The typical African is drunk with too much religious indoctrination and the unfounded belief that questioning religion is outright blasphemy. Christianity and Islam are the two most populous religions on the African continent. The doctrines of these two religions have been wholly assimilated into the African at the neglect of our very own traditional identity, culture and religion. The African has been Anglicized, if you like “Westernized”, in the case of the Muslims the African Muslim has been turned “Arabian”, as if the African knows nothing about “a God”. All accounts of creation stories throughout the 3315 ethnic groups in Africa attribute great reverence to an Supreme Creator, being referred to as; “Oboade” and “Oborebore” in Akan , “Olurun” in the Yoruba version of the creation story and “Dondaari” in the Fulani account of the creation story among others.
The Holy Bible, a very formidable tool in the history of the world and the constitution of Christianity refers to Africa in several verses of the Old testament, it is referred to as; Kemet, Libya, Ortega, Ethiopia, Hesperia and Ta-marry. The name “Africa” according to history was given by the Romans, the ancient name of Africa being Akebu-Lan (mother of Mankind).
In his book “The Africans who wrote the Bible” Mr. Alex Darkwa writes, “the word Isreal is an Akan word”, he points to the story of Jacob in Genesis 32:24-29, where an angel renames Jacob calling him Asrae or the European version Isreal. According to Darkwa the name “Asrae” is not a nation rather it means “the first one who visited”. An even more profound revelation is made in the May 9, 1999 edition of the New York Times, Nicholas Wade writes about a Southern African tribe, the Lemba, having not just the same traditions but also the same DNA sequence distinctive of the cohanim, the Jewish priest believed to be descendants of Aaron
A cursory look at the historic background of the Romans reveal their staunch belief in the multiplicity of gods, they believed in various deities to whom sacrifices were offered, notable among these were Zeus, Mars, Jupiter, Vesta, and Apollo.
This belief seems to have been transferred and infused into Christianity, as the Romans played a very crucial role in the spread of Christianity, despite their belief that the Almighty God is One, they still maintain that HE is three-a Father, a Holy Spirit and a Son. It is not strange to think so especially if you are well endowed with their historic background. These supposed deities who were believed to be gods, had affairs with some humans and gave birth to demi-gods, little wonder the Roman Catholic Church holds fast to the belief that Almighty God has a human mother, “holy Mary mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”. All these have been swallowed hook, line and sinker by the African and are warned that any attempt question religion is blasphemous.
The religion of Islam entered Africa through the North of the continent. With similar emotive characteristics, Islam admonishes Muslims to assimilate the Mohammedan culture wholly. As part of the indoctrination one has to adopt an Arabic name which is considered Islamic, so it not strange to hear names like Abdul-Rahim Kwame Adjei that is like having “Kwaku Ayigbe Frafra” for a name, very weird, yet that is the veracity of the situation at hand. Islamic religion in Ghana has been laced with Hausa culture, as it was through Hausa traders that Islam reached the country, today naming and marriage ceremonies in a typical Islamic community is nothing Ghanaian but a gross exhibition of a complete alien tradition not even reminiscent of the provisions of the Islamic doctrine. One is even advised not to ask too many disputed questions in religious matters as it weakens one’s faith (Sahih Al-Buhkari volume2, book24 number 555), and any other form of worship apart from Islam will suffer the pangs of Jahanam on the day Recompense (may Allah guide us all on the right part). The form which religion in today’s world has taken is highly reminiscent of the infamous “French Policy of Assimilation”
As Africans even before John-Wycliffe took the initiative to translate the Bible, and Sayyiddina Abu-Bakr could call for compilation of the Quran, our ancestry were well endowed with what is today Biblical and Quranic laws. Among foods, our ancestry was selective of holistic foods preferring lawful to unlawful ones. There were well established Political Systems that instilled discipline, a great sense of nationalism and brotherliness in the African. The African also had an even accurate system for calculating dates, times and seasons. Our African tradition posits that every woman is a mother to every child, the upbringing of a child within a community is the essential responsibility of every member of the community and not restricted to one’s immediate family.
Contrary to what the world has been made to believe, the African has a God. In communicating with our God we offer wine, alas! The world’s religions condemn intake of wine and pouring of libation but the first miracle Jesus Christ the Messiah performed was turning water into wine. It has been said time and again that the Messiah is not as white as been portrayed rather he was black as an African, and that points out the mystery of the “black Madonna”.
I harbor a strong conviction that if legends like the great Okomfo Anokye had appeared somewhere in the East or West round the same time, his name would have being in the Bible or even the Quran or Hadith or better still a Saint, and special prayers will be offered to him on special dates. Okomfo Anokye performed many miracles; he walked in the air, planted a palm-tree, watered it and watched it grow that very minute, he planted a sword into the earth which has not been removed till date and even brought down the Golden Stool. “Who sent down the Golden Stool?”
Another great legend worthy of Prophet-hood is Togbe Tsali, he was tied to boulders and drowned, he resurrected on the third day riding in the back of crocodile, is that not miracle enough? Or How should that be classified; Voodoo, Black magic or Miracle?
Agya Ahor, another great gem. Just as the Christ, Agya Ahor sacrificed himself for the love of his people.
The African traditional religion which has over the decades been described as pagan and un-Godly proves otherwise, the ecclesiastic Roman named the various months of the year and days of the week after their pagan idols and gods, like “Sunday” the day reserved for the worship of the “sun god” and “March” being named after the roman god “Mars”, the planet Jupiter is clearly named after the Roman idol.
Unlike the pagan roman African festive celebrations show signs of Biblical and ancient historic tradition, the Creator, according to the book of Exodus appeared to Moses in the form of fire, the Bible also reads in the book of Hebrews chapter 12:29 “for our God is a consuming fire” so it is ecclesiastical if the Dagomba ethnic group celebrates the “Bugum Chugu”-fire festival, “Cleanliness they say is godliness”, Adae is an Akan festival of Cleanliness. So in earnest, Has the African a God?
By Edwin Abanga