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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


MASOGA, Mogomme A.. Memory, orality and 'God-talk' in sub-Saharan Africa. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2022, vol.78, n.3, pp.1-7. ISSN 2072-8050.

The indigenous people of sub-Saharan Africa approach their Supreme Being and express their reverence in diverse ways, as depicted in the different local names that describe this supernatural being. The African cultural worldview foregrounds that virtuous rapport with the Supreme Being provides wisdom and facilitates good cohabitation among humans. It is argued in this article that teachings from the Christian Bible contribute negatively to the disintegration, fragmentation and death of indigenous knowledge systems, which include African cultural values, memory and oral traditions. Recently, some African scholars have begun to create awareness of some of Africa's lost treasures. However, such contributions are disappointingly few. This study argues that memory and orality among Africans should be promoted and supported through various platforms, such as academic writing. This article will discuss memory, orality and 'God-talk' in terms of the following: teachings on moral values (e.g. relationships, marriage, humaneness [ubuntu or hunhu]) and the preservation of cultural heritage. The discussion uses qualitative analysis of secondary data and personal observation. CONTRIBUTION: Firstly, the present study will provide for the readership in general, and academia in particular, a new perspective on African customs and indigenous belief systems about a Supreme Being. For example, Musiki as a Shona local dialect name for 'God' was already in use before the emergence of Christianity in Southern Africa. Secondly, previous contributions have not sufficiently explored memory and orality. This investigation serves as a resource or starting point for further research on memory and orality

Keywords : African cultures; colonialism; indigenous knowledge; memory; orality; ubuntu; hunhu.

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