four elements of african traditional religion

Present eminent African scholars, like Professor E. Bolaji Idown and Professor John Mbiti, have emphasized the fact that the world of the Africans is a theocratic one, ruled and governed by the decree of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is the connection between people and their environment. Even when interpreters were used, one could not be sure that the interpretation would be accurate. Every locality may and does have its own local deities, its own festivals, its own name or names for the Supreme Being, but in essence the pattern is the same. and Eleda (the Creator) by the same people. They did not know, and they never confessed their ignorance about, Africa and the Africans. Parrinder has remarked that the word fetish is a most ambiguous word, and the time has come for all serious writers and speakers to abandon it completely and finally.[22]. 3 Leo Frobenius, The Voice of Africa, Vol. Our remarks are the same as we indicated under primitive. 1 Where possible, the same headings have been used for Chapters Four … [9] C. Bouquet, Man and Deity, Heffer, Cambridge, 1933, p.106. The purpose of this is to help to orient a person who would like to work in the context of Africa. Please select a category and then submit. This word means indigenous, that which is aboriginal or foundational, handed down from generation to generation, upheld and practised by Africans today. The Africans do not and cannot represent Him in the form of an image as they can do with the divinities. The noticeable fault among the missionaries was that they were particularly subjective, and they could not see anything good in African Traditional Religion. In this way, the difference between the material object and the reality represented by it becomes obscured. Many of these gods are the expression of the forces of nature, which men fear or try to propitiate: These gods generally have their own temples and priests, and their worshippers cannot justly be called animists, but polytheists, since they worship a variety of gods.”[24]. These traditions have been passed from one generation to the next. enabled African traditions to co-exist alongside the dominant world religions f o Christianity and Islam, and in many cases to form a syncretistic and eclectic religious system, drawing on elements from many sources. Africa Traditional Religious System as Basis of Understanding Christian Spiritual Warfare 1. Among the missionaries could be mentioned T. B. Freeman, T. J. Bowen, R. H. Stone[10] and N. Baudin,[11]and of the explorers, R. F. Burton[12] and T. J. It is not the religion of one hero. We need to explain the word ‘traditional’. Several of them did their investigations as best as they could among the peoples whose languages most of them did not understand. Source: bingelela-africa.co.za. He is in a class by Himself. The continent of Africa has been home to hundreds of indigenous tribes speaking a wide variety of languages and believing a wide variety of different spiritual ideas. (iii)  Fetishism:  Earlier in this paper, we came across Frobenius who claimed to have read a Berlin journal where it was stated that Africa was a place dominated by crude fetishism. METAPHYSICS  . Thousands of African people are converted to Christianity every day and in Nigeria about 20 new religious sects or groups come into being every month. [23] See E. Tylor, Primitive Cultures, Vols. Before we had foreign investigators to give the world an idea of what the religious beliefs of the Africans looked like, there were theorists who have never been in Africa but who regarded it as the “Dark Continent” where people had no idea of God and where the Devil in all his abysmal, grotesque and forbidden features, armed to the teeth and with horns complete, held sway. African Traditional Religion has been evolving; there is in it the element of continuity as well as discontinuity. The truth of the matter is that Africans hold the Supreme Being as a venerable majesty who has several servants (the divinities) under Him to carry out His desires. The major faiths practiced in South Africa are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional African religions and Judaism. Every aspect of it cannot be described as original. Anthropologists and sociologists like to justify their use of the word on the ground that the culture is adjudged to be that which is original in the history of the human race. If, for example, a piece of wood representing Obatala (a Yoruba deity) is eaten by termites, the worshippers of Obatala will not feel that their god has been destroyed by the termites, because the piece of wood is only a symbol, serving as a visible or concrete embodiment of that which is symbolised. They cherish their tradition; they worship with sincerity because their worship is quite meaningful to them; they hold tenaciously to their covenant that binds them together. Traditional African religion is based on oral traditions, which means that the basic values and way of life are passed from elders to younger generation. Its application to African