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Abamfo Ofori Atiemo

Abstract

This paper examines the phenomenon of the ‘African Hindu’ in the context of the discussions on ‘transnational Hinduism’. I also report on how these African Hindus resort to a reinterpretation of the history of their Ghanaian indigenous (traditional) religion and culture in their attempt to find religious space in the almost-choked religious environment of Ghana, and also how they attempt to negotiate their new religious identity in relation to their identity as Africans (Ghanaians). I conclude with a prognosis of the form that Hinduism is likely to assume in the near future on Ghanaian soil as its African converts try to live their faith in the context of their local culture.

Ambra Formenti

Abstract

Hope, aspirations, and drive to the future have recently been the focus of academic concern about the ways in which people are thinking and producing their future in a time of great uncertainty. By exploring the distinct ways in which evangelical believers in Guinea-Bissau are engaged in imagining their future, this article aims to portray evangelical Christianity as a source of aspirations and visions of possible futures in contemporary Africa. Moreover, by comparing the programme of cultural and social regeneration pursued by nationalists in the 1960s and ’70s and the current evangelical project of personal and collective redemption, I argue that evangelical churches are promoting a politics of hope that translates Amílcar Cabral’s legacy in their own terms. Finally, I show how, in the wake of the failure of nationalist narratives, evangelical churches are fostering an emerging conceptualization of modernity as connectivity that underlies new dreams of a better future.

Monika Brodnicka

Abstract

This paper focuses on the concept of the world as interpreted by Amadou Hampaté Bâ, an initiated scholar, from his experience with Fulani and Bamana religions. It examines the meaning of the world as a manifestation of spirit through Bâ’s mystical concept of the ‘living tradition’. Bâ looks at the complex interaction of the material and spiritual dimensions of the universe as it manifests itself in the physical world through symbols, and as it is informed through invisible forces communicated by the Supreme Being. Based on his understanding of Fulani and Bamana traditions, Bâ uses notions of history and art to better highlight the specific relationship between the spiritual and material realms that illustrate this sacred connection. I argue that Bâ’s mystical approach to understanding this metaphysics offers another method of thinking about some of the diverse African indigenous religions through their underlying esoteric connections.

The Khōjā of Tanzania

Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity

Series:

Iqbal Akhtar

The Khōjā of Tanzania, Discontinuities of a Postcolonial Religious Identity attempts to reconstruct the development of Khōjā religious identity from their arrival to the Swahili coast in the late 18th century until the turn of the 21st century. This multidisciplinary study incorporates Gujarati, Kacchī, Swahili, and Arabic sources to examine the formation of an Afro-Asian Islamic identity (jamatī) from their initial Indic caste identity (jñāti) towards an emergent Near Eastern imaged Islamic nation (ummatī) through four disciplinary approaches: historiography, politics, linguistics, and ethnology. Over the past two centuries, rapid transitions and discontinuities have produced the profound tensions which have resulted from the willful amnesia of their pre-Islamic Indic civilizational past for an ideological and politicized ‘Islamic’ present. This study aims to document, theorize, and engage this theological transformation of modern Khōjā religious identities as expressed through dimensions of power, language, space, and the body.