Ancient African Traditional Religions Before Christianity and Islamic
Today, Christianity and Islam are religions practiced by the majority of people living in Africa. But before those two religions arrived, there were several traditional religions practiced. About 10 per cent of the African population is still practicing some form of traditional religion today.
There are common beliefs in Africa although the continent is a large with many different cultures and traditional religions, many religions share similar beliefs and practices.
Supreme God – Most African religions believe in the world’s supreme creator. The gods Oludmare from Nigeria, Nhialic of South Sudan and Katonda from Uganda are examples. This deity may be prayed for help in some religions but in others the ultimate deity does not communicate with human beings.
Nature Spirits – There are a variety of spirits under the supreme god who often reside in nature like animals , water, and the earth.
Ancestral Spirits – Dead ancestral spirits often played a significant role in traditional African religion. Through honoring these spirits, believers hoped the spirits would protect them, or speak on their behalf to the supreme god.
Sacrifice – Many ancient African religions offered their gods or spirits some kind of sacrifice. This sacrifice ranged from small items, such as food or drink, to much larger objects such as livestock or even human sacrifice.
Rites of Passage – In the rites of passage, African traditional religions played a significant role. These included marriage rituals which entered adulthood, birth and death.
Magic – Many of the African traditional religions believe in mysterious forces and magic. Priests (sometimes known as witchdoctors) may cast spells or offer charms to help people with their diseases or other issues.
The witch doctors also used herbs and other remedies for sick people. They would also tell the future with magic and “casting the bones” where they would throw bones and tell the person’s fortune in the way the bones fell.
Many artisans in their profession were thought to use magic. The ironworkers were the finest of the craftsmen. Ironworks would keep the magic and power of your craft secret of how they forged iron in your party.
Rituals – The culture played significant part in traditional practices and ceremonies. The ritual also included masks, music, singing and dancing. Rituals generally appeal for help and help to the spirits of the ancestors or nature.