Even before the white missionaries hit our shores, the African man was already communicating with the Supreme Being. Our forefathers acknowledged that there was a higher power who controlled the world, both physical and spiritual as well as the affairs of men.
They performed their rituals, said their prayers, poured their libations and went about their business. They believed in communality, so they loved to have large families and one’s child was everyone’s responsibility. Life of course, wasn’t perfect back then; they had their wars and bad blood but who didn’t?
Then the Europeans arrived on their ships, holding Bibles amongst other things and introduced the God of the Bible to us and a new way of life. However, instead of trying to understand our culture, they demonized it, and convinced us that their culture was better.
When they left us, the people were divided; those still holding on to our culture and those who declared it evil and wanted it abolished altogether. There was no avenue made available for a middle ground. We are still suffering from its aftereffects today.
Because faith and spirituality have always been engrained in the African way of life, when we embraced Christianity, we transferred the same passion and zeal into worshipping God.
It seems passion is engrained in the African DNA because years centuries after the slave masters carried our forefathers away to their faraway lands, it can be seen in their posterity of today. Be it in preaching, singing, acting, sports etc., the energy and zeal is different.
Because of our communal way of life, we are easily able to make families out of fellowships.
We don’t take spiritual things for granted…hence we take the Bible verse which says, ‘we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…’ However, I do admit that we sometimes miss the signal and become superstitious about the little things like seeing a wall gecko in the room.
Admittedly, some people have turned to spiritual persons to grant their request for riches, revenge etc. and have missed the way. But you’ve got to respect that about the African for his spirituality. For him, it is about worshipping the Supreme Being and living at peace with his neighbor.
(c) Josephine Amoako 2022