CULTURAL SPIRITUALITY IN AFRICA
African traditional and cultural spirituality and beliefs are based on openness and adaptation, and even though larger religions have made big inroads, they still endure. African spirituality recognizes the fact that practices and beliefs touch on and inform every aspect of human life, and that African religion cannot be separated from the mundane and every day.
These days, African spirituality is increasingly falling out of favor as the amount of devotees to indigenous practices dwindles to Islam and Christianity throughout Africa. Both Christianity and Islam represent about 40% each of the population, and about 10% of Africans wholly practice African indigenous practices, a fraction of what it was a century ago.
The African culture is not homogeneous in nature, but is diverse and heterogeneous. For many in Africa, it has been a hard task dissociating Christian practices and their cultural background, a mistake early missionaries in Africa did. Today, Africans combine their traditional beliefs with the practice of the Abrahamic faiths. These two faiths have replaced indigenous religions but have been adapted with addition of African cultural contexts and belief systems.
The traditional beliefs and practices are also more oral than scriptural, passed down from generation to generation through folk tales, songs, festivals and rites. Some of these rites, and rituals may seem bizarre to outsiders, or outlandish, but they are deemed necessary by the community, as they serve to link the individuals to the community, and the community as a whole to the spiritual world.
Africans use several things as an expression of their faith, and even though Christianity and Islam have become the dominant spiritual faiths, these expressions have been incorporated into these modern faiths. These include, worship, customs and rites, and instruments during worship. Even though, Africans adhere to the Abrahamic faiths, they also participate in their traditional cultural practices. Some ways of practicing, participating and connecting as a community is through festivals with good examples being those in Nigeria, such as; The Eyo festival, the Osun-Osogbo festival, The New Yam Festival, and the Egungun Festival.
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