religion in africa

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An orisha (spelled òrìṣà in the Yoruba language, and orichá or orixá in Latin America) is a spirit who reflects one of the manifestations of the supreme divinity (Eledumare, Olorun, Olofi) in Yoruba religion.

A Witch Wants My Private Parts!

In Nigeria, in 1990, interesting rumors spread. Weird, frightening rumors. Magical forces were stealing people’s genitalia. Belief in witchcraft is common in central and eastern Africa, and genital theft sounds like something witches would want to do, right?

In crowded cities, people would have glancing contact with a stranger, then accuse them of theft. The stranger would be blamed, threatened, beaten, and sometimes burned by a crowd demanding the taken genitals be returned. People, of course, try to prevent theft. Men hold onto their penises – either visibly, or with covert pockets. Women hold onto their breasts or walk around with their arms crossed.

The genital theft hysteria didn’t completely die away after 1990. Seven were killed in Ghana’s Accra for penis theft in 1997, Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Kinshasha had an outbreak in 2008, and Central African Republic had an unusually rural hysteria in 2013.

What’s in a Name? The True Meaning of Maat.

There is a tradition among ancient mythologies that if you were to learn the true name of a god, you would acquire power over that god. However, given the way the Egyptian and Dogon languages work, one is led to suspect that this tradition has more to do with secret meanings than with actual secret names. The Egyptian phrase bu maa, which is translated as “truth,” actually implies something that is a “longstanding perception” or something that has been “thoroughly examined.” The Egyptian word maa means “to perceive or examine” - therefore, the word maat, defined by Budge as meaning “truth” or “justice” would literally mean “that which has been perceived or examined.”

Laird Scranton - The Science of the Dogon: Decoding the African Mystery Tradition.

Image Credit - Tefnut, Shu, Bastet, Khonsu, Maat, Hathor by birkenlaub

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eid - Stone Town by Rocco Stecher
Via Flickr:
Eid el-Fitr celebrations, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania