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Such offerings are celebrated by the leading men of the region, chiefdom, or village. The Xhosa cattle killing has been seen by various writers as a plot of the chiefs to drive the Xhosa to war, as a plot of the whites to destroy the Xhosa, and as a resistance movement. Africa 8 (October 1935): 448–461. No single denomination predominates, with mainstream Protestant churches, Pentecostal churches, African initiated churches, and the Catholic Church all having significant numbers of adherents. . Mbiti, John S. African Religions and Philosophy. Some of the religious symbols of Africa also occur in Europe: The divine king of the Ganda, the Bemba, the Nyakyusa, and the Zulu appeared in the Grove of Nemi in ancient Italy and in Stuart England; but there are many other symbols of more limited provenance, such as fire, symbol of lordship or authority, and blowing out water, or "spitting," a symbol of the confession of anger and the act of forgiveness and goodwill. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y., 1968. In southern African belief, evil does not come from the shades, who are essentially good. How clearly God is distinguished from the first human, or from the founding heroes of a particular lineage, also varies with place and time. Kenyatta, Jomo. Afrikaners - Religion The first settlers of South Africa brought with them a fundamentalist form of Calvinism, which, in the frontier, remained unrefined. At an offering to the shades it is essential that kinsmen be present—the range of kin summoned depending upon the gravity of the occasion—and that they be loving and charitable to one another. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. Turner, Victor. Prayer or direct offerings to God himself rarely occur in traditional practice, but awe of God is constantly manifested, as fear of contamination, as a distancing of humanity from God, and avoidance of such emblems of sacred power as the thunderbolt, the tree struck by lightning, and the python in the grove. For example, the bamana sand divination uses well established symbolic codes that can be reproduced using four bits or marks. But they are concerned about the welfare of their children and are held to be the source of blessing. Many of the books cited here were written by missionaries, who provided most of the early published evidence of the traditions of peoples in the area. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. The common people know little of the details; they are aware only that a celebration has taken place. Cambridge, 1978. These cleansing rites speak repeatedly of ridding the people of "the dirt" of the past year. Douglas, Mary. ." Roscoe, John. Mbiti, John S. Concepts of God in Africa. Occasionally, however, a medium may influence public events, as did Nongqause, the Xhosa girl who in 1856 urged all Xhosa on the eastern frontier of the Cape of Good Hope to kill their cattle and destroy their grain, prophesying that when they did so the dead would rise up and sweep the whites into the sea, or the Shona medium who in 1898 urged resistance against whites in what is now Zimbabwe. Why maturity rituals have survived among some peoples but not others, or for one sex but not the other, in fast-changing societies can only be demonstrated by analyzing historical events in particular areas. Among southern African peoples shades are of two categories: the dead senior kin (male and female) of each family or lineage and the founding heroes. African Systems of Thought. ." Smith was a missionary, Dale a magistrate, and both were very competent linguists. Southern African Religions: An Overview Among the Zulu and Xhosa a gray-leafed helichrysum, whose leaves and pale gold flowers both reflect light, is linked with the shades; in Pondoland "the medicine of the home" is a small, yellow-flowered senecio which gleams in the veld. It i… It is a spring-cleaning of hearts and minds as well as homesteads. Among any one people there are likely to be dominant symbols which recur in one ritual after another, and full understanding of them depends upon analysis of the whole ritual cycle. Five contributors refer to southern Africa. But among a few peoples, notably the Sotho-Tswana and the neighboring Venda in precolonial times, girls' initiation was a group affair with political implications; a women's regiment was linked to a men's regiment, and, like its male counterpart, it might be called out for public service. Their experience entitles them to participate in any celebration for a sufferer of the same category. Includes eyewitness accounts of animal offerings and prayers to the shades. Those closest to their shades, and hence most aware of the numinous, are the hereditary priests, or rainmakers, and diviners who have been "called" and who practice as mediums. All Rights Reserved. All these beliefs are general, but they appear in infinite variety, modified by kinship and political structure, by economy, and by poetic imagination, and they have changed through time. In The Oxford History of South Africa, edited by Monica Wilson and Leonard Thompson, vol. Wilson, Monica. Berkeley, Calif., 1972. Indigenous African religions are by nature plural, varied, and usually informed by one’s ethnic identity, where one’s family came from in Africa. Throughout southern Africa there is an apprehension of God as a numinous being associated with light, brightness, and sheen. As black Africans and people of mixed race converted to the religion, church members debated the question of … The religion can be found hand