One of Jacob Olupona's earliest memories in Massachusetts is of nearly freezing in his apartment as a graduate student at Boston University during the great snowstorm of I told my father that I was coming home," he recalled.
But after braving that first blizzard in a land far from his native Nigeria, Olupona stuck it out and earned his Ph. He went on to conduct some of the most significant research on African religions in decades.
Olupona earned his bachelor of arts degree in religious studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in He later earned both an M. Authoring or editing more than half a dozen books on religion and African culture including the recent African Religions: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University PressOlupona has researched topics ranging from the indigenous religions of Africa to the religious practices of Africans who have settled in America.
His research has helped to introduce and popularize new concepts in religious studies, such as the term "reverse missionaries," referring to African prelates sent to Europe and the United States. The recipient of many prestigious academic honors and research fellowships, Olupona also received the — Reimar Lust Award for International and Cultural Exchange, considered one of Germany's most prestigious academic honors. The award allows Olupona a year of study and research in Germany; he is on leave this year — Much of Olupona's work is an attempt to provide a fuller understanding of the complexity and richness of African indigenous thought and practice by viewing it not as a foil or as a useful comparative to better understand Western religions, but as a system of thought and belief that should be valued and understood for its own ideas and contribution to global religions.
Harvard Gazette: How would you define indigenous African religions? JO: Indigenous African religions refer to the indigenous or native religious beliefs of the African people before the Christian and Islamic colonization of Africa. For instance, the Yoruba religion has historically been centered in southwestern Nigeria, the Zulu religion in southern Africa, and the Igbo religion in southeastern Nigeria. But for many Africans, religion can never be separated from all these. It is a way of life, and it can never be separated from the public sphere.
Religion informs everything in traditional African society, including political art, marriage, health, diet, dress, economics, and death.
This is not to say that indigenous African spirituality represents a form of theocracy or religious totalitarianism—not at all. African spirituality simply acknowledges that beliefs and practices touch on and inform every facet of human life, and therefore African religion cannot be separated from the everyday or mundane. African spirituality is truly holistic. Gazette: How have ancestors played a role in traditional societies?This is only one of many points of evidence to prove that the Kongo spirit was alive in puerto rico during the 19th century.
Religious Beliefs and Spirituality in Congo
Amongst those was a man named Meliton Congo who in in the town of Loiza, was interviewed by the American Anthropologist J. Alden Mason.
Meliton Congo gave a detailed account of his life in P. These are just two examples of many that I have researched and lectured on over the years. The Bambula is the oldest known rhythm of the bomba complex. It is the kikongo word for the act of re-remembering who you are as a person, tapping into the collective unconscious. This is one of the key concepts taught amongst the Kikimba, Lemba, and Kimpasi societies of the Bakongo people.
Now we can understand what the word Ki-Bambula means. It translates to the philosophy of re-remembering who we are as a people, as a nation, all while connecting to the collective unconscious in order to reconnect with who we were before, especially when before refers to a life we have not yet lived. Ntondele thank you Tata Fukiau for being the first to truly translate this mambo for me. Many of Betances travels, for instance, led him around the Dominican Republic and also to Haiti. He must have had Cuban ties and worked in contact with Maceo From Wikipedia we discover:.
Immediately after returning to Paris, Betances became a key contact for the Cuban insurgency in Paris. He made several fund raising efforts, including one that attempted to fund quinine shipments to the Cuban rebels, to ease their pain when infected by malaria in the island battlefields. You must be logged in to post a comment.
Ah eh a la ki-bambula…. Todo el mundo tiene paso de briyumba meno yo…. Everybody has their connection to briyumba except me, hmmmm as a question Ah eh a la kibambula Let us collectively remember who we once were. He must have had Cuban ties and worked in contact with Maceo From Wikipedia we discover: Immediately after returning to Paris, Betances became a key contact for the Cuban insurgency in Paris. Share this: Facebook Twitter. Kongo Real says: March 3, at am.
Log in to Reply. TeremeneNdoki says: March 6, at am. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. Lanalee on Basimbi part 1 Mr. D on Syncretism has no place in Mayombe.Please check back at 3pm EST to see our brand new look! My Account.
