WinterABC2022 Stories of our World:African Spirituality

“Wherever the African is, there is religion”-J. S Mbiti

I looked at my son and smiled, he was now a grown man. He was no longer throwing tantrums or sulking and yet I always referred to him as my little boy. He was leaving home for the University of Zimbabwe. Would he be able to fit in and adjust considering that he had spent all his life in Marondera? I sat him down and lectured him about university life and I wanted him to be religious conscious.

I am grateful to my late Religious Studies lecturer who emphasised that most religions are the same. But instead of focusing on the similarities, people focus on the differences and this is how division or hate starts. My late lecturer had passed this knowledge to me in HLT 200 and it was now my duty to pass the knowledge to Chenjerai. My little boy and his name sometimes behaved like oil and water.

Back then some of the religions were only in some parts of the world but people moved from one place to another. Be it in search of greener pastures and the missionaries from different religions had the task to spread the religions in Africa. Some religions have holy books, (Bible, Quran).Religion gives one a sense of belonging or identity and there are always laws that guide the believers of a particular religion. Some religions have commandments, pillars of faith , virtues or even taboos. These laws act as a guide. Some religions believe in monotheism (belief in one god) or polytheism(belief in many gods).

I wondered if Chenjerai was paying attention, and when I asked him the names of the Supreme beings of the religions he knew he was able to mention Allah for Islam, God for Christians, Brahman for Hinduism and Mwari or Musikavanhu for Indigenous religions. To my surprise, my son mentioned the holy books, the sacred places and the founders of some religions.

I  hugged and whispered in his ear, “respect other people’s religions, no religion is inferior to the other. Do not judge or make fun of someone’s religion.  Treat all the religions with respect”.Chenjerai held my hand and uttered these words, “Yes Ma, I have learnt from the best“. But I knew that I wasn’t the best, my late lecturer was the best. He had made a nineteen-year-old woman conscious of other religions. After my forty-five-minute lecture, I was confident that my son would never make fun of anyone’s religion.

This article is dedicated to my late Religious Studies lecturer  Professor Nibsert Taringa affectionately known as Baba Feyi. He taught me Introduction to Phenomenology of Religion and Introduction to World Religions.

Published by tcndangana

The girl with an overactive imagination

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