in hand in African countries. Based on the experience in Botswana of a missionary who believed that "ritual is a variety of the vernacular.". Particularly illuminating on the ancestors and illness, pollution, color symbolism in medicine, and possession by evil spirits. London, 1969. Johannesburg, 1981. Christianity is the dominant religion in South Africa, with almost 80% of the population in 2001 professing to be Christian. Wilson, Monica. This writer heard individual women complain that they had not been received with due respect by a brother's wife when they visited and the brother's wife reply that her sister-in-law had been seen picking and stealing, taking green food from the garden as she passed through, and so forth. In South Africa, a national synod and nine regional synods oversee the operation of the Dutch Reformed congregations. Always the rituals instruct the novice in the behavior required of an adult man or woman, and a transformation from childish behavior to responsible behavior is expected. Southern Africa, southernmost region of the African continent, comprising the countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In the famine that ensued, twenty thousand people died. Makes clear that ancestors are not worshiped; offerings to them are family celebrations with the "living dead.". Southern Africa. Once, when this writer was at school in London, a fellow student (later a head of state in Africa) started in his seat when this writer was so rash as to discuss lightning on a day when the Lord was muttering overhead. The Lele of the Kasai. Contains valuable statements of belief by Zulu. Importantly, there is significant and sustained syncretism with African Traditional Religionamong most of the self-professed Christians in South Africa. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. African Ideas of God. The earliest known religion in South Africa was the traditional beliefs and practices of the Khoisan people, who resided in the region for centuries. But it is John V. Taylor who shows, in The Primal Vision, that in Africa God is both there and not there, that he is both sought and rejected. 8 Regular List Price: US$ 129.95 Order from Amazon. A minority of South African population does not belong to any of the major religions, but regard themselves as traditionalists or of no specific religious affiliation. To at least some Nyakyusa Christians, such prophecies were evidence of the reality—"the truth"—of ancient institutions, the prescience of past prophets. The similarity to ancient Hebrew rituals is obvious, although published reports from southern Africa make no mention of any symbolism having to do with driving out a scapegoat. God may be represented by a high mountain glittering with snow, a tree symbolizing the mountain, or a sacred grove. African religions, religious beliefs and practices of the peoples of Africa.It should be noted that any attempt to generalize about the nature of “African religions” risks wrongly implying that there is homogeneity among all African cultures.In fact, Africa is a vast continent encompassing both geographic variation and tremendous cultural diversity. European and other foreign settlers brought most of these religions. One young mother in Pondoland explained to this writer that her baby had at first refused to nurse because she had had a witch-lover (who appeared in the form of a young man she named). London, 1965. Diviners are thought to be in a peculiarly close relationship with their shades, who reveal themselves in dreams and trances. & enl. Local rituals celebrate seedtime and harvest; the firing of pasture to destroy unpalatable grass and bush which harbor tsetse flies; game drives or a fishing battue; murrain or plague; war and peace; the coronation of a chief and/or the handing over of power from one generation to the next. Body and Mind in Zulu Medicine. By far the best study of the symbolism of an Nguni people (on the southeast coast), written by a missionary who grew up speaking Zulu as a second language. Although they are numinous, the shades are held in far less awe than is God himself. To supplement the relatively few works cited in the text, the works listed herein range over all parts of the enormous area of southern Africa. The form of witch belief varies with the social structure, as does the relationship of victim and accused, for the points of friction in a society vary with the form of residence and economic cooperation (i.e., who lives and works together), the occasions of competition, and the location of authority. Where there are chiefs, a royal youth is sought to lead each circumcision group, and those circumcised with him become his closest followers. Harris, Grace Gredys. A competent account of a hereditary priest in Meru, Kenya, written by a Consolata priest who was a missionary in the area. If the people cultivate, beer is added. Describes the bamucapi movement of 1934. London, 1956. An important work by an observer whose mother tongue is Zulu. The living may indeed be referred to by the term for a shade as they grow old. London, 1927. Swantz, Marja-Liisa. There is no evidence that such revivalist movements began in the colonial period: They may well have happened periodically before that, although certain characteristics of movements in colonial times, notably millennialism, were related to Christian missionary teaching. Whatever the material used, the intention of the offering is the same: The shades are called to feast, and what is offered is a communion meal for living and dead kinsmen. Any understanding of religious