9 facts on African religions
1. African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religions of the African people. 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.
2. Traditional African religions are not stagnant but highly dynamic and constantly reacting to various shifting influences such as old age, modernity, and technological advances.
3. Traditional African religions are less of faith traditions and more of lived traditions. They are less concerned with doctrines and much more so
with rituals, ceremonies, and lived practices.
4. When addressing religion in Africa, scholars often speak of a “triple heritage,” that is the triple legacy of indigenous religion, Islam, and
Christianity that are often found side by side in many African societies.
5. While those who identify as practitioners of traditional African religions are often in the minority, many who identify as Muslims or
Christians are involved in traditional religions to one degree or another.
6. Though many Africans have converted to Islam and Christianity, these religions still inform the social, economic, and political life in African
7. Traditional African religions have gone global! The Trans-Atlantic slave trade led to the growth of African-inspired traditions in the Americas
such as Candomblé in Brazil, Santería in Cuba, or Vodun in Haïti.Furthermore, many in places like the US and the UK have converted to various traditional African religions, and the importance
of the diaspora for these religions is growing rapidly. African religions have also become a major attraction for those in the diaspora who travel to Africa on pilgrimages because of the
global reach of these traditions.
8. Indigenous African religions contain a great deal of wisdom and insight on how human beings can best live within and interact with the
environment. Given our current impending ecological crisis, indigenous African religions
have a great deal to offer both African countries and the world at large.
9. African indigenous religions provide strong linkages between the life of humans and the world of the ancestors. Humans are thus able to
maintain constant and symbiotic relations with their ancestors who are understood to be intimately concerned and involved in their
descendants’ everyday affairs.
By Jacob K. Olupona