MEANING OF LIFE AND ITS WHOLENESS IN THE TRADITIONAL AFRICAN SOCIETY
At the end of the lesson, you should be able to:
- Describe the meaning and wholeness of life in the traditional African society
- Describe the African understanding of a community Life originates from God and it progress from one stage to another with a certain rhythm each person has to follow. Each stage of life is marked by rites of passage. Life is continuous and unending.
Each person is expected to value life and to be responsible. Life involves sharing.
It is immoral to be greedy and self centred. People are to be hospitable, warm and caring toward other people.
Unity and harmony are to be upheld.
Life is viewed as whole only if a person went through all the stages or rites of passage Life was propagated through bearing children.
Life cannot be divided into religious and secular.
Every element of life has a religious meaning.
Life is communal.
Life was celebrated at every stage.
Everyone depends on others. Labour was divided. There were duties for men, children and women.
In African traditional society, human life is precious.
Murder was condemned harshly.
Suicide was considered the worst thing anyone could do.
It was seen as a curse on the family.
If one died at childhood, it was regarded as abortion. Death did not mark the end of life.
Death is referred to as ‘saying goodbye to food”, “sleeping,” “going home”, “being called by the ancestors”.
African concept of a community
A community is a group of people who share a common language, religion, and culture and may live in the same geographical location.
This group of people or an ethnic group shares common interests and characteristics.
For example, African communities:
- Share common features, and interests
- Have the same origin and are likely to be related by blood.
- Share a common language.
- Live together and inhabit the same geographical location.
- Are divided into smaller units called clans
A clan is made up of people who have the same forefather.
A clan is composed of families.
A family is made up of members (living or dead) who are related by blood and marriage.
Family members therefore include the ancestors and the unborn.