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AfricaMyth And Cosmology

African myths sketch a conceptual world presided over by a divinity that is responsible for the emergence of humanity and the development of a community. Myths provide the legitimacy of local authority, settlement, and social organization, and describe the moral universe of the people. Mythic narratives, which Paul Ricoeur describes as primary language, offer religious perspectives on the past and the present and provide an ethos upon which to construct the future. Zulu, Swazi, Xhosa, Tsonga, and some Sotho myths state that people came out of a bed of reeds. Yoruba myths state that the orishas Obatala and Oduduwa, representing Olodumare, the Supreme God, created the world and humanity. Elsewhere, Sotho myths hold that Kgobe the High God created the world and that his son Kgobeane created people.

Myths also account for the separation of humanity from divinity and place the responsibility for this separation on human beings. The Batammaliba people believe that Kuiye created the world and gave its people all they needed. Unfortunately, humans complained because God did everything for them. Their complaints forced the divinity to withdraw into the sky; as a result, suffering and death entered the human community. Kuiye was compassionate and provided the Batammaliba with rain and other things they needed to survive under their new circumstances. Batammaliba mythology informs the community's sociocultural practice as well as its architectural designs. In addition, mythology provides a religious view of human conflicts and the human family. According to Dogon myths, Amma the Supreme Deity created the world, but Ogo, one of the first primordial persons, rebelled and polluted the world. Amma rescued the creative process by killing Nommo, the twin brother of Ogo, to clean up the chaos caused by Ogo's act of rebellion.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Reason to RetrovirusReligion - Africa - Myth And Cosmology, Gods And Spirits, Religion And Possession, Religious Authorities, Worship Spaces