African Traditional Religion by Aloysius Muzzanganda Lugira

By Aloysius Muzzanganda Lugira

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Rites of passage and other communal rites are the clearest examples of how religion permeates all aspects of African life. Rites of Passage Rites of passage are rites that have to do with the human life cycle. They are practices, customs, and ceremonies that people perform to move people smoothly through the stages of life from beginning to end. These stages include birth and childhood, puberty and initiation, marriage, aging, and death. In Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, a young Xhosa boy, his body smeared with gray clay, sits in the bush as part of a manhood initiation rite.

Proverbs are short sayings that express a recognized truth. Because people repeat them often, they are easy to remember. African people A bronze mask of a leopard. The leopard, like the lion, symbolizes ritual power. The leopard is also a symbol of royalty—for example, the leopard represents the spiritual aspect of the kingdom of Benin in Nigeria. 34 African Traditional Religion The Shining One The Akan people of West Africa have many proverbs that are related to their creation myths. ” Here are some of the ways in which their proverbs depict him: No one points out the Nyame to a child.

In this way oral traditions, many of which address questions of existence from the beginning of time, are established. The oral traditions constitute the method of transmitting history and religious traditions by spoken rather than written means. In African traditional communities it was part of home education to memorize those traditions with great accuracy. Oral traditions are passed on in a variety of forms—in myths, legends, stories, and proverbs. Stories generally say something about life in order to educate and entertain the community.

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