Africa- Religions

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Africa- Religions

  1. 1. Religion in Africa An Overview
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Religion in Africa very diverse </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional religions vary across continent </li></ul><ul><li>Islam and Christianity very prominent - many times forced upon African </li></ul>
  3. 5. Indigenous Religions <ul><li>No single word for religion in most African languages </li></ul><ul><li>Religion was not separate from everyday life, part of every action and event </li></ul>
  4. 6. Indigenous Religions <ul><li>Like most religions, African religion sought to find order in the universe, explain good and evil, define behaviors, create rituals, and determine afterlife </li></ul><ul><li>Many were polytheistic - with one major god and many sub-deities </li></ul><ul><li>Priests oversaw shrines and religious ceremonies, and communicated with spirits </li></ul>
  5. 7. Role of the God <ul><li>These characteristics are general </li></ul><ul><li>All powerful creator of humans and the world </li></ul><ul><li>Not in direct contact with world and humans </li></ul><ul><li>Spirits go between physical world and spiritual world </li></ul>
  6. 8. Spirits <ul><li>Very much like angels </li></ul><ul><li>Ancestor spirits - deceased relatives who provide guidance and protection </li></ul><ul><li>Respect towards ancestors important </li></ul>
  7. 9. Spirits <ul><li>Nature spirits - some tribes believe spirits live in nature, animals, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Evil spirits - cause misfortune and bad events </li></ul>
  8. 10. Arrival of Islam
  9. 12. North Africa <ul><li>Egypt becomes gateway into Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Arab traders and then Arab rulers brought Islam across </li></ul><ul><li>Established Arabic culture and language in N. Africa </li></ul>Map of the Muslim World, 661 AD
  10. 13. North Africa <ul><li>Egypt becomes gateway into Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Arab traders and then Arab rulers brought Islam across </li></ul><ul><li>Established Arabic culture and language in N. Africa </li></ul>Map of the Muslim World, 900 AD
  11. 14. Sub-Saharan Africa <ul><li>Arab merchants travel across Sahara to trade salt for gold </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim clerics join merchants </li></ul><ul><li>Muslim advisors in Ghana – Mali and Songhai become Muslim kingdoms </li></ul>Map of the Muslim World, 900 AD
  12. 15. East / Swahili Coast <ul><li>Early spread stopped by Christianity in Ethiopia/Axum </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of Arab merchants and indigenous peoples, new culture develops – Swahili </li></ul><ul><li>Only on coast – why? </li></ul>Map of the Muslim World c.A.D. 1500
  13. 16. East / Swahili Coast <ul><li>Trade partners brought goods from interior </li></ul><ul><li>Later in 18 th /19 th century, Arab-Swahili plantation owners start slave trade on East Coast </li></ul><ul><li>Would be interrupted by Europeans </li></ul>Map of the Muslim World c.A.D. 1500
  14. 17. Key Points in the Spread of Islam <ul><li>Conversions occurred gradually – sometimes over generations </li></ul><ul><li>The success of Islam in Africa is partially the result of its ability to respect and absorb other traditions </li></ul>
  15. 18. Islam in Africa <ul><li>Practice of Islam influenced by indigenous beliefs and practice </li></ul><ul><li>Islam brought education throughout the Muslim world – built universities, developed algebra, astrolab </li></ul><ul><li>Islam promoted human welfare, part of the Five Pillars </li></ul>
  16. 19. Christianity in Africa
  17. 20. Christianity in Africa <ul><li>Spread to North Africa during Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Egypt and Axum early Christian Empires </li></ul><ul><li>400 CE Axum converts to Christianity – over next 1600 years it develops a distinct form of Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Resists Muslim incursions over the years </li></ul>
  18. 21. Christianity in Africa <ul><li>In 15th century Portuguese began spreading Christianity along coast </li></ul><ul><li>Kongo Empire became Christian in 1491 </li></ul><ul><li>European colonialism would bring Christianity to continent </li></ul>
  19. 23. Religion in Africa Conclusion <ul><li>Numerous indigenous religions still observed </li></ul><ul><li>Islam initially accepted more willingly because it was tolerant of traditional religions </li></ul><ul><li>Christianity spread during colonialism </li></ul>

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