Religion in Africa

Topics: Africa, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sub-Saharan Africa Pages: 4 (1194 words) Published: October 31, 2011
Megan Penney
Religion in Africa
In Africa, before the white missionaries came, religion involved spiritually worshiping ancestors. Once these whites came though, western religion like Christianity was pressed onto the Africans. While some say that this pressure of western religion on the Africans was for their salvation, or even for power, it was really just pure ignorance on the side of the whites. The people who invaded Africa meant well at first and were supported by the government because it would help make controlling Africa easier for them, but in the end the Africans were never truly understood to be equal because they evolved in a different sense than the whites, which shows how this whole religious issue in Africa is simply from ignorance. In the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, western religion is similar to a virus with the symptoms of hypocrisy, fear, and oppression due to how it conflicts with the original, happy standards Africa had in the past. Also in the poems, “I Have Been Here Before” by Don Mattera, and “A Plea for Mercy” by Kwesi Brew, western religion is deemed as a unsuited match for African culture, showing how ignorant the whites were when it came to experiencing new cultures.

In Purple Hibiscus, religion is prevalent in different ways, but represented by a character, Eugene, that oppresses his family through violence by using the ideals of religion. Christianity is not just used as a form of oppression and violence through Eugene though, but as a conflicting standard in African society. An example of this is how Eugene disowns his own father because his father was a traditionalist and therefore a heathen in Christianity’s perspective. Traditionalists in Africa worshiped the ancestors and lived their lives through laughter and happiness. Christians worshiped through fear and oppression with the idea that suffering leads to salvation and heaven. One part of the novel that shows this is when Kambili,...
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