African Values and False Ideas
Whenever I watch a movie or documentary showcasing the cannibalism or barbarianism of Africans, I look down inside me and say; This can't be true. Fortunately, it is definitely untrue. Africans were not barbarians or cannibals, but there were sane and complete humans. They responded to civilization and empowerment.
Consequent upon the research I did lately, I discovered that Africans had/have a great form of religion, culture and tradition. Their traditions were based on love respect morals and religious inductions. Though there were some quota of atrocities committed in secret, The African traditions still retain its immunity.
I will address a few points to backup my claims. Firstly, let's take a deep look into the organization of a typical African family. In Africa, the type of family Africans organized was called COMPOUND FAMILY. This family consists of a father, mother, aunts and uncles, children, and the grandparents. The family members then live in a huge compound headed by the eldest of all. They carry on activities together, conduct family business; mostly farming. They do not live together out of scarcity of houses, rather they live together be exercising true love and peace. The head of the family settles disputes among the members. He also stimulates love peace. All the members heed to the words of the elders as a result of the great respect they have for them.
The unity in Africa is so strong that there is no translation for words such as cousin, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, grandfather, grandmother in most African Languages. Nephews, nieces, uncles and aunties are referred to as Brothers and Sisters, while the Grandfathers and Grandmothers are called Baba and Mama. Some parts in Africa refer to them as Big mama or Big Papa. You would hardly see an iota of sectionalism or segregation among Africans of the same social class. When two Africans of the same town, village or country, meet elsewhere, they refer to themselves as brothers.
In Africa today, this kind of warmth still exist, especially among the average or lower social class. Ones child is his/her friends child and vice versa. The afore-mentioned type of family does not exist among the highest social class anymore. This is as a result of their cultural imitation from the west.
Secondly, the traditions of Africans are uncompleted without treating the issue of respect. Africans generally shower their elders or leaders with great respect. In most African communities, males prostrate while greeting an elder while the females keel down. Consequent on the respect they have for elders, they dont call elders by their first name; rather they call them with a name that shows respect. For example, a young man who has an elder brother named Chukwudi calls him; Broda Chukwudi, Egbon Chukwudi or Dede Chukwudi, Young men also call elders Baba (meaning father) and Mama (meaning mother). These acts show the great love and respect Africans have for elders. This trait can also be found among Black Americans of today. They call themselves: brothers and sisters.
Thirdly, the moral philosophy and principles of Africa cannot be ignored. Africans have the sense of right and wrong, that is why they came across customs, beliefs and taboos. In Africa, there are great numbers of proverbs and folklores that deal with moral principles. One out of millions of African proverbs are Yaw Lea which means morals are beauty. This proverb is a kind of warning to men and women who believe in beauty as a criterion for marriage. This proverb tells us that morals are greater than beauty and should be the main criteria for marriage.
Lastly, most people believe that African Religion is polytheistic. Many also believe that Africans worship stones, woods, air et cetera. This belief is completely fictitious. The only God introduced into the African system was Jesus Christ. The translation of the word, JESUS CHRIST into many African languages is very similar to the original pronunciation. The Igbos call him; Jeso, the Yorubas call him; Jesu Kristi, the Edos call him Yesu Kristi and so on. This striking similarity in the pronunciation of the name clearly depicts the introduction of Jesus Christ into the African System. But fortunately, the Supreme God was not introduced into the African system; rather God introduced himself to the Africans. The Africans have been serving God before the introduction of Christianity or Islam. That is why Africans have a radical name for God unlike Christ.
To briefly analyze the structure of the African Indigenous Religions, I will make the Yoruba based religion an epitome. Yorubas believe in Olodumare or Olorun (The Supreme God). Olodumare has deities or gods, which are under his control. He communicates with the people through these deities. These deities also have priests. The deities are numerous in numbers but the prominent ones are; Orunmila (father of all gods), Sango (god of lightning and thunder), Ogun (God or iron), Osanyin (god of herbs) and many more. These deities were custodians of all the endeavors. There were humans that contributed greatly to the development of man. They offer sacrifices to God and the gods. The sacrifice they offer to these deities is a kind of symbol to strengthen their faith in praises. In one sentence, Olodumare is the supreme God, while the deities are the intermediaries between God and Man.
Lastly, there are two salient reasons, which I think is responsible for the white missionaries that termed the African Religion uncivilized and barbaric. One, it appeared that these people did not fully understand the concept of the Africans concerning religion, so they came to the conclusion that the religion is polytheistic. Two, The African Religion deals mostly with nature; trees, forests, waters et cetera. So the missionaries called it uncivilized. Three, they may have propounded their false theories out of jealousy, because Africans cured any kind of deceases, using supernatural and natural powers, better known as divine and herbal powers.
To wrap it up, there is no perfection in every culture, traditions and religion. The Muslims deceive people with jihads and holy wars, the Christians pictures Jesus Christ as God, while top ministers of God enrich their pockets in the name of Christ. The popes too never condemned slave trade; rather they encouraged slave-merchants to convert slaves into Christians. Africans priests also took advantage of their powers to order for human rituals. But despite all these misdeeds and atrocities, there is beauty and sense in all cultures, traditions and religion. This beauty is in the African culture, tradition and religion. And they are not based on cruelty but on morals and religious injunctions.