Volume 12, Issue 2, 2015
Corneliu C. Simuţ
Promoting Ancestry as Ecodomy in Indigenous African Religions
This paper is an attempt to offer a concrete contribution to the study of indigenous African religions and in particular to the support of creating a set of traditions from whose perspective one could engage in the study of indigenous African religions as well as of African spirituality in general through the unifying theme of ecodomy. Defined in terms of a constructive process, ecodomy seeks to provide families and communities with a common element, that of ancestors, which is not only specific to African spirituality but also potentially capable of strengthening and improving the life of African people. Thus, this methodology based on working with ancestry as economy is applied to four distinct scholars and their specific approaches to indigenous African religions: John S. Mbiti, who believes that ancestors have mainly social, not religious roles; Issiaka P. Laleye, for whom ancestors make a connection between the social and religious aspects of life; Jacob K. Olupona, who restricts ancestors to religion, and Israel Kamudzandu, in whose philosophy ancestors can provide African societies with the possibility of moving beyond their indigenous religions into accepting other religious beliefs, such as those provided by Christianity.