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Cluster of Excellence EXC 2052 - "Africa Multiple: reconfiguring African Studies"

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PI Monthly Lecture: "Beyond Syncretism to Acquiring ‘Faith-skill’: Exploring Religious Hybridism for Survival" by Dr. Anthony Okeregbe (RS Learning)

2020-12-16 11:00
Online via Zoom


Notwithstanding reports that divide Nigeria on religious grounds into a predominantly Muslim north and Christian south, there is the thriving agency of African Traditional Religion (ATR). In the agency of the Babalawo, adherents of these two dominant religions tend to look up to ATR as solution provider to seemingly intractable existential problems and perplexing situations people grapple with. Drawing insight from experiences of people in a select urban African setting, this paper analyses responses of acclaimed adherents of the Christian and Islamic faith, who also profess some belief in African Traditional Religion (ATR) by patronizing ATR agents and agencies. It raises questions such as the following: Why do adherents of both the Christian and Muslim faith in this locality patronize the ‘Babalawo’? Are these adherents, in virtue of this patronage, genuine adherents of the faith they profess? What does the practice mean for religion in a contemporary African society? Based on the analysis of the submissions, the paper argues that, rather than being a candidate for syncretism as such, patronizing the Babalawo and engaging in practices belonging in this agency, are indications of an emerging African religiosity that provides faith-skills to adherents. This emerging religiosity is one that subsists on the religious hybridism evident in contemporary African experience.

Key words: Babalawo, ATR, faith-skill, religious hybridism

Time: Dec 16, 2020 11:00 AM Nigeria Time.

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