Advanced Search. Natural Citrine is a premier stone of manifestation, imagination, and personal will. Carrying the power of the sun, it is warm and comforting, energizing and life giving. It stimulates the chakras like the sunlight of spring, clearing the mind and stirring the soul to action.
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Natural Citrine tumblestones, placed where light catches them, clears unfriendly ghosts from an area. Sprinkle a Citrine elixir weekly to prevent the negative energies from returning. A small warning: Citrine may exacerbate aggressiveness in some.The sub-Saharan area in which the Democratic Republic of the Congo is located is known to have a great deal of religious diversity when compared to those areas in Northern Africa, where most of the populations are Muslim.
In fact, the most widely practiced religion in the country is Christianity in it's various forms. Christianity has a rather long history in the Democratic Republic of the Congodating back towhen Portuguese colonizers arrived in the country and missionaries established some high profile conversions such as the King as well as his entourage.
More widespread conversion to Christianity occurred during the Belgian colonial era. Interestingly, many Christian and Muslim followers also retain elements of traditional African religions within their respective beliefs. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has also adopted freedom of religion as a basic human right in it's constitution.
Foreign missionaries operate freely within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and consequently, the country has been influenced a great deal by other countries when it comes to religion.
This article will explore the different religious beliefs of this nation. Roman Catholicism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is largely a product of the Belgian Colonial era, with Belgian colonizers establishing Catholicism early on.
The state of Belgium also subsidized Roman Catholic missions that would establish schools as well as hospitals throughout the country. While establishing this religion in the country, the belief was held by Belgium colonizers that Catholicism would lead to a more disciplined, healthy and somewhat more educated population.
Puerto Rico and Congo Spirituality
In the 's, the Catholic church of the Congo was one of the Congolese State's loudest critics - this lead to a souring of relations between the church and the state. The Roman Catholic Church owns hospitals, schools and even farms and stores in the country. Some observers contend that the church is doing a better job at managing state functions, such as healthcare and education, than the government has historically done. Protestant Christianity has roots in the Democratic Republic of the Congo going back towhen the first Protestant mission was founded in the country.
This religion is valued by the Congolese population due to the image of integrity the church projects in such a corrupt country. Protestantism is also highly valued for the educational and medical services provided, much in the same way as the Roman Catholic Church is. Since independence inprotestant churches have been successfully handed over to African control, with foreign missionaries working under Congolese Church of Christ guidance.
The church is lead by a President who holds the rank of Bishop. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there is a union of 62 Protestant denominations throughout the country. Islam made it's way into the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the 18th Century as East African Arab ivory traders made their way inland in order to attain more elephant tusks for ivory.
Islam was largely suppressed publicly in the period of Belgian colonialism untilwhen Islamic organizations such as Quran schools were opened. Muslim Holy Days are not observed in the country, but still respected nonetheless.
Muslims of the country are usually stereotyped and reduced to having a public image of being illiterate and unemployed. The majority of schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo throughout history are and were Christian, therefore, Muslims could not attend.
Jamaa means "family" in Swahili, and the Jamaa religion is a hybrid of European and African religious beliefs. Jamaa is somewhat accepted as a form of Catholicism by the Roman Church, but the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has started questioning the religion due to the growing disparity between the Jamaa and Catholic Church.
The Jehovah's Witnesses have been active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since the s, and throughout their history within the country many missionaries have come under attack from the government as well as local people of different religions.
Fast forward to today and Jehovah's Witnesses are free to practice their religion, protected by constitutional law. Mormonism is a relative newcomer among churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, having first been established there in The church today has almost 44, members as well as congregations within the country.
There is also a large Mormon temple the first of its kind in the country being built in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a completion date set for late or early The Kongo people Kongo : Esikongosingular: Mwisikngo ; also Bakongosingular: Mukongo  are a Bantu ethnic group primarily defined as the speakers of Kikongo Kongo languages. They have lived along the Atlantic coast of Central Africain a region that by the 15th century was a centralized and well-organized Kingdom of Kongobut is now a part of three countries.
The Kongo people were among the earliest sub-Saharan Africans to welcome Portuguese traders in CE, and began converting to Catholicism in the late 15th century. The Kongo people were a part of the major slave raiding, capture and export trade of African slaves to the European colonial interests in 17th and 18th century.
