‘FUNDAMENTALISM IN AFRICAN TRADITIONAL RELIGION’: A REFLECTION ON SOME POINTS FOR CONSIDERATION

Xolani Sakuba

Abstract


This article explores the possibility that, although there is no full-blown ‘African
fundamentalism’, certain fundamentalist tendencies can be detected among adherents
of African Traditional Religion. After a summary of typical features of ATR,
two area are identified within which fundamentalist tendencies are manifested: the
family or clan and public debates driven by (pan-)African nationalist movements or
ethnic nationalism. In the latter case the tendencies are often seen purely political,
but it is argued that in the African context there is no clear distinction between
religion, culture and politics. Moreover, the colonial heritage colours the way in
which fundamentalist tendencies are expressed in Africa. In each case various
examples are given and assessed to determine whether the tendencies can be called
fundamentalist. Finally, the question is asked whether there can be fundamentalism
without a scripture. It is suggested that, since ATR has no scriptures, ancestors take
the role of ultimate authority.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/99-0-678

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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