Africa in her majesty is a priced jewel that has been envied by most and recognized globally for her rich cultural heritage and diversity. The African culture is expressed in its arts and crafts, folklore and religious beliefs, clothing, cuisine, music, and languages. Although we have done relatively well in trying to preserve our culture and beliefs, however, as a result of westernization, we have neglected our religious beliefs and have cursed the gods.
Before colonization, Africa had her religion; our Ancestors worshiped gods and goddesses. Here in Nigeria, we took pride in worshipping Orishas (deities) such as Ala, Inikpi, Ifa, Osun, Sango, Yemoja. The Egyptians were crazy about Horus, Ra, Isis, while the Zulu were passionate about Unkulunkulu, Mamlambo, Mbaba Mwana Waresa. These gods and goddesses were once feared and reverenced by all. They brought law and order, they blessed true believers and punished unbelievers and evil-doers.
Then, the westerners came and sought to imprison our minds through western Education, as well as introducing a totally different religious belief – Christianity, while the influx of the Arabians resulted in the introduction of Islam. Although our forefathers tried to resist them, the Europeans and Arabians were two-steps ahead. They persuaded community leaders to embrace these religions, with hopes of a brighter future and enjoying certain benefits or suffer if they decline. Of course, they gave in, and over time, the communities did too. Now, these two religions constitute of about 80-85% of Africa’s religious devotion.
Basically, every Human being believes in a supreme being – God, and has devised various means to communicate with and worship this being. Africans saw God as the One true God (The Yorubas called him Olorun) and every other deity were lesser and just intermediaries. However, as a result of the fact that these foreigners had ulterior motives (enslaving and profiting from Africa), they sought to first enslave our minds. They introduced their God and belittled ours. They cursed our gods and resulted in demonizing them, calling them fetish and evil and belonging to the devil without even caring to understand the worship of these deities and what they truly represent.
Well, religion is the opium of the masses; it has successfully blinded us and has caused dramatic changes in the African culture. We have lost our identity; we used to identify with our cultural background and community deity. Now we identify with Christianity or Islam and have resulted in hating each other and killing ourselves, in order to please our new-found religious leaders. Our mode of dressing has changed; we no longer wear our beautiful African attires, except on special ceremonial occasions, but now wear suits (Christians), jalabiya and our women cover their beautiful, stubborn, African hair with Hijab (Islam). We no longer give our kids names such as “Oguntayo”, “Ifagbemi”, “Ogunshola”, Names that had deep meanings and were used to reverence the gods. Now we call them, Timothy, Esther, Henry, Mohammed, Abdul, Trump (okay that was a joke, lol). Sadly, a lot of us don’t even know what these names mean!!!
As a result, this generation doesn’t even know who Ifa is, they never witnessed the power and might of sango (Fire god) and his wives, Oba, Oya, and Oshun. Swearing by Ogun was considered very fatal back then, now, it’s just folklore. We have neglected the Orishas and have been conditioned to see them as powerless and demons. Now we cast and bind our gods, we see yemoja as mammy water (marine spirits). We have in deed and in truth lost our identity; we have given so much and have lost a lot to slave masters who don’t care about us and wouldn’t do the same for us. They used to kill us, now they give us weapons and we kill ourselves.
However, do not be short-sighted as to think this article is a political move against our slave masters, but a wake-up call to Africa. She needs to go back to reading, learning, and understanding who she was, lest a generation arises who do not know her. For they shall curse her, revile her, belittle her, dissociate themselves from her and identify themselves as westerners or Arabians.
I have committed my heart to seeking the gods, I have read about them and I’m still learning about their various powers and triumphant deeds. To be very honest, the Greek, Roman and Norse mythology ain’t got nothing on US!!
Fun fact: 21 savage is an avid ifa worshipper.
Alafia (Yoruba) Amani (Swahili) Vrede( Afrikaans) Peace (foreign language)