Of course, not all societies were equally transformed. The symbols of justice were respected and belief in restoring justice was very strong (Agi 2008:131). In many African countries people who do not subscribe to any form of religion make up less than 0.1% of the population (Koenig 2009:283; cf. 2010:53). This is crucial, as religious values are an important resource for religious communities in their quest for the socio-political and economic development of Africa. "Research on Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health: A Review." PhD dissertation. "Patterns of African Migration and Immigrant Condition," in Kalu, W, Wariboko, N, & Falola, T (eds. The Search for Alternative Systems of Governance at the Grassroots, 73-85, Ibadan: Heinemann. Much of this nonchalance with regard to public issues is initiated by the political elite and given impetus by religious leaders and by the faithful. Finally, we will end our discussion by giving new consideration to the ways in which the resources of religion could be utilised by Africans as a force for positive social transformation and development in African society. These proverbs clearly imply a real awareness of how poverty as an undesirable state or condition of human well-being not only leads to exclusion from communal life but also to an undermining of the 'good life' that gives meaning and purpose to human existence.2. Includes bibliographical references and index. Available: http://www.ipc-undp.org/pub/IPCPovertyInFocus9.pdf [accessed 11 June 2014]. In as much as these are extremely difficult and disturbing questions, they clearly call for deep reflection on the part of religious scholars and practitioners. Fourthly, religious practitioners have often encouraged 'God-talk' that weakens the resolve of masses to rise up against unjust political and economic systems in Africa. [ Links ], Asamoah-Gyadu, JK 2010. The common belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, to whom all created beings are accountable, should serve as a continuous reminder to religious practitioners of the necessity for accountability in all matters. Speculative reflection without practice has never been characteristic of Africans; the two always go together (Kunhiyop 2008:226). Social change—Nigeria. The influence of the beliefs and practices of the AICs on mainline and Pentecostal churches in Africa and the African diaspora is substantial (Adogame 2013:60-78). Indeed, it could well be said that religious groups - Christian, Islamic and African Traditional - and their leaders have by and large been compliant as far as these problems are concerned. Religion and social transformation in Africa: A critical and appreciative perspective1, Research Institute for Theology and Religion University of South Africa. A stranger, on passing by a yam barn when hungry, can stop over to roast yam and eat to his or her satisfaction. Both the immersion and moral formation of the individual are carried out by parents and members of the community through religious rituals and teachings. [ Links ], Tracey, P 2012. Christians believe that his suffering took away all their sins. The importance of the role of religious institutions in overturning unjust social institutions elsewhere lies in the example this presents to African religious institutions and practitioners. Please check your email address / username and password and try again. 2012:14). These moral foundations and beliefs, transformed through serious interaction with the word of God and inculturated into African Christianity, will save and strengthen the moral stance of the Christian community and indeed of Africa (Kunhiyop 2008:222). Christ Embassy and Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nigeria are prominent examples. Illustrating how … Unfortunately, the realities of endemic poverty and corruption are enduring challenges in African societies despite the phenomenon of overt religiosity manifested in these same societies. For example, faith-based organisations (FBOs) led mainly by certain Christian churches have actively sought dialogue on development-related issues with donor agencies, whilst donors have also reciprocated (Clarke & Jennings 2008:2). The concept of spiritual and religious capital is similar to the more general concept of social capital because this is a resource based on relationships that individuals and religious groups can access for their personal well-being. "An Emerging Strategy of Social Capital Formation: Opportunity and Challenge for the Religious Sector," in Swart, I, Rocher, H, Green, S & Erasmus, J (eds. Religion in Africa is a key source of social capital. [ Links ], Kalu, OU 2010a. [ Links ], Kalu, OU 2010b. Christianity was subtly intertwined with the agenda of the West. ), Religions in Africa: Conflicts, Politics and Social Ethics, The Collected Essays of Ogbu Uke Kalu, Vol. Religion has rules about conduct that guide life within a social group and it is often organised and practised in a community, instead of being an individual or personal affair. ), The Gods in Retreat: Continuity and Change in African Religion, 111-153, Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers. For him this feature of intense religiosity should be contrasted with the enormity of corruption in Nigerian society. AIDS programs promulgate to both the HIV-positive and larger populations particular forms of relating toward oneself and acting upon oneself that are not based on repressive modes of discipline but on freedom, choice and individual responsibility. According to Ndem Ndiyo (2008:175), corruption "is the offering, giving, receiving or soliciting, directly or indirectly, of anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party". Moreover, one may ask: What are the consequences of this form of religiosity? Calabar: University of Calabar Press. 