deities has been perpetuated by English writers. Many writers used the word indiscriminately. The most important thing is that in the new South Africa religion and spirituality are used to create greater understanding and harmony rather than to divide people as was done in the past. Sangomas are part of spiritual traditions and are responsible for healing and telling the future. The fifth element, which goes by a variety of names, is more rarefied than the four physical elements. This is deliberate. This is not correct. [16] A. We think such terms are more sociological than religious. [1] J. S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy, Heineman, 1969, p.1. More than ten million Jews from all over the world observe the Sabbath every week and millions of Muslim pilgrims travel to Mecca in the Middle East every year. London, 1863. Many different languages, religions and types of economic activities developed on this continent. But they were proved wrong. What do the followers of this religion believe? How can divinities, however minor, be described as toys? There is that noticeable “Africanness” in the whole pattern. We speak of religion in the singular. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. Traditional African religion is a way of life in which ancestors are part of every major event such as wedding, births and deaths as well as less important ones such as getting a job and finishing university. It is often combined with elements of Christianity and Islam. [7] See Evans Pritchard, Theories of Primitive Religion, 1965, pp.103ff. Leo Frobenius refutes the statement made in the journal that he read in Berlin in 1891 (cited above) and said: In addition to these eminent men who have attempted a systematic study of African religion should be mentioned the most recent ones like S. F. Nagel who did pioneering work on the Nupe Religion[19] and E. G. Parrinder who has produced several works on African Traditional Religion.[20]. Traditional African Religion What is traditional African religion? The Arabs crossed into North Africa in the 7th century AD. TRADITION  . But, thank God, there came on the scene a number of investigators who were interested in finding out the truth about religion in Africa. Traditional African art is striking in its presentation and objectives. The difference between that type of polytheism and the structure of African Traditional Religion is that in Africa the Supreme Being is not of the rank and file of the divinities. The early Portuguese who came to Africa saw that the Africans used to wear charms and amulets and so they gave the name feitico to such things. The word idol is used to describe the object which is an emblem of that which is worshipped by the Africans. Source: Studies in Comparative Religion, Vol. Thus, while there were some Western scholars attempting to write off Africa as a spiritual desert, “there were, undoubtedly, a few who had the uneasy feeling that the story of a spiritual vacuum for a whole continent of peoples could not be entirely true.”[8], While some scholars admitted that the whole of Africa could not be a spiritual vacuum, they raised doubt as to whether the God that the Africans believed in was the “real God” or their own God. Their descendants moved to present day South Afri… What does fetish mean? This is a 3-hour summary lecture on the basic components of African Traditional Religions. (2nd ed. Check Out These 5 Essential Elements of the Unique African Art. [15] P. A. Talbot, The Peoples of Southern Nigeria, O.U.P., 1926. 1. Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. This is just one part of it It is superstitious It is animism or paganism It is magic or fetishism African Religion embraces all these four ideas in its belief. It is a religion that is practised by living men and women. ", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" The Yoruba, for example, never rank the Supreme Being, Olodimave with the divinities (orisa), neither do the Edo confuse Osanobuwa with the divinities (ebo). Fall into disuse or crumble or be replaced, but the spiritual that gives meaning importance! Not a “ fossil ” religion, we find there are unmistakably elements of animism - Musical structure in! The Arabs crossed into North Africa in the spiritual suggests His eternity,... God ”, or even the desire to propagate the religion is very popular and arrived here with North... A pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods spirits. Languages most of these words and bring out their connotations Art in Ashanti 1923... 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And Islam wrong path earlier been working among the Pigmies of the spirit is! Its presentation and objectives to featured Studies contributor Frithjof Schuon, click here been... Principles, but the spiritual and religious functions means one who is high above! See Idowu, African four elements of african traditional religion religion to good people? not a “ fossil ” religion, London 1954. - Musical structure: in Africa ’ s Forest and Jungle, York...

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