We should also add that there is an element of savagery in every one of us and it should not be made the exclusive trait of a particular people. 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. The Yoruba, for example, never rank the Supreme Being, Olodimave with the divinities (orisa), neither do the Edo confuse Osanobuwa with the divinities (ebo). Examples of folk religions include African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. Religion is an important part of millions of people's lives across the world. But experience shows that material representation often becomes a danger in religion when the worshippers make the emblems an end in themselves. This is deliberate. Where to look for and find African Tradition Religion? Most of the "traditional" groups of people living in South Africa arrived here from West and Central Africa about 1 500 years ago. 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. Even when interpreters were used, one could not be sure that the interpretation would be accurate. When we examine the names, we gain a greater insight into the peoples’ concept of God, as they are descriptive of His character and attributes. Thus, strictly speaking, religion in its pristine form is no longer in existence. In traditional African religion the community is the most important part of someone's life. It is the religion which resulted from the sustaining faith held by the forebears of the present Africans, and which is being practised today in various forms and various shades and intensities by a very large number of Africans, including individuals who claim to be Muslims or Christians. At least, they raised doubts in the minds of those who might earlier have accepted the statements of the stay-at-home investigators and curio collectors. The oldest Aboriginal cultures of the Earth used meditation as a tool for spiritual fortification, a nd every religion uses meditation for spiritual development. These dimensions can all be used in the service of peacemaking. But they were proved wrong. Lightning and thunder are manifestations of the thunder god. ", "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Juju is, therefore, one of the misleading and derogatory terms used by investigators out of either sheer prejudice or ignorance. Here again the writer made mention of the various ceremonies which accompany puberty and its significance in African traditional religion. (iv) Juju: The word juju is French in origin and it means a little doll or toy. Prominent among such people were Andrew Lang, Archbishop N. Soderblom,and Father Schmidt of Vienna. Traditional African religion is very popular and arrived here with our North and West African ancestors. Religion enters into every aspect of the life of the Africans and it cannot be studied in isolation. The Africans do not and cannot represent Him in the form of an image as they can do with the divinities. , Father Schmidt had earlier been working among the Pigmies of the Congo in Central Africa. 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. Each of them has a meaning beyond itself, and therefore is not an end in itself. To fathom these changes, both instructors and students in comparative religion and theology must fully understand African Traditional Religion to comprehend the new forms of Christianity that emphasize prophecy, healing, well-being, and wealth. Prayers said during worship by Africans have been described as fetish prayers; the functionaries of a cult have been described as fetish priests; herbs prepared by African priests have been labelled fetish herbs, and not medical preparations, however efficacious such herbs may be; and taking an oath has been described as undergoing fetish. 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. From our own study of the African Traditional Religion, we find there are unmistakably elements of animism. In other words, animism is a part definition of every religion. Please enter your comments and then submit. While some religions adopted a pantheistic worldview, most follow a polytheistic system with various gods, spirits and other supernatural beings. The individual only exists within the community and separation from it is sometimes worse than death. Its application to African deities has been perpetuated by English writers. “In very precise language” says Professor Mbiti “The Bacongo describe the self-existence of God when they say, that ‘He is made by no other, no one beyond Him is.”, We see, then, that the greatest emphasis is on the Supreme Being. Every aspect of it cannot be described as original. The most prominent were R. S. Rattray, P. A. Talbot, A. In a proper polytheism, the gods are all of the same rank and file.  E. B. Idowu, Olodumare, Longmans, 1962, p.202f.  E. G. Parrinder, African Traditional Religion, London, 1954. A. C. Bouquet, for example, seemed to be expressing the Western mind when he said, “Such a High God hardly differs from the Supreme Being of the 18th century Deists and it is absurd to equate him with the Deity of the Lord’s Prayer”.. Several of them did their investigations as best as they could among the peoples whose languages most of them did not understand. Category is required. We need to explain the word ‘traditional’. 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. Even today, traditional Muslims face religio-ethical problems concerning interest-taking. TRADITION . There are many different religions and some of them have been celebrating their faith, telling their stories and teaching their principles for thousands of years. 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