On “african” religion

I want to share with you something really strange for me that I lived the passed week here in Lome in a street of the center of the town… So I was coming out of the market and I saw a really awkward and strange scene. It was a group of people practising “vaudou” with red tissue covering theirs sexes, with some small statues,with some small and bizarre objects in the street at about 2pm. The thing shocked is the fact that everybody was looking at them and even policemen were looking at them without seeing the things as stranger as me.
So I asked some persons if it is a common practise here and they said “Yes!” And they justified it like the fact that they want to preserve theirs ancestors religious rites. They supported the idea by seeing that today the fact that African countries are facing many problems is somehow linked to the two religions which are Islam and Christianism.
It’s like comparating the Chinese context where they preserved their religions and now they are really developed compared to Africa.
This is because after the decolonisation they preserved “bouddhisme” and I some anthropologist (according to what I read) are basing their economic and social growth on this religion. They also said that today African countries must recognize theirs traditional religions as a gift and most promote them but not seeing them as Taboo. This is because they are part of our identity.
So when I reflected on this scene, I’m asking me some questions, for me during the colonisation ,the colons tried to beautiful imported religions and mystified local religions and this has effects today when you are seeing things like “vaudou” automatically you might think that it’s not good, it’s sanatic thing.. The same with “animism” and others while they are parts of our cultural identity… or what ?
Be sure. People are used to be afraid concerning this kind of pratics because they thought that praticians can use them to cause trouble and bad things in their lives. It’s not all in all the cases…
Рby Joel, member of YOW Bafoussam, currently living and studying in Lom̩.