Traditional African religions

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The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions.


  • The environment and nature are infused in every aspect of traditional African religions and culture. This is largely because cosmology and beliefs are intricately intertwined with the natural phenomena and environment. All aspects of weather, thunder, lightning, rain, day, moon, sun, stars, and so on may become amenable to control through the cosmology of African people. Natural phenomena are responsible for providing people with their daily needs.
    • Roger S. Gottlieb (2006) The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology, p. 261, Oxford Handbooks Online ISBN 0-19-517872-6
  • It was the spirit . . . not merely African but universal, which was truly captured by modern Cubist artists. The fact that they collected African sculptures meant that these moderns lived with them sufficiently to absorb the sculptures’ radiance, and not merely to “borrow” forms. They did not divide the form from the content, any more than the human body can be separated from the mind. It was an “influence,” if one wishes to use this word; but an influence of the content which was first digested in its essence by the artists, and then recreated by them.
    • On the influence of African religion on art. African Traditional Religion, Third Edition, 2009 by Aloysius M. Lugira, quoting Ladislas Segy, African Sculpture Speaks.
  • In Africa, the traditional religions are fast being replaced by Christianity and Islam precisely because they have no organization which can prepare a strategy of self-defence. African traditionalists are not denounced as 'semitized fundamentalists' because in effect, they submit to the liquidation of their tradition by mass conversions....It is hard to find fault with this observation.... Ram Swarup analyzes the political intention behind laudatory labels like 'tolerant' and hate labels like 'Semitic'. He too points to Africa as an instance of what to avoid: 'The African continent has been under the attack of the two monolatrous religions, Christianity and Islam, for centuries. Under this attack, it has already lost much of its old culture. .... Some time ago, there was an article in the London Economist praising it for taking this attack with such pagan tolerance...'
    • Ram Swarup quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743

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