The Relevance Of Africa Traditional Religion In This Modern Age: Scholars Perspective

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The Relevance Of Africa Traditional Religion In This Modern Age: Scholars Perspective


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the relevance of Africa traditional religion in this modern age: scholars perspectives. Using the Yoruba religion in Nigeria. Specifically, the study examined To examine the concept of religion in the African context. The study also, examine African traditional religion as relating to Nigeria. The study further, investigate the Africa traditional religion , medicine and national development. And lastly, the study examine African traditional religion and natural resource conservation and management in Nigeria. The study employed the historical research design. From the responses obtained and analyzed, the findings revealed that the religions like Christianity and Islam are treated as ‘valid’ religions in African communities, while traditional religions are still treated as pre-modern and irrational. This is due to their framing as such by nineteenth century Christian missionaries and scholars who operated under evolutionist assumptions. The study hereby recommend that the African traditional religion should be accorded more respect as it was the ancient religion been used during the pre colonial time before the emergence of Christianity and Islam and The Africa traditional religion should be has been around for ages and at such should be allowed it and even given a holiday just like the Christians and Muslims have


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

African traditional religion refers to the indigenous or autochthonous religion of the African people. It deals with their cosmology, ritual practices, symbols, arts, society and so on .because religion is a way of life, it relates to culture and society as they affect the world view of the African people.

The reasons why African traditional religion is still relevant

  1. Traditional African diviners are one of the best keepers of history and culture for Africans, academic, researchers, writers and general seekers of knowledge in the world over.
  2. The African tradition entails the world view that has collectively sustained, enriched and given meaning to a continent and numerous other societies for centuries through it are epistemology, metaphysics, history, and the practices.
  3. 3. Cultism: the cultists groups usually known for their sovereignty in terrorism and their immortality, having the ability to appear and dis-appear.at time’s metals could do them no harm. All this powers are acquired from juju, to carry out dubious operations.
  4. Security: most Africans particularly Nigerian farmers especially plantation farmers and that of yams, cassava etc. and the nomadic farmers in Africa mostly apply charms of adverse actions to any that may try to steal their products, most of this charms are been collected from juju.
  5. Good and evil: in A.T.R evil includes both the physical and moral evils. God is the one who brings forth good, while human causes evil to themselves and others. Evil concerns any misfortune that befell an individual or community or any voluntary anti social behavior or any infringement of the decrees of God, the deities or ancestors. Evil is generally interpreted as the work of evil spirits, witches, sorcerers, or evil eyes, broken taboos, oaths or even the deities or ancestors.
  6. When certain traditional cosmic and spirit powers and forces rules and regulations enshrined manifests, man is aware that many things do wrong and not all his expectations and needs are always met, consequently, there must be something wrong. Things can be corrected through reconciliation, restoration and the making of peace, therefore cosmic and spiritual harmony can be restored through the practice of sacrifices, offerings/gifts and even taboos etc
  7. African traditional religion protocols is Still inevitable rules, doctrines, norms and customs that are referred to in the enthronement of African traditional rulers even though the personality may be a Muslim or a Christian, but tradition must be observed
  8. Prior to the commitment of Africans in the traditional ceremonies and medications, it is obvious that Christianity and Islam co-exists harmoniously with traditional African religion
  9. Most African Muslims and Christians still consult the traditional religion healers when someone is sick and participate in ceremonies to honor their ancestors 10. African traditional religion is still relevant in the sense that most Africans who adhere to Islam or Christianity also incorporates elements of indigenous African religion in to their lives, as most Africans still believe in the power of the jujus to protect them

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Indigenous religion in Africa is the way Africans understand and worship their god. This religion is found in almost all the activities of the African man. Awolawu and Depamu (1979)stated that this is a religion that has no written literature yet it is everywhere for those who care to see and read. It is largely written in the people as myths and folklores, in songs and dances, in their liturgies and shrines and in proverbs and pithy sayings.1This religion has no founder and that is why it is called an indigenous religion. It is a religion that is full of life and activities through ceremonies, festivals etc. It places emphasis on virtues, values, and morals. African traditional Religion is found in almost all activities of the African man. African traditional religion cannot be discussed without mentioning that it is the way of life of the people of Africa and so cannot be differentiated from the politics, education, and socialization, etc. of the people which are all together Thus Olikenyi asserts that culture can be defined as the entire way of life of members of a community or language, morality, knowledge, worldview, symbols, kinship, social relationships, types of economy, forms of government, science, religion, tools, technology, ways of feeling, attitudes, behaviour patterns, etc.2From the definition above, we can see that culture summarily is a way of life of the people.


