African Traditional Religion

In this paper I wish to examine the place and the role of women according to African Religion. The paper focuses on three areas: mythology, proverbs and prayers. In the area of mythology we are confronted with the picture of women in the early state of human existence. This is not history. The myth is broader than history in explaining some aspects of society. It is a language of expressing truths or realities for which history does not supply a full explanation.
Prayers take us into the spirituality of those who pray them. They show us among other things, the inner person, the needs of the heart, (both joy and sorrow, gratitude and disappointment, expectation and anxiety), as the praying person stands 'naked' before spiritual realities. This is to see what women say in prayer, and thereby to get a glimpse into their spiritual life as that may be nourished by African Religion and as it may in turn contribute to African Religion itself. A proverb from Ghana declares that: A woman is a flower in a garden; her husband is the fence around it'." (1).
1. WOMEN IN AFRICAN MYTHOLOGY
A large number of myths is to be found in Africa. Every African tribe has its own body of myths, stories, legends and oral history. We want to concentrate here mainly on the myths dealing with the origin of human beings, since women are featured very prominently in these myths.
Some myths speak about an original Mother of mankind, from whom all people originated. For example, the Akposso (of Togo) tell that when Uwolowu (God) made men, He first made a woman on the earth and bore with her the first child, the first human being (2). The Ibibio (of Nigeria) say that human beings came from the divinity Obumo, which was the son of the mother-divinity Eka-Abassi (3). It is told in eastern Af ...
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