African Spirituality

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Manage episode 307734665 series 1301282
By BBC and BBC Radio 4. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
The increasing influence of African spirituality on Western society is very evident. You can read it in the work of novelists like Ben Okri, see it in the work of artists such as Chris Ofili and hear it in the music of pop superstars like Beyonce. Partly driven by the desire of young people within the African diaspora to find a deeper connection to their African heritage, African spirituality is very different to Christianity or Islam; religions brought to Africa by colonizing forces. It contains many diverse beliefs which differ from region to region. There are no scriptures – the traditions are passed on by word of mouth – and ancestors play a key role. Many of the practices are not found in Western culture (such as juju), but they express deep spiritual convictions and bind societies together. To discuss African spirituality, Ernie Rea has assembled a panel of experts from across the African continent. Born in Nigeria in the West of Africa, Jacob K Olupona is Professor of African Religious Traditions at Harvard Divinity School and Professor of African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. Mary Nyangweso was born in Kenya in East Africa and is Professor of Religious Studies at East Carolina University. And Adeola Aderemi is a Holistic Healer who bases her practice on her Isese Ifa spirituality with its origins in the Yoruba culture of Southern Nigeria. Ernie also talks to Nigerian born artist Laolu Senbanjo who now works in New York. Laolu’s art is influenced by his Yoruba heritage and practice of African spirituality. His ‘Sacred Art of the Ori’ (Yoruba symbols painted onto the naked body) featured on Beyoncé’s 2016 Grammy award winning video for her concept album ‘Lemonade’. Producers: Helen Lee Julian Paszkiewicz Image: Original painting by Laolu Senbanjo on display at the Belvedere Vodka x Laolu Senbanjo collaboration celebration on September 6, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage via Getty Images

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