1.2 Objective of the Study

The primary objective of the study is as follows

  1. To examine the concept of religion in the African context
  2. To examine African traditional religion as relating to Nigeria
  3. To investigate the Africa traditional religion , medicine and national development
  4. To examine African traditional religion and natural resource conservation and management in Nigeria

1.3 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study

  1. What is African traditional religion?
  2. What is the impact of Africa tradition on Nigeria?
  3. What is the influence of African traditional medicine on the national development of Nigeria
  4. Has African tradition helped in the conservation of Nigeria natural resources?

1.4 Research Methodology

This research is based on Scholarly work on African Traditional Religion and often uses ethnography or phenomenology as its preferred methodology. These methodologies are favored to avoid the trap of imposing Western concepts onto ATRs. They attempt to avoid this trap by letting the practitioners of ATR speak for themselves. Scholars like David Westerlund go as far as to suggest that the ideal research on ATRs should include “verbatim questions and answers or other kinds of information in the original language as well as in translation. However this study has been divided into five chapters and will be discussed accordingly.


1.5 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

This study will examine the relevance of Africa traditional religion in this modern age: scholars perspectives.

The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, African traditional institutions and academia


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will examine the relevance of Africa traditional religion in this modern age: scholars perspectives. It will further peruze into the nature of African tradition ,how valuable it is in terms of production of local medicines and how it has evolved and the development it has brought to Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to the Yoruba religion.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

In this study, our focus was to examine the relevance of Africa traditional religion in this modern age: scholars perspectives using the Yoruba religion as a case study. The study specifically was aimed at highlighting To examine the concept of religion in the African context .examine African traditional religion as relating to Nigeria. investigate the Africa traditional religion , medicine and national development. To examine African traditional religion and natural resource conservation and management in Nigeria. However, In conversations about diversity and representation in the media, this quote by the Dominican American author Junot Diaz is often cited. It also describes the issues faced by ATRs both within and beyond academia. ATRs are denied a reflection of themselves in numerous ways, starting with the lack of recognition under the Religious Studies framework, which has been the focus of this thesis. Religions like Christianity are able to see reflections of themselves, while ATRs are deprived of a similar reflection by being denied the label of religion. Beyond academia, ATRs face a lack of recognition and reflection in global and local conversations about religion, which use definitions of religion that are based in private, internal belief, as opposed to ritual practice. They are not recognized in the majority of African countries’ constitutions and are often denied access to religious freedoms and legal rights As Kenyan scholar Makua Mutua notices, “African constitutions and laws are generally either openly hostile to African religions


5.2 Conclusion

Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:

Religions like Christianity and Islam are treated as ‘valid’ religions in African communities, while traditional religions are still treated as pre-modern and irrational. This is due to their framing as such by nineteenth century Christian missionaries and scholars who operated under evolutionist assumptions. The legacy of the colonial encounter is still powerfully evident. A more accurate and considered portrayal of ATRs within academia, which deeply engages with them instead of ignoring them or categorizing them as superstition, has the power to positively influence their perception in non-academic settings.


5.3 Recommendation

Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:

  1. The African traditional religion should be accorded more respect as it was the ancient religion been used during the pre colonial time before the emergence of Christianity and Islam
  2. The Africa traditional religion should be has been around for ages and at such should be allowed it and even given a holiday just like the Christians and Muslims have

The Relevance Of Africa Traditional Religion In This Modern Age: Scholars Perspective


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