3, 3-10, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. Thirdly, through their work as distributors of relief and charity, religious institutions -such as the churches - are effectively providing psychological relief for unjust conditions and political and socio-economic institutions (Swart 2006a:24-25), whilst these continue to impoverish African societies (cf. Mbiti 1999:15). Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. African religions therefore constitute an enormous terrain that overlaps with the socio-political and economic spheres in sub-Saharan Africa and its diaspora. It is on record that in the midst of the turmoil accompanying transitions to democracy in Africa through the 1990s, the Pentecostals rallied in prayer for their nations, and interceded in order to save their countries from bloodshed (Asamoah-Gyadu 2010:66). However, over a period of time, and particularly from the latter part of the 20th century, a movement from estrangement to engagement between faith and development occurred. Religion and the Politics of Justice in Nigeria. For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription. [ Links ], Kukah, MH 1996. However, in order to give a proper account we started by exploring in what sense religion can be said to be a way of life for Africans. ), Service with Integrity: The Christian in the Nigerian Project, 211-244, Kaduna: The ECWA Goodnews Church. Search for other works by this author on: © The Author 2009. [ Links ], Onaiyekan, J 2010. ), Back on Track: Sector-led Growth in Africa and Implications for Development, 37-58, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press. [ Links ], Maluleke, TS 2010. [ Links ], Agbiji, OM 2012. In fact, it was the speed with which change occurred that set the colonial era apart from earlier periods in South Africa. Rethinking African Development: Towards a Framework for Social Integration and Ecological Harmony. 2. You could not be signed in. At the same time, however, if religion is so entrenched in the socio-political and economic lives of Africans, it is unimaginable that it does not also have a vital role to play in the transformation of the continent. Explore this article. 5.5 The socio-economic impact of Christianity 207 5.6 Conclusion 213 Chapter six 217 ... 2 Louis Brenner (ed. The practitioners of religion should also initiate a culture of moral accountability. Hope and optimism are mediated through emphasis on the power of the Word of God in spiritual formation and in resisting evil forces (Kalu 2010f:77). For his part, Stan Burkey (1993:3-4) defines poverty in terms of basic needs and he distinguishes between absolute and relative poverty. The Academy of Management Annals 6(1):87-134. By taking stock of “Christianity's past record,” it is hoped that Christians, the churches, and the general public, would be helped “to participate with greater and more self-critical insight” in shaping the future of that troubled country. Whilst the influence of Christianity on traditional religion (and vice-versa) is significant, especially as this concerns attaining a meaningful indigenous African Christianity, the mutual influence of religion and the socio-political and economic life of Africans should not be underestimated. A few examples will illustrate the role of religion in terms of social capital drawn from religious communities, civil society and democratic life in Africa. Poverty is often accompanied by psychological and physical indignities. Education - Education - South Africa: From the time of the first white settlements in South Africa, the Protestant emphasis on home Bible reading ensured that basic literacy would be achieved in the family. His understanding of poverty among the Olulumo (Okuni) people is based on personal insights, experience and exposure to his community. Lamle's argument on the important role of churches in society captures the importance of religion in the socio-political and economic spheres of African societies. Mark the Evangelist made history in the year 43 when he became the first bishop to serve in the Orthodox Church of Alexandria. The importance of religion includes the fact that religion is the root from which the different branches of life sprout and grow and by which they are continually nurtured. A few examples will suffice in this regard. "Who is Afraid of the Holy Ghost? [ Links ], Laguda, DO 2013. Christianity achieved a major thing in Africa: to teach the black Africans to forsake all their traditions and to facilitate colonialism. Democracy as Theological Dilemma for Historically Orthodox Nations, About the J.M. [ Links ], Ndiyo, NA 2008. The question thus arises as to whether African religiosity gives impetus to poverty and corruption on the continent or whether religion has a crucial role to play in the liberation of African societies from poverty and corruption. