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The Traditional African Religions




source: Instagram @0galactic_traveler0

The traditional African man is known to practice a totally different religion other than the the two Abrahamic religions brought to Africa by the colonial masters. According to the legend and founder of the ever growing and popular afro music, Fela Kuti “Before the Arrival of the white people, we Africans had our own religion”.

The traditional African religions are the practices and beliefs in the existence of ancestral spirits and other deities possessing some elements like the waters, iron, fire, forests, etc. In Nigeria, the traditional Yoruba people are know have some popular deities like “ogun” the god of Iron and “Shango” the god of thunder. These deities are believed to have supreme power. Shango is said to be the greatest traditional ruler the Yoruba people has ever had. Shango is feared because he is believed to have a great anger and does commands thunder and lightning when he gets angry.

In the Yoruba land “Ogun” is another traditional drity believed to be the god behind the warriors and blacksmiths. In the Yoruba African traditional religion, anyone who works with metals are believed to pay tributes the Ogun the god of Iron in order to be protected from from the accidents that can be caused by iron. When a Yoruba man licks a piece of metal and swears to the truth then he is believed to be innocent of any accusations, and he is said to face the wrath of Ogun if he happens to be guilty of the accusations.

The traditional African religions has been there since the discovery of Africa and is a way of life in the African continent. It involves ritual practices, Arts and more in relation to the culture of the people. In today’s Africa only a few people identify with the African traditional religions fully, but many who practices the Christian or Muslim religion are found to also practice the traditional African religion in one way or another.

The rules and regulations that governs the traditional African religions are oral and not written, so it’s being passed down from generation to generation, unlike that of the Christian and Muslim religion. Indigenous African religion educates it’s practiser on how to live and communicate with the environment, animals and a host of other spiritual beings believed to be possessed by some elements such as the rivers and the sun.

Traditional African Religion

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The African religions are believed to create an atmosphere for fellowship between it’s practitioners and their ancestors whom are said to be in charge of their everyday life. Rituals and sacrifices are made to the gods for the provision of long life, prosperity, protection from evil, healings, etc. And when a child is born, the parents go to the gods for thanksgivings. In most cases the rituals involves the use of animals and their blood, food items and other stuffs.

In the modern Africa, the indigenous African religions can not be excluded from the society and you see people practising the traditional African marriage which is also a part of the African religion. In Nigeria, the gods and ancestors are invited to witness a marriage ceremony and rituals are being done. So there is a strong evidence that the African religion is a way of life for the African people.

The traditional African marriage ceremonies are colorful and entertaining and it is believed that the African traditional marriage is of more importance than the popular white weddings. In some parts of Nigeria the traditional marriage is compulsory because if for example the traditional marriage is not done and the man and woman moves to live together, it is said that if the woman dies, her body would not be accepted by the woman’s family unless the traditional marriage rites are done by the husband.

Traditional African Religion

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Unlike the Christian and Muslim religion, the traditional African religion does not follow a written script and the beliefs are not necessarily the same in all the ethnic groups. As there are so many traditions in Africa so the beliefs and ways of life differs from each other but at some points you see the similarities.

In some regions the ancestors and the deities are believed to possess the same power and equal in order of ranking. But some other African people believe that the deities are more power than the ancestors. And some others believe that the ancestors intervenes and fights for them in the spirit world. But generally it is believed that the ancestors watches over and protects their descendants, and the ancestors would also punish them if they go wrong.


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