Mother Earth, Mother Africa and African Women’s Role in Indigenous Religions
AbstractThis paper explores the nexus between African indigenous religio-culture and ecology, gender, rituals and the environment, in current ritual debates. Current debates demonstrate that ritual has filtered into the public space thereby being resilient and at the same time vulnerable to exploitation by the public sphere. Examining the current debates on rites of passage, this article reviews four chapters from the book Mother Earth, Mother Africa and African Indigenous Religions. African indigenous rituals are spaces that produce knowledge for African ways of living. However, in search of progress, development and better life, most African people have been neglecting rites as they seem unprogressive. In ritual spaces, the novices were instructed about how to engage with nature and how to live with others within communities. Ritual spaces gave women and men (initiates) agency over a vast number of life issues. Drawing on African feminist cultural hermeneutics, I examine ritual functions as a tool to understand how contemporary African people’s search for justice can be gleaned within such African rituals in order to uplift women’s agency.