Culture & Society inAfrica
Lecture 4: Beliefs and Rationality
How Do We understand and represent the modes of thought and action of other societies/cultures?
What similarities and differences exist between these modes of thoughts?
Is it possible for us to understand other cultural beliefs in their own terms but in our own language?
African Modes of Thought:
African beliefs, ritual practices and worldviews/philosophies vary considerably such that any attemp to
imply homogeneity would be flawed
Asingle story is assigned to each country/culture/religion
“No single body of religious beliefs and practices can be identified as African. It is possible, however,
to identify similarities in worldviews and ritual processes ascross geographic and ethnic boundaries”
Worldview & Divinity:
MostAfrican religions believe in a creator; one creator
There are a variety of origin myths that recount how he created the world and then withdrew to the
heavens - eg the Kikuyu, Dogon myth of creation
MostAfrican conceptions of the “non-human”
world is populated by various secondary divinities who serve as intermediaries between the living and the
Acreation myth is something you will find in all culture also known as origin myths ; a story of how a
particular group of people got ot be how they are or how the world has come to be
It is usual in these myths as how the wo rld as come to be,