In the early 20th century, they became one of the most active ethnic groups in the efforts to decolonize Africa, helping liberate the three nations to self governance. They now occupy influential positions in the politics, administration and business operations in the three countries they are most found in. The origin of the name Kongo is unclear, and several theories have been proposed.
The Kongo people have been referred to by various names in the colonial French, Belgian and Portuguese literature, names such as Esikongo singular MwisikongoMucicongoMesikongoMadcongo and Moxicongo.
The prefix "mu-" and "ba-" refer to "people", singular and plural respectively. The ancient history of the Kongo people has been difficult to ascertain. The region is close to East Africa, considered to be a key to the prehistoric human migrations.
This geographical proximity, states Jan Vansinasuggests that the Congo river region, home of the Kongo people, was populated thousands of years ago. The earliest archeological evidence related to this region, where the Kongo people are concentrated, is from Tchissangaa site dated to about BCE.
However, the site does not prove which ethnic group was resident at that time. Small kingdoms and Kongo principalities appeared in the current region by the CE, but documented history of this period of Kongo people if it existed has not survived into the modern era. Detailed and copious description about the Kongo people who lived next to the Atlantic ports of the region, as a sophisticated culture, language and infrastructure, appear in the 15th century, written by the Portuguese explorers.
The evidence suggests, states Vansina, that the Kongo people were advanced in their culture and socio-political systems with multiple kingdoms well before the arrival of first Portuguese ships in the late 15th century. Archaeological evidence, Portuguese documents and Kongo oral tradition suggest that the Kingdom of Kongo was founded in the 14th century. This required the king to win his legitimacy by a process of recognizing his peers, consensus building as well as regalia and religious ritualism.
The Portuguese arrived on the Central African coast north of the Congo river, several times between and searching for a sea route to India but they failed to find any ports or trading opportunities.
Insouth of the Congo river they found the Kongo people and the Kingdom of Kongo, which had a centralized government, a currency called nzimbuand markets, ready for trading relations.
They also found exchange of goods easy and the Kongo people open to ideas. The trade between Kongo people and Portuguese people thereafter accelerated through Initially, the Kongo people exchanged ivory and copper objects they made with luxury goods of Portuguese. Soon thereafter they began kidnapping people from the Kongo society and afterthey provoked military campaigns in nearby African regions to get slave labor.
Finally, he succumbed to the demand and accepted an export of those who willing accepted slavery, and for a fee per slave. The Portuguese procured 2, to 3, slaves per year for a few years, froma practice that started the slave export history of the Kongo people. However, this supply was far short of the demand for slaves and the money slave owners were willing to pay.
The Portuguese operators approached the traders at the borders of the Kongo kingdom, such as the Malebo Pool and offered luxury goods in exchange for captured slaves. This created, states Jan Vansina, an incentive for border conflicts and slave caravan routes, from other ethnic groups and different parts of Africa, in which the Kongo people and traders participated. This war unexpectedly led to a flood of captives who had challenged the Kongo nobility and traders, and the coastal ports were flooded with "war captives turned slaves".
This caricature of the African people and their dehumanization was vociferous and well published by the slave traders, the missionaries and the colonial era Portuguese historians, which helped morally justify mass trading of slaves.
Modern scholars such as Estevam Thompson suggest that the war was a response of the Kongo people and other ethnic groups to the stolen children and broken families from the rising slavery, because there is no evidence that any "Jaga kingdom" ever existed, and there is no evidence to support other related claims alleged in the records of that era.
From the s, the European traders arrived in large numbers and the slave trading through the Kongo people territory dramatically increased. The weakened Kingdom of Kongo continued to face internal revolts and violence that resulted from the raids and capture of slaves, and the Portuguese in established the port city of Luanda now in Angola in cooperation with a Kongo noble family to facilitate their military presence, African operations and the slave trade thereof.
Inthe Portuguese army invaded the Kingdom, killed the Kongo king, disbanded his army, and installed a friendly replacement in his place. The Kongo-Portuguese war and the killing of the hereditary king by the Portuguese soldiers led to a political vacuum.
Kongo kingdom disintegrated into smaller kingdoms, each controlled by nobles considered friendly by the Portuguese. The Loango was in the northern part, above the Congo river, a region which long before the war was already an established community of the Kongo people.