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 54(5):283-291. Christianity and social change in Africa : essays in honor of J.D.Y. How religion could foster a more relevant transformation agenda in Africa is a possible area for future empirical research. [ Links ], Swart, I 2006b. Religion still has the potential to influence socio-political and economic processes in Africa. For example, among the already-mentioned Olulumo (Okuni) people of Cross River State, Nigeria, traditional norms still exist until today that are religiously informed and that ensure there is care for all members of the community. ), Religion and Social Development in Post-apartheid South Africa: Perspectives for Critical Engagement, 45-60, Stellenbosch: SUN Press. He therefore urges the church to be in solidarity with the poor who alone deserve this support. Christianity pays attention to moral formation through Bible study, catechism and through other means of disseminating scripture within the family unit and the church community. RELIGION AND SOCIAL CHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA A. [ Links ], Ranger, T 2002. All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License, http://ifra-nigeria.org/IMG/pdf/boko-haram-islamism-politics-security-nigeria.pdf, http://www.nepad.org/system/files/Africa%20Decade%20of%20Change%20-%20Final.pdf, http://cas1.elis.ugent.be/avrug/pdf02/ranger01.pdf, http://www.newsfromafrica.org/newsfromafrica/articles/art_7895.html, http://www.ipc-undp.org/pub/IPCPovertyInFocus9.pdf, http://www.uneca.org/publications/economic-report-africa-2013. Journal of Religion in Africa 36(3/4):346-378. In our view, Maluleke makes a crucial point that should be taken seriously by religious leaders in other parts of Africa, as religious leaders and institutions are often tempted to become subject to political manipulation in African societies. As legitimate citizens of their respective nations, religious practitioners are entitled to political power and prestige. South Africa is the product of the colonial era — whether in terms of its social structures or its convictions. The Aladura of West Africa, for example, strongly believe that the spoken word can be endowed with 'Agbara emi' (spiritual power). 3 Archbishop Pius Ncube is a Roman Catholic Church leader from Zimbabwe. ), Religions in Africa: Conflicts, Politics and Social Ethics, The Collected Essays of Ogbu Uke Kalu, Vol. Religion is about virtue and moral values. Both the universe, and practically all human activities in it, are seen and experienced from a religious perspective. Such norms and practices include that a member of the community or a stranger can harvest food crops from another's farm for the purpose of addressing his/her need for food. Religion, accordingly, is not just a typical function or variable amongst other variables: it constitutes the root from which the different branches of life sprout, grow and flourish. David Ngong, The Social History of Christianity in South Africa 1487 to 1994, Journal of Church and State, Volume 51, Issue 3, Summer 2009, Pages 528–530, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcs/csp081. ), African Pentecostalism: Global Discourses, Migrations, Exchanges and Connections, The Collected Essays of Ogbu Uke Kalu, Vol. Such a Western worldview, which is unfamiliar to Africans, includes the compartmentalisation of life and asserts individual moral freedom in total disregard of the community. At a prayer day in Harare in February 2002, Mugabe addressed an audience that included a large contingent from the sect known as African Apostolic Faith;4 they held placards inscribed with ZANU-PF political messages, whilst singing and dancing. There is no such thing as com-partmentalisation or dichotomisation when it comes to human existence: there is no division between matter and spirit, soul and body, and religious practice and daily life. [ Links ], Agbiji, OM & Swart, I 2013. It is when religious communities live in the consciousness of these core values that religion can employ all its resources for the transformation of African societies. These moral values are reflected in the scriptures of the various literary religions - Christianity and Islam - and in the oral tradition of African Traditional Religion. Among African societies, religion is useful in mobilising resources that would not otherwise have been mobilised to address community problems. Most African countries fall within the absolute poverty category. As such, religious communities still remain viable platforms for the sustaining of civil society in Africa and for fostering political and economic activities. A discussion on morality would automatically touch on Christian but also on Islamic and African Traditional religious theology and vice versa, as theology and ethics are intimately connected in both the African continent and elsewhere. That we do not Agree on the definition of the J. M. 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