In a country with around 41 million illiterate adults, where only 92 million have internet access, religious and traditional leaders are crucial in the transmission of information. According to Clemmont E. Vontress, the various religious traditions of Africa are united by a basic Animism. Among Afro-Asiatic-speakers is henotheism, the belief in one's own gods but accepting the existence of other gods; evil here is caused by malevolent spirits. In some traditional African religions, morality is associated with obedience or disobedience to God regarding the way a person or a community lives. 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. Between the 1500s and the 1800s, many thousands of Africans were brought to the Americas as slaves. , Traditional African medicine is also directly linked to traditional African religions. Characteristics of African religion A Supreme being: Throughout most of Africa there is belief of a supreme being, described by one or more names, either in terms of activities or place of abode. The African * Academic researcher, Department of World Religions & Culture, University of Dhaka. African religions take inspiration and encouragement from the morality and belief system of Christianity and Islam, but have their original exploration of religion. Christian missionaries first arrived in the country by invitation of King Moshoeshoe I in the 1830s. Several African countries have banned gatherings and locked down cities and towns to suppress the spread of COVID-19. He summarize that traditional African religions are not only religions, but a worldview, a way of life. Traditional religion and beliefs of the Kikuyu. , 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. God is omnipresent, and he is reachable at any time and in any place. A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. Their myths and legends helped shape the black cultures that developed in the Caribbean islands and the United States. In traditional African societies, many people seek out diviners on a regular basis. It is described as the product of thinking and experience of African forefathers and mothers of The possessed are referred to as “horsemen,” because they are … The most prominent were R. S. Rattray,14 P. A. Talbot,15 A. It is often said there are more places of worship than schools or hospitals. 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 pattern of behaviour is by no means found in all societies, but the concept of intermediaries is found almost everywhere," Mbiti says. The religion is a mixture of traditional Yoruba, Fon and Bantu beliefs which originated from different regions in Africa, and it has also incorporated some aspects of the Catholic faith over time. The will of the gods or spirits is sought by the believer also through consultation of divinities or divination. Traditions by region Encyclopædia Britannica, (2003), Index of African mythology and creation narratives, List of African deities and mythical figures, Traditional African Religion and other religions, Persecution of traditional African religion, "The world of spirits and the respect for nature: towards a new appreciation of animism", "Animism: Foundation of Traditional Healing in Sub-Saharan Africa", What is religion? African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religion of the African people. Traditional African religion has common themes such as a Creator or High God, positive ancestor influences as well as tricksters, and an afterlife with spirit worlds. Religious traditions of Africa. traditional culture, Islam and Christianity have inspired them most. , 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 traditional African understanding and the interpretation of Christianity have deep roots in these fundamental beliefs of the African traditional religions. A place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. The prayers are usually short, extemporaneous, and succinct, and may be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings. This was not unusual. African Traditional Religion is a thriving scholarly business, but a serious disconnect exists between contributions that celebrate a generalized African Traditional Religion and those that describe particular religions and aspects of religion on the basis of ethnographic and archival research. 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. Christianity and the African traditional religion(s): The postcolonial round of engagement ... is to be seen in worship of African deities, ... ‘belonging to a particular place rather than coming . While some traditions have a supreme being (next to other deities), others have not. In the United States Vudon is more predominant in the states along the Gulf of Mexico. Monotheism does not reflect the multiplicity of ways that the traditional African spirituality has conceived of deities, gods, and spirit beings. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1996. They respond to this awareness by worshipping through deeds and sayings that vary from community to community. There are generally no prohibitions against the practice. • It is found in rituals, ceremonies and festivals of … African Religion is ancestor worship. The nature of the two classes of religions are very different from each other. O ne scholar who has written extensively on African Traditional Religion is John Mbiti, a Kenyan whom many consider the dean of living African theologians. 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. Most religions can be described as animistic with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. A member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group. • In Traditional African Religion: • Many scholars of traditional African religion report that the ancestors are so important that they eclipse the gods in the concern and worship that they receive. Encyclopædia Britannica. ," John S. Mbiti says in African Religions and Philosophy. , For example, in the Serer religion, one of the most sacred stars in the cosmos is called Yoonir (the Star of Sirius). In this state, depending upon the region, drumming or instrumental rhythms played by respected musicians (each of which is unique to a given deity or ancestor), participants embody a deity or ancestor, energy or state of mind by performing distinct ritual movements or dances which further enhance their elevated consciousness. Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here … The third level in African Traditional Religion is the earthly tier, which is the functionaries who are responsible for maintaining the harmony, balance, and order in the African traditional system. Sometimes the worship of God is done through intercessors. Singing is very common in religious gatherings and ceremonies, "which not only helps to pass on religious knowledge from one person to a group or another, but helps create and strengthen corporate feelings and solidarity".  This includes also nature, elementary and animal spirits. Praying is the commonest form of worship among traditional African peoples. Most African societies believe in several “high gods” and a large amount of lower gods and spirits. 