But experience shows that material representation often becomes a danger in religion when the worshippers make the emblems an end in themselves. Farrow. Meditation is one of the most powerful ways to develop your African spirituality! European and other foreign settlers brought most of these religions.  R. F. Burton, Abeokuta and the Cameroons Nits, Vol. 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. European and other foreign settlers brought most of these religions. B. Ellis, and S. S. But they were proved wrong. Here, while Parrinder was trying to discourage the use of the term animism in connection with the religion of Africa, he created another problem by suggesting the term polytheism. Most of them were Bantu -speaking people and were the ancestors of many South Africans, especially the Nguni groups like the Zulu and Xhosa. Beliefs about witches are, of course, not directly observable, but they may have overt consequences in everyda… Juju is, therefore, one of the misleading and derogatory terms used by investigators out of either sheer prejudice or ignorance. However, the adherents are loyal worshippers and, probably because of this, Africans who have their roots in the indigenous religion, find it difficult to sever connection with it. 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. Africans are not so low in intelligence as to be incapable of distinguishing between an emblem or symbol of worship and a doll or toy. This is ludicrous. Hutchinson.. 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.. Where to look for and find African Tradition Religion? This is why it is not appropriate to describe the religion as polytheistic. ‘The Healing Wisdom of Africa‘ is designed more as a guide for people looking to reconnect with nature, within and without, using the Medicine Wheel and the five elements as a framework. South Africa is called the rainbow nation because of its variety of people, cultures and religions.  R. S. Rattray, Religion and Art in Ashanti, O.U.P., 1927.  E. W. Smith, (ed. (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. Divinatory ritual is the centrepiece of African religions, because it opens to all a channel of mediation with the gods. Ouidah in particular is a focus for these ceremonies, and thousands of adepts, traditional chiefs and fetish priests gather here to perform fascinating rites and rituals. A believer's family still has influence over him or her even if they live far away.  Many writers still describe the African Traditional Religion as animistic. , Father Schmidt had earlier been working among the Pigmies of the Congo in Central Africa. The term “Primal” is used to refer to religions which were there prior to the so-called “universal” religions such as Christianity, Islam, etc. To please these unhappy ancestors, usually offerings of beer and meat are made. Religion in most African societies also supports moral order. Traditional African religions also have elements of fetishism, shamanism and veneration of relics. But Rattray corrected this wrong notion of the early investigators when he said: We see, then, that it would be quite wrong to describe the religion of Africa as fetishism. Please select a category and then submit. Scorned at one time, the world is now re-discovering the beauty of this art form, as is evidenced by the increasing number of takers for the distinctive objects of art, which showcase the cultural values of different African regions. ), African Ideas of God, Edinburgh, 1966, p.1. Traditional African Religion What is traditional African religion? The Ibo call Him Chükwu, that is the Great Chi or the Great Source of life and of being. Source: bingelela-africa.co.za. People are also encouraged to learn about and respect different spiritual practices. 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. The Africans do not and cannot represent Him in the form of an image as they can do with the divinities. Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here with our North and West African ancestors. 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. For example, among the Yoruba, He is called Olodumare. The four elements of religion described above – the significance of gods and spirits, the power of holy rituals, the telling of sacred stories and belonging to faith communities – seem in their own ways to be a core aspect of the human condition in the twenty-first century. It needs to be emphasized that the Supreme Being cannot be represented like the divinities.  E. B. Idowu, Olodumare, Longmans, 1962, p.202f. 2 E. B. Idowu, African Traditional Religion, S.C.M., 1973, p.87. Short Description is required. Every religion has some belief in the existence of the spirit. (i) Primitive: The New Webster Encylopedic Dictionary defines primitive as ‘pertaining to the beginning or origin; original; first; old fashioned; characterized by the simplicity of old times.’.  Noel Baudin, Fetishism and Fetish Worshippers, New York, 1885. The Arabs crossed into North Africa in the 7th century AD. 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 noticeable fault among the missionaries was that they were particularly subjective, and they could not see anything good in African Traditional Religion. In traditional African religion the community is the most important part of someone's life. Most ancestral spirits are generally good and kind. From our own study of the African Traditional Religion, we find there are unmistakably elements of animism.  A. RELIGION is a fundamental, perhaps the most important, influence in the life of most Africans; yet its essential principles are too often unknown to foreigners who thus make themselves constantly liable to misunderstand the African worldview and beliefs. They do this because they have certain religious beliefs and because their religions guide their lives. The oldest Aboriginal cultures of the Earth used meditation as a tool for spiritual fortification, a nd every religion uses meditation for spiritual development. A heathen, according to the New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, is ‘a pagan; one who worships idols or does not acknowledge the true God; a rude, barbarous and irreligious person.’. Africa Traditional Religious System as Basis of Understanding Christian Spiritual Warfare 1. 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. B. Ells, The Ewe/Yoruba Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, Chapman, 1894. Parrinder made this mistake because in his West African Religion he claimed that the Supreme God or Creator is “sometimes above the gods, sometimes first among equals.”. Religion enters into every aspect of the life of the Africans and it cannot be studied in isolation. These objects are symbolic. 1, Hutchison, 1913, p.xll. Heath, on the other hand, is a vast track of land; and a heathen is one who inhabits a heath or possesses the characteristics of a heath dweller. When we speak of African Traditional Religion, we mean the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Africans. Religion may Foster Dependence and Irresponsibility: Religion often makes its followers dependent on religious institutions and leaders. (2nd ed. 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.”. Many different languages, religions and types of economic activities developed on this continent. 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