The old capital of Kongo people called Sao Salvador was burnt down, in ruins and abandoned in Most citizens of the Republic of the Congo are Christian, though the majority of them still carry on indigenous religious practices to some degree.
The movement retains many Christian elements but believes in ancestral worship. The rest of the population practice traditional African Religion or atheism. Around 2 million people in Congo are Catholics. The country has one archdiocese and seven dioceses. The faith has a significant impact on the economy, political and social life of the Congolese nation.
The church owns most of the primary and secondary schools, hospitals, clinics, farms, ranches and artisan shops. It is the backbone of the Congolese economy. The church provides necessities to the vulnerable and displaced people. It is a beacon of peace preventing a resurgence of violence. It encourages Christians to engage in social justice and help others heal physical and psychological wounds of the prolonged war in the country. Protestantism is the thirds largest religion in Brazzaville with a Similar to the Catholic faith, Protestant churches value in the economy is huge.
From medical and educational services the church forms the primary body to fight for humanitarian and the freedom of a people engulfed by a sea of corruption.
History of Protestantism dates back to the last phase of the 19 th Century. Despite the hostile environment the faith encountered in the Congo, the church went on to fight for the rights of a people subverted by the abuse in the rubber and ivory economy in both Congo and DRC.
The movement received global recognition, and the Belgian state took control of DRC from the local monarchies. After world War II hostility reduced and the faith was allowed access to state subsidies for their schools and hospitals. In the recent years, the Congolese press and media have been involved in revivalism to restore the moral discipline of a country buried in corruption and civil war. The history of the church dates back to Daniel Ndoundou spiritual awakening leader of Later in the Swedish Evangelical church underwent spiritual dryness where they prayed to God to release an outpouring of His Spirit on the lost people.
To answer their prayers John Magnusson, a Swedish pastor, received revelation. From then the spiritual revival started and spread to other churches and institutions. However, Ndoundou remained the central figure in the Christian revival as he united the Protestant churches with the new faith for a peaceful coexistence. After years of restoration, the faith is now the second largest denomination in the country with over The Kimbangu Church dates back to when Simon Kimbangu founded the church based on his own personal religious beliefs regarding Christianity.
Simon was a member of the English Baptist Mission Church before he received the divine call to serve a higher purpose. The religion started in the lower Congo spreading to other territories. He evolved a strict doctrine from Protestantism and gave it to the people.The differences between Spiritual Traditional Religion and Tradititonal Religion are important and significant.
The main differences between Spiritual Traditional Religion and Traditional Religion are; that Spiritual Traditional Religion indicates the practice, connection and initiation with the Universal Forces i. Spirituality is to manifest these Creative attributes which exist within the Source, therefore to connect with the source relates to an individual being 'in-contact' with these forces invisible and visible. There is no shedding of blood to create a connectipon or to achieve the development of Spiritual Evolution.
This is a system of knowledge that has been 'inherited' from generation to generation. Custom heritage can be customs that used without knowing their origins, this can be a dis-advantage to inhabitants of a country simply because they are not aware that they are following a tradition that became fashionable due to colonialism for example. Sorcery was never indigenous to Katiopa, but brought to the land with the Missionaries and colonisators.
This was later adopted has the indigenous Spiritual system were outlawed and the colonial Religion imposed on the people. After time the names of European dieties and their blood sacrifices were mixed with older idea's of that country. Religion, as we know it indicates a following, gloryfication and adoring of an individual or system of mind control that is meant to be a mediator between an individual and the source, The Divine Forces, within and without, invisible and visible.
These methods are employed to stop or retard the spiritual advancement of all people. Today Religion is used to manipulate the people of the Earth. Corrupt so-called leaders, lead not by example but through lies they exploit and profit from their un-savoury actions. The Love, Force, Spiritual System of the Creator never changes, it was us as a people who deviated from the rightful path that our Ancestors left. History is the foundation of Knowledge and in the History we see and learn that the system used to defeat the Colonisators whether in Brazil, North America, Haiti and Kongo was the same.
If there were two or three system then that would divide the people and created rivalries and conflict therefore today the same system that our Great Glorious Ancestors used will again be the instrument which our Archangel Ne Muanda Kongo will use to liberate Kongo and the World. Ingetta ibobo ibobo.
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