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Ethno-Spirituality: A Postcolonial Problematic?

By Stephen Bigger


This article explores the nature of spirituality in African traditions, for which we use the term ethno-spirituality. We examine the assumptions and effects of western missionaries, and how African spirituality negotiated with these new ideas and merged the new with the traditional. It problematises the relationship between Christianity in Africa and indigenous beliefs from disrespect for local religions, using terms such as animism, fetishism and paganism, to a more recent and respectful emphasis on whether we all have things to learn from each other. A particular case study is offered of San spirituality, exploring San story, the healing dance, ideas of spirits and deities, and transcendence. It concludes with a discussion of dialogue and hermeneutics around descriptions of God drawn out of philosophical work by Paul Ricoeur. It advocates a re-evaluation of San story, belief and practice as expressive of spiritual experience

Topics: G1, GR, BR, BL, GN
Publisher: University of Kwazulu-Natal
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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