All truth may be circumscribed into one great whole.
Every ethnic group in Africa has developed a complex and distinctive set of religious beliefs and practices. Despite their seemingly unrelated aspects, there are common features to these systems, suggesting that African traditional faiths form a cohesive religious tradition.
Traditional African religion is based on oral traditions, which means that the basic values and way of life are passed from elders to younger generations through stories, myths and tales. The elders are the final authority and are trusted completely.
Religion in most African societies also supports moral order. It creates a sense of security and order in the community. Followers believe in the guidance of their ancestors spirits.
Cradle of Mankind
Africa occupies roughly 11.7 million square miles, representing about a fifth of the earth’s total landmass. It is home to over 1 billion people who speak over 1,500 different languages. One in every four of the world’s languages are spoken only in Africa.
Africa is known as the cradle of mankind, being home to the Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt, the oldest known literate civilization and the oldest ancient religion. According to historical records, the Egyptian state dates back to about 3300 B.C.
Despite centuries-long attempts by European slave owners, colonists, neo-colonists and orthodox leaders to convert, suppress, and demonize Africa’s original native religions, spiritual traditions have been preserved and passed down. Today only fourteen percent of Africa’s population continue to observe the original spiritual practices of their forefathers.
The ruler of (or in) the Heavens. The Supreme God or Supreme Being omnipotent and the Source of all. The name Olodumare symbolizes a divine entity that is not bound by space, time and dimension. By meaning and connotation, this name signifies that the Supreme Being is unique, that His majesty is superlative, that He is unchanging and ever reliable. He is also called Olorun (the owner of Heaven) and Eleda (the Creator) by the same people.
The Edo call Him Osanobuwa, and this means “God who is the “Source and Sustainer of the World”. The Ibo call Him Chükwu, that is the Great Chi or the Great Source of life and of being.
The Nupe call Him Soko, the Great One; He who dwells in Heaven; and they also designate him Tso-Ci meaning the Owner of us, the One to whom we belong. The Ewe-speaking people speak
of Him as Nana Buluku (Ancient of Days), and this suggests His eternity. In Ghana, He is called Onyame, the Great and Shining One who is high and above all.
The truth of the matter is that Africans hold the Supreme Being as a venerable majesty who has several servants (the divinities) under Him to carry out His desires. He is in a class by Himself.
This is why it is not appropriate to describe the religion as polytheistic.
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