Portal:Traditional African religions

Brooklyn Museum 1989.51.39 Nommo Figure with Raised Arms.jpg
Welcome to the Traditional African religions portal


Local African ceremony in Benin featuring a zangbeto.

The traditional African religions or traditional beliefs and practices of African people are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural and passed down from one generation to another through folk tales, songs and festivals, include belief in an amount of higher and lower gods, sometimes including a supreme creator or force, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. Most religions can be described as animistic with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. According to the author Lugira, "it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world."

Selected article

The Nyongo society is the name of a supposed group of witches believed to exist in Cameroon and Nigeria. The legends were first written about in the 1950s by British social anthropologist, Edwin Ardener, while describing what he called the Nyongo Terror the present-day Southwest Province in Cameroon. Today the belief in this society can be found from the coast of Cameroon to the Bakossi and Beti peoples in the interior of the country. It is even found amongst the northern parts of the country with the Bamileke and Bamenda peoples.

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There are several religious festivals found in the various Traditional African religions. Some of these are listed below next to their corresponding religion :

Selected biography

Digital painting of Cheikh Anta Diop, By Ade Olufeko. Showcased at African Business Club Cultural Showcase for 16th African Business Conference in Boston at the Harvard Business School
Cheikh Anta Diop (29 December 1923 – 7 February 1986) was a Senegalese historian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race's origins and pre-colonial African culture. Though Diop is sometimes referred to as an Afrocentrist, he predates the concept and thus was not himself an Afrocentric scholar. However, Diopian thought, as it is called, is paradigmatic to Afrocentricity. His work was greatly controversial and throughout his career, Diop argued that there was a shared cultural continuity across African peoples that was more important than the varied development of different ethnic groups shown by differences among languages and cultures over time.

Diop's work has posed important questions about the cultural bias inherent in scientific research. Cheikh Anta Diop University (formerly known as the University of Dakar), in Dakar, Senegal, is named after him.

Selected quote

On the influence of African religion on art, Aloysius M. Lugira (2009), quoting Ladislas Segy (1975),

Source: African Traditional Religion, Third Edition, 2009 by Aloysius M. Lugira, quoting Ladislas Segy, "African Sculpture Speak",Da Capo Press (1975), p. 118, ISBN 9780306800184

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For more Traditional African religion topics, see Category:Traditional African religions.



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