In Africa, religion takes centre stage ahead of development and technological advancements for the betterment of all people and alleviation of poverty.
Africa is a land of vast opportunities, but its potential is erased by the miseducation of Africans that is rampant across the continent. The effects of colonialism are massive and continue being watered down from generation to generation. They breed an inferiority complex. It is a perpetual cycle of ignorance and being obstinate in not taking lessons from history.
With colonialism, what emerged was a deliberate and well-calculated move to erase the identity, dignity and self-worth of the Africans. The aim was to make the African feel alienated with his own set of culture and beliefs which were instrumental to existence. The white man came with religion employed as a weapon of mass destruction really. The African was taught to abhor his own traditional beliefs in favour of the more “enlightened” Christianity. The African was made to learn that African ancestral spirits are evil, demonic and represent everything bad to do with society.
With such a mindset, religion became an inevitable source of solace from the barraging problems that afflicted the blacks. This was coupled with the devastating effects of the black man being denied top education.
The same goes for Islam. The Arabs came with Islam at the detriment of African traditional beliefs. Islam and Christianity – which are entirely imported illusions in Africa – are the largest religions that command enormous followings across the whole continent.
Take for instance this 2010 report outlining how Africa is one of the most religious places in the world. Where people are disempowered economically, they can only turn to religion to compensate for the degraded existence they have to stoically endure. When these religions were brought to Africa, the African was stripped of everything that he owned and was compelled to live a completely new life based on these new religious ideals.
Colonialism excluded black people from contributing in huge terms to economic development. African leaders failed to transform the lives of their people. As such, poverty is commonplace and religion is the only haven of comfort. Development is slow as far as the transformation of the ordinary lives is concerned. It is not surprising that in Africa, there are more churches and mosques than factories.
You have situations where some sort of restrictions have had to be put on religious activity – for instance when Rwanda closed thousands of churches because of fraud. Lagos recently followed that path, citing noise pollution. All these point to how busy religion in Africa is, while industrialisation and cutting-edge technological advancements have been slow.
Religion has a grip on Africa that is in toxic fashion. For it has not only led to blind obedience but has also led to the erasure of what is authentic to Africa.