Religion : a new Struggle for African Identity

Sanni, John Sodiq (2016)

CITATION: Sanni, J. S. 2016. Religion : a new Struggle for African Identity. Phronimon, 7(1):71–83, doi:10.17159/2413-3086/2016/120.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Looking at most African countries, one realises that the social imaginaries which make us who we are, continue to be an issue in every society. It is even more rampant when we think of the role religion plays in determining who we are, what we believe and how we should act and react. This article seeks to look at the nature of religion and how religion over the years played a significant role in African identity. This article proposes that African identity has been endangered by religion; that there is a need to rethink our conceptualisation of religion and to move away from the understanding of religion as the basis of identity. This is because our shared lives should and must be the basis of identity. In other words, imported religions have their own origin and this origin cannot be disassociated from the belief inherent in the religions. There is a need to free the mind of its conditionings that give priority to religion and may therefore serve to exclude other sources of identity derived from collective histories and collective experiences. The illusion which religion plunges us into is often the reason for the problems of identity which most African societies struggle with today. An awareness of this illusion and a new understanding of identity as derived from a shared African experience, will go a long way in resolving the problem of identity in Africa.

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