Africa has gone through lots of transitions, from the pre-colonial to the colonial era, down to this present times. This transition had affected the cultures, traditions, and most especially the religion of the local people. Our contact with the European colonizers dislocated our traditional African religion. Hence, what we now have is an influx of Eastern and Western religions, which to some extent have tried as much as possible, to discourage the practice of our African traditional religion.
Consequently, In this article, we will be highlighting the 10 most popular religions in Africa, which was compiled by Britannica, a survey carried out on religion in Africa.
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What Is Religion ?
According to wikipedia, Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. This means that religion is a means or a channel by which the finite beings connects with the infinite beings that are believed to possess higher powers.
Its pertinent to observe that every human association, no matter how primitive they are, have a sense of religious obligation, because humans by nature are religious beings. Below is the list of top religions that Africans have adopted in their search to satiate their religious inclinations.
Christianity is the most popular religion in Africa and it was brought to Africa by the colonial masters during their quest in Africa. Christianity has become one of the accepted religion in Africa with over 500 million Christians of different affiliations, Catholics, Anglican, Pentecostal, Jehovah witness and so on. Christianity has spread all over Africa and it is predominant in East, west and southern part of Africa.
Islam is one of the major religions in the world and not surprisingly one of the major religion in Africa with over 400 million Islam in Africa and these are predominantly in the Northern part of Africa, with few Muslims located in some part of Western Africa and very few Muslims in other parts of Africa.
African Tradition Religion
This is the main African religion passed on by ancestors from generations to generations but have greatly been relegated in numbers after colonization of Africa and world globalization. It is believed that about 10% of Africa population still practice this African traditional religion.
The African traditional religion is very diverse and varies with different traditions and culture. However, they do have some similarities, such as the use of magic, use of traditional medicine, believe in ancestral gods, oral incantations and so on.
Hinduism is not that popular in Africa but statistics has it that we have over 2 million Hindus in Africa with most of them in East Africa and Mauritania, where it is one of the major religion in the country.
Hinduism was brought to Africa during colonization of the continents by the Indians. The Indians who were mainly servants to the Britain introduced the religion to the Africans and it has been growing since then.
Baha i faith
The Baha I faith was believed to have been introduced initially in Egypt but had been on the low due to the prosecution of their members. However, they are very dominant in Central and Southern African countries such as Congo, Zambia, and South Africa. They are about 2 millions of them in Africa. This religion is the religion that teaches the unity of all religion and people of the world.
Buddist is one of the lesser religion in Africa brought by the Asians, as they immigrate to Africa, mostly for the purpose of working on the continent. Buddhism is increasing in Africa as the Asians become economically viable in the world economy and their interest in Africa as an upcoming continent had seen many Asians moved to the continent. It is believed that we have just above 280,000 Buddhist in Africa with the majority of them found in South Africa and countries along the Indian Ocean.
Judaism is surprisingly practiced in Africa, however, the continent has no linked heritage the Judaism. It is predominantly found in the Northern part of Africa as Israelis settlement are found from migrants who ran away from persecution. The present of Judaism in Africa can also be traced to those Jews who ran to settle in Africa to escape the Holocaust. The population of those practicing Judaism in Africa is just above 100,000.
Chinese Folks Religion
This can be traced to the Asians that have immigrated and settled in Africa as they introduce a different aspect of their culture to the Africa culture. They are about 133,000 people who practice this Chinese religion and way of life and they are predominately located in South Africa and Mauritius.
Jains is one of the religions that was brought to Africa by the Indians. It has continued to grow in Africa since it was introduced in the 17th century. There are temples found Nairobi and Mombasa where feast are organized yearly. They are a large number of them in Kenya and south Africa with above 96, 000 in Africa.
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