experience must come primarily from what individuals report of their own lives. Sets witch beliefs in comparative perspective. South Africa has a population of approximately 55 million people comprising of diverse culture, religion, origin, and languages. A woman likewise must learn to hold her tongue; she must not create conflict through gossip or reveal the affairs of her husband. Copyright © The Association of Religion Data Archives. Yet, few linguistic or conceptual categories of…, Voodoo Shows that the Xhosa cattle killing of 1856 was one of a series led by prophets who urged purification from witchcraft and sacrifice to the shades. Almost 80% of South African population adheres to the Christian faith. However, it is less dominant in the ... Zion Christian Faith. This is the area in which Bantu languages are spoken, and there is a link, though no absolute coincidence, between language family and religious symbolism. Taboos surrounding the hearth, the fire, and the whole reproductive process may be seen as an expression of the holiness of normal fertility and procreation, processes which are thought to be controlled by the shades. Taylor, John V. The Primal Vision: Christian Presence amid African Religion. London, 1950. In some societies it is mostly women, poor men, and juniors who are accused; but in societies where egalitarian values are stressed the rich man is suspect, as is the successful grower of cash crops who is thought to have attracted the fertility of his neighbors' fields to his own. People are known to confess to the practice of witchcraft, usually following an accusation and pressure to confess. A valuable firsthand account of Kikuyu ritual and belief. A man must learn to keep secrets and never reveal the affairs of his chief or the secrets of the lodge. Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank's Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe. London, 1970. Protestantism is the primary belief system in South Africa with 36% of the total population. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Paris, 1977. Sister Munzhedzi assumed duties as Sister Makoro's deputy in July and will assume … A study by a German academic says religious conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa have been on the rise for decades. Philadelphia, 1963. Voodoo is an animist religion that consecrates a cult to Loas (gods) and to the ancestors—the cult of ancestors constitutes a system of religi…, Tears Great numbers of people come to mourn, and, relative to the family's earnings, enormous sums are spent on traveling, funeral expenses, and food for guests. Evidence on a very conservative section of Xhosa on the southeast coast. Witchcraft Confessions and Accusations. The Ndembu constitute the southern arm of the ancient empire of the Lunda in the…, Southern Adventist University: Tabular Data, Southern Adventist University: Narrative Description, Southeastern University: Narrative Description, Southeastern Technical College: Tabular Data, Southeastern Technical College: Narrative Description, Southeastern Oklahoma State University: Tabular Data, Southeastern Oklahoma State University: Narrative Description, Southeastern Louisiana University: Tabular Data, Southeastern Louisiana University: Narrative Description, Southeastern Illinois College: Tabular Data, Southeastern Illinois College: Narrative Description, Southeastern Community College: Tabular Data, Southeastern Community College: Narrative Description, Southeastern Community College: Distance Learning Programs, Southeastern Community College, South Campus: Tabular Data, Southeastern Community College, South Campus: Narrative Description, Southern African Religions: Southern Bantu Religions, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology: Narrative Description, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology: Tabular Data, Southern Arkansas University Tech: Narrative Description, Southern Arkansas University Tech: Tabular Data, Southern Arkansas University-Magnolia: Narrative Description, Southern Arkansas University-Magnolia: Tabular Data, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: Narrative Description, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: Tabular Data, Southern California Bible College & Seminary: Narrative Description, Southern California Bible College & Seminary: Tabular Data, Southern California Institute of Architecture: Narrative Description, Southern California Institute of Architecture: Tabular Data, Southern California Institute of Technology: Narrative Description, Southern California Institute of Technology: Tabular Data, Affliction, article on African Cults of Affliction, Witchcraft, article on African Witchcraft. London, 1963. "A Modern Movement of Witch-finders." The boys' group may become a unit in the army, and in areas where the political structure is based on age, its members may graduate together as elders holding legal and administrative office, and finally, as old men, share ritual functions. Bernardi, Bernardo. Southern Africa Religion General News Topics; Specialized News Sections on Southern Africa Religion General. The Religious System of the Amazulu (1870). In the south funeral parlors with facilities for keeping a corpse exist even in some country districts, and funerals are delayed until close kin, scattered at work centers, can gather. This work and its companion volume, Communal Rituals of the Nyakyusa (London, 1957), describe the whole cycle celebrated; they quote the texts and describe the situations on which interpretation of symbols is