ife, Oyo, Dahomey, Benin City, Ouidah, Nsukka, Kanem-Bornu, Igbo-Ukwu, and Tulwap Kipsigis, among others. Personal devotion is very significant to Buddhism; it is so important that Buddhists create shrines in their own homes that help believers remember their ancestors and Buddhist texts. This is because African Traditional Religion is a natural religion while Islam and Christianity are salvation religions. This religion is about the death which means the end of one phase and the beginning of another. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society and so on .because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the worldview of the African people. They respond to this awareness by worshipping through deeds and sayings that vary from community to community. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. Diviner (also known as priest) are also sought for their wisdom as counselors in life and for their knowledge of herbal medicine. [10][11][12][13][14] The two Abrahamic religions are widespread across Africa, though mostly concentrated in different areas. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. African Traditional Religion is associated with fatalism, rooted in animism and ancestor veneration. They are mostly requests to satisfy a particular need or to give thanks. Invocations are calls for God's intervention into a particular matter. Natural religions are indigenous and automatically a part of the person’s life, while salvation religions have to … The most prominent were R. S. Rattray, [14] P. A. Talbot, [15] A. Anansi came to be calle… (Worship of the vodun is the original source of the Haitian religion of Vodou, which emerged as a syncretism of African, Roman Catholic, and Caribbean religious traditions by African slaves in Haiti.) African Traditional Religions. It is not brought from outside. Ancestors can offer advice and bestow good fortune and honor to their living dependents, but they can also make demands, such as insisting that their shrines be properly maintained and propitiated. It is best distinguished as ATR. Monotheism does not reflect the multiplicity of ways that the traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings. This study attempts and examines what some scholars have written about African traditional religion, its beliefs and practices, and brought it together to form what may be called the worship of God in the religion. The Zulu are a traditional hunter-gathering ethnic group in South Africa. B. Ellis, [16] and S. S. Farrow. Animism builds the core concept of traditional African religions, this includes the worship of tutelary deities, nature worship, ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife.While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. It is described as the product of thinking and experience of African forefathers and mothers of Unit 1 God in Africa: Concept, Attributes and Worship..... 43 Unit 2 Cult of the Divinities in Africa ..... 51 Unit 3 The Nature and Concept of Humanity in African ... African Traditional Religion: The Quest for Appropriate Nomenclature The Structure of African Traditional Religion INTRODUCTION TO RELIGION CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction The independent churches combine elements of African traditional religion with the doctrines of Christianity. God is omnipresent, and he is reachable at any time and in any place. The belief in God as a supreme being is central to all the traditional religions but there are a … Extract. His family both attended church and practiced ancestral worship – venerating and consulting the living dead. The symbol can be found throughout Ghana. [37] The deities and spirits are honored through libation or sacrifice (of animals, vegetables, cooked food, flowers, semi-precious stones and precious metals). This pattern of behaviour is by no means found in all societies, but the concept of intermediaries is found almost everywhere," Mbiti says. Some castings are done using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground (often within a circle). Among Nilo-Saharan speakers is the belief in Divinity; evil is caused by divine judgement and retribution; prophets as middlemen between Divinity and man. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. African Traditional Religion has grown out of the African soil. Worship also takes place in individual homes. ... Cosmic Force, cultural distortion, darkness and superstition, material God, Traditional Religion. Zulu Religion Burials Like many cultures, the Zulu people believe that life doesn't end with death but continues in the spiritual world. The nature of the two classes of religions are very different from each other. Most times many writers see the religions in Africa as homogenous while others see them in plurality. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Examples include social behaviors such as the respect for parents and elders, raising children appropriately, providing hospitality, and being honest, trustworthy, and courageous. Traditional Zulu Religion Throughout Zulu history, there has been hardly an aspect of traditional Zulu life in which religion has not played a part: in warfare, in ceremonies, in the different stages and crises in people's personal lives, in agriculture and economic well-being and so on. [33] This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. [21][22] New world religions such as Santería, Vodun, and Candomblé, would be derived from this world. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religion of the African people. This is part of democracy. This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. The former involves the killing of an animal, which is given in parts or entirely to God. 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. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. 62 African Traditional Religion A traditional mask from Benin inWest Africa worn during the Gelede ceremony.The masks are worn by men during a ritual performance that takes place between March and May at the beginning of the new agricultural season. 'The Afri-can attitude to God is perhaps understood least' (Sawyer, 1970, p. ix). The mosque also enjoys recognition as the oldest Muslim place of worship in Africa. 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. Religion in Igbo traditional society partakes fully of all the features of world traditional religion, including its beliefs, sacred myths, oral qualities, strong appeal to the hearts of adherents, high degree of ritualization, and possession of numerous participatory personages such as officiating elders, kings, priests, and diviners. Worship or Religion is the foundation of the Black Race, the African worldview, thought, philosophy and ideology. • Many pray to the dead and make offerings to ancestors Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. 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. From the Traditional Music and Cultures of Kenya, a multimedia encyclopaedia dedicated to all Kenyan tribes, including music and dance, history, culture, society, religion and beliefs, rituals and daily life, fables, legends, riddles and proverbs. Strangely, the king himself did not convert to Christianity and even divorce… Introduction to African religion. Temples are huge houses, generally cared for by a priest. The three essential features of African traditional religions are belief, worship and morality. [1][7], Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. Protestant Christians of Lesotho account for 45% of the population, particularly Evangelicals (26%) and other Protestant groups (19%). Blier argues that the vertical houses of the Batammaliba (which they consider places of worship) are designed to emphasize their belief that God is the highest one and are oriented in an east-west path to face Kuiyekulie, the dwelling place of Kuiye. These intercessors include elders, ordained priests, seers, prophets, oracles, diviners (links between God and mankind), medicine-men, and rainmakers, and the spirits of the living-dead (people who have recently died). There is a deep cultural connection to the ancestors in David’s family and local community – as there is in many communities across Africa. of God in any African Traditional Religion is asking for trouble, because the meaning of the English terms come with such a long his-tory, from the Latin, of theological baggage, that it is not at all natural to give space to the African meanings in their context. The theological tenets and doc- The Great Mosque of Kairouan, founded in 670, is a treasure trove of history and is at the heart of the city’s heritage. Prior to the arrival of Christianity in Lesotho during the early 19th century, most of the Sotho people followed traditional African beliefs. [26][20][21][27], Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. One religious ceremony practiced in Gabon and Cameroon is the Okuyi, practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups. 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. According to him, the belief in spirits and ancestors is the most important element of African religions. Today, around 10 percent of the African population still practice some form of traditional religion. According to Clemmont E. Vontress, the various religious traditions of Africa are united by a basic Animism. Graphic: Matthew White. Among Niger–Congo-speakers is a belief in a creator God, force or higher deity, which is considered by some to be a widespread and ancient feature of Niger-Congo-cultures,[19][20][21] along with other more specialized deities, ancestor spirits, territorial spirits, and beings, as well as evil caused by human ill will and neglecting ancestor spirits, and priests of territorial spirits. Traditional African religions are not stagnant but highly dynamic and constantly reacting to various shifting influences such as old age, modernity, and technological advances. Christianity in the Gambia Christians are the second biggest religious group in the Gambia and account for about 9% of the country's population. African people relate to or worship God through praying, singing and dancing, making sacrificial offerings, dedications and invoking blessings. "Traditional Religion", in his. 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