Local African ceremony in Benin featuring a zangbeto
The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that includes various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in an amount of higher and lower gods, sometimes including a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. Most religions can be described as Animism with various polytheistic and pantheistic aspects. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. According to the author Lugira, "it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world."
The Okuyi is a rite of passage practiced by several Bantu ethnic groups in different countries mainly across the west coast of Central Africa. Some of the countries where the rite is exercised include Cameroon in West Central Africa, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Traditionally, the rite is performed at numerous special occasions including funerals and weddings. Usually when an infant reaches four months of age or when a child becomes an adolescent, an Okuyi ritual is applied as well. Today, the Mekuyo rite is exercised by a range of ethnic peoples within the Bantu cluster. The coastal community known as Ndowe, also known as playeros, is a primary example, as peoples across Equatorial Guinea frequently perform the ritual in public. Gabon has two chief ethnic groups that exercise the Okuyi rite including the Mpongwe and Galwa from Lambaréné, Gabon.
Ram Swarup quoted in Koenraad Elst (2002)
Source: Swarup, Ram [in] Elst, Koenraad, Who is a Hindu? : Hindu Revivalist Views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Other Offshoots of Hinduism, Voice of India (2002), p. 72, ISBN 9788185990743
||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-defense. 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....
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