Exploring African Spirituality: Unity, Consciousness, and Harmony with Nature

Problem we face initially is a academic students is to use our understanding of religion and education to interpret African spirituality. If there is anything called African spirituality, let’s just call it spirituality. Because you got the Mongolians, you got the Red Indians, you go into the depths of the Karu, you go into Australia, the other regions, and even them were secret. You know, people in the islands, they all have one way, indigenous ways of speaking to their environment. Harvesting their fruits, treating each other, conduct their marriages, secret ceremonies around animals, secredness of plants, the rivers which might got separate spaces.

So spirituality for me is not an institutionalized form of belief system where there is one man sitting in the front, particularly this male chauvinistic, the patriarchal Christianity, which is all a male dominated environment basically. That’s where they write the theology and using the Bible. We may have found themselves on the periphery of the whole conversation because the male dominated patriarchal. But when it come to African spirituality, it’s a lifestyle. When we eat, it’s a spiritual event. When we marry, it’s a spiritual event. When we bury, it’s a spiritual event. When the rights of passages, basically it is humanity living in awareness, consciousness, constantly being aware that they are not alone as human beings to be going to the forests with chainsaws, cutting trees, no digging gold, pouring cyanide into the rivers, and you don’t even know what you have done. What is the impact of your cyanidations as they are impacting the ants, the wems, the fish ultimately, and the human beings themselves. So for me, spirituality, it could be a highest form of consciousness where a person is aware of themselves from inside.

Who am I? How am I related to those on my left and those on my right? How do I respond to the air? But I breathe. How do I pollute it? Do I cleanse it? How do I live with the water that I drink? Do I pollute it? Do I cleanse it? How do I walk up to the soil that gives me food? Do I pollute it or do I cleanse it?

Therefore, the human being aware that these three elements, which is the real Trinity of African spirituality, which is our air, our water, into our land, which is the substance of which the African is aware, is made out of. These three elements are revealed when you access them, when you are approaching waters, not just approaching a river or a lake, we a dam, we a fountain, we a force. You literally have to submit yourself to the space and be aware that you are with a mother, the water through which you become. So you don’t just jump in a pool and do whatever I want to do, then put some spaces are quite separate and the energy levels are higher, you may not come back. So there’s a way of approaching these places. When our fathers used to go hunting, you don’t just get there with your guns and dogs and start chasing animals in the bush. You have to seek for permission. To ask for even those animals by the time you are supposed to be eating them, you have to talk to them and it’s for food and etc. And similarly, so with air, so that African spirituality is quite simple but complex because it would only not combine awareness in terms of your food consumption, your relationships and deliver the environment, but it’s actually this unity of the human life with all other lives that around it.

Hence when colonialism came and they found an African putting his hands on a cow, they say they want to be in a car. They found us, you know, kneeling in front of a tree. Says, no, they’re worshipping trees. No, you don’t know. We’re not worshipping trees. We are talking to the trees. We are aware that we are connected to them. As such, we constantly are seeking for this connectivity. Hence, it is humanity living in harmony with nature. That is the best definition I can give you for s particular when I speak about African spirituality. It is a constant awareness of environment, space and the intricate, interconnected relationship between my life and the environment that is around me.