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 Belief. As in most of sub-Saharan Africa, ATR is the indigenous religion … This builds skills at separating the feelings elicited by this mindset from their situational manifestations in daily life. Ancestors (ancestral ghosts/spirits) are an integral part of reality. Copyright © 2020 The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited. RELIGION: Traditional beliefs (worship of Modimo); Christianity ... the first human being emerged from a sea of reeds at a place called Ntswanatsatsi. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship.Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. Modernity has not put a total stop to the influence of Indigenous African spirituality Photo: DailyPost It is best understood as the traditional African worldview. 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. Though there is no strict time and place of worship, worship takes place in special shrines, temples, altars, groves and other sacred places used for public sacrifices and prayers. This list is limited to a few well-known traditions. Shrines are located in a separate room or a quiet area of the home. But importantly, they are done to restore the balance between man and God. , Adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa are distributed among 43 countries and are estimated to number over 100 million. It is a common feeling among traditional African peoples that direct communication must not be made with God by just about anybody, but through special people or spirits. The belief in God as a supreme being is central to all the traditional religions but there are a … "It is also an act and occasion of making and renewing contact between God and man ... ," John S. Mbiti says in African Religions and Philosophy. 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. 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). European and other foreign settlers brought most of these religions. All these persons serve different purposes. Worship or Religion is the foundation of the Black Race, the African worldview, thought, philosophy and ideology. READ MORE: Nigerian private sector needs to stay home. Very popular in the rural areas, the African Religion has a strong sense of community worship, rather than the more individualistic routine of modern Christianity. The difference between powerful spirits and gods is often minimal. 3. The religion of the Yoruba is finding roots in the Islands of the Caribbean and portions of Central and South America. Keywords: Place, African Traditional Religion, the Democrati c Republic of the Congo, Advent, Christianity 1. Anansi came to be calle… In the African traditional religions, the main beliefs are, God, the divinities, spirits and ancestors. Shrines are sanctuaries for animals and humans. 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 … Temples are huge houses, generally cared for by a priest. 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. Main article: Persecution of traditional African 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. All Rights Reserved. The Great Mosque of Kairouan, founded in 670, is a treasure trove of history and is at the heart of the city’s heritage. B. Ellis,16 and S. S. Farrow.17 The most S. Mbiti, John (1991). 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. These are indigenous religions that practise an integrated form of worship, combining the Christian liturgy with the more ritualistic elements of traditional ancestral worship. ATR (African Traditional Religion) Introduction Three religions dominates African continent: ATR, Islam and Christianity. Extract. For centuries the barriers of desert, tropical forest, and sea prevented religions from spreading south. However, there were many traditional religions practiced prior to the arrival of these two religions. The independent churches combine elements of African traditional religion with the doctrines of Christianity. Animism, belief in innumerable spiritual beings concerned with human affairs and capable of helping or harming human interests.Animistic beliefs were first competently surveyed by Sir Edward Burnett Tylor in his work Primitive Culture (1871), to which is owed the continued currency of the term. , Traditional African religions can be broken down into linguistic cultural groups, with common themes. 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 religion is about the death which means the end of one phase and the beginning of another. Some African religions adopted different views through the influence of Islam or even Hinduism.. Religion and information. Protestant Christians of Lesotho account for 45% of the population, particularly Evangelicals (26%) and other Protestant groups (19%). Most traditional African religions have, for most of their existence, been orally/spiritually (rather than scripturally) transmitted or practiced. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship.Temples, churches, synagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. This page was last edited on 21 December 2020, at 00:40. Caves and sacred mountains, river banks, waterfalls, ruins, special trees are also used as sacred places where worship takes place. 17–19, Parrinder, Geoffrey. 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 prayers are usually short, extemporaneous, and succinct, and may be accompanied by sacrifices and offerings. Since Africa is a large continent with many ethnic groups and cultures, there is not one single technique of casting divination. Ancestor veneration has always played a "significant" part in the traditional African cultures and may be considered as central to the African worldview. African religion centres on belief and practices. This is part of democracy. 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. Umewaen: Journal of Benin & Edoid Studies: Osweego, NY. This belief, just as in the case of the previous one, has a theological basis – the plurality of divinities ( polytheism ). Traditional Africa religions. Introduction African traditional religions are the religions in Africa before the coming of the Europeans. 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). 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. , Although the majority of Africans today are adherents of Christianity or Islam, African people often combine the practice of their traditional belief with the practice of Abrahamic religions. 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. 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. RELIGION AS A PERCENTAGE OF WORLD POPULATION: 1.3 percent OVERVIEW. "There is no limit as to where and when African peoples perform one or more act of worship. Religious persecution. Cattle have always been the primary form of subsistence ... Zulus have some common beliefs and traditions. 37. Roman Catholic Christians also constitute 45% of Lesotho's population. Here is a question requiring a whole article of its own, and I’ll tell you why. 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