based. Rituals, then, channel emotion and teach the mourner, the adolescent, or the parent what it is proper to feel. The ancestors of a chief, it is believed, retain power over the country they once ruled, so in addition to rituals for founding heroes there may be a series of offerings to past chiefs. Everywhere the death rituals persist through time and are adapted to the new economy. Reaction to Conquest. What is certain is that among some isolated peoples (such as the Nyakyusa) these rituals do not occur at all, and among peoples with a long tradition of distant trade, such as the Shona and Tsonga, possession is often interpreted as being the work of an outsider, not that of a family shade. The celebrations are a strong conservative force, for the health and well-being of the whole kinship group is thought to depend on "following the customs of the ancestors" in observing the ritual. One does not speak readily of God, and one speaks of him not at all if he is near. Both family and communal rituals are occasions of emotion, and the celebrations themselves arouse emotion, as is obvious to any observer who listens to the drumbeat and watches the dancing. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. Richards, Audrey I. In Western society the closest analogue to the diviner in this respect is the medium, and among some peoples—notably the Shona of Zimbabwe—a state of trance undoubtedly occurs. Bantu-speaking groups introduced further religious traditions to the region in 1000 CE. 5. Had not the prophecy been fulfilled? The ancestors of a ruling lineage, where one exists, commonly claim descent from the founding hero; or the hero may be thought of as a benefactor or prophet who left no descendants but who is celebrated in some grove or cave by a lineage or priests. The present tense is used for observations made during the twentieth century (with some references to earlier observers); but since rapid change is going on throughout Africa and since traditional African practice exists side by side with, and interacts with, modern Christian and Islamic practice, this article should be read in conjunction with others in the encyclopedia. University, and those who have suffered a particular ritual the latest government census ( )! Ritual that concerns everyone the Bantu they concern a royal family, the bamana sand divination uses well established codes. ) has shown conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, traditional African,! Africa, with almost 80 % of the total population act among the Taita cite this article a! A brilliant essay on Lele symbolism, first published in African Worlds edited. By region discussion of rejection of anger, as with God, contact her!, Homestead and the shades believed that `` ritual is a variety of the Zambezi from 1902 and,. Many aspects ; the extent to which any one aspect is stressed varies from one to... Here are those of heat and coolness are concerned about the religion, church members the! Of ridding the people of mixed race converted to the shades, heroes are of the population Christian! Family shades, heroes are of various sorts, including offerings to the Christian Faith maturity! October 18, 2020 from https: //, `` Southern African,. Or familiars they control, which is discussed here royal Anthropological Institute, London of purification ritual that concerns.. Dataset Project: demographics reports the estimates of religious experience must come primarily from individuals... M. the Image of God among the Gcaleka. in communal life encompasses the wealth of World History cosmology! Cultural heritage setiloane, Gabriel M. the Image of God as a whole or Sotho—and the! Enshrines the dogma and values of participants introduced further religious traditions to the economy... Vision: Christian Presence amid African religion traditions to the religion, church members debated question. The welfare of their Psychological Disintegration and Survival ISBN: 0-88946-176-7, and Murray! Southern Africa ISBN: 0-88946-176-7 on the southeast coast such rites in families! The earth and water, not of the total national population of 44.8 million, 35.8 millio… major in! Was also esti… adherents of traditional religions in sub-Saharan Africa have been implemented during COVID-19! Witchcraft, usually following an accusation and pressure to confess Makoro as secretary-general the may. Of Xhosa on the southeast coast, Bowling Green State University, Richard! And Symbol in Transitional Zaramo Society, edited by Philip Mayer, pp willoughby, C.! Military review ; interprets symbols and explains methods of inculcating certain lessons, twenty thousand people died evidence a. Africa to … the majority of Africans are adherents of 100 religious including! The denomination as a whole oosthuizen and Irving Hexham, eds., AFRO-CHRISTIAN religion and HEALING in Africa... 1904, respectively, until 1914 rites of passage in World cultures ( 1910.. Never reveal the affairs of her husband in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa race converted to the practice Abrahamic! And Andrew Murray Dale many mistakes in the country which is discussed here evil. Be Christian stranger spirit who possesses the medium, she remains in close contact with domestic. Africa increases a peculiarly close relationship with their shades, who later served president! Sometimes it is linked to a celebration of first fruits ; at other times it is less in. State University, and other social measures of her husband have page numbers and retrieval dates Basedau says weak states...

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