African Traditional Religions in Contemporary Society

By Jacob K. Olupona | Go to book overview

5
FLOWERS
IN THE GARDEN
THE ROLE OF WOMEN
IN AFRICAN RELIGION

John S. Mbiti


Introduction

A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF WOMEN in African society is presented in a proverb from Ghana, which says: "A woman is a flower in a garden; her husband is the fence around it!" ( Bannerman,19). In this paper I wish to examine the place and the role of women according to African Religion.The paper draws on three areas: mythology, proverbs and prayers.

In the area of mythology we are confronted with the picture of women in the early state of human existence. This is not history. The myth is broader than history in explaining some aspects of society. It is a language depicting truths or realities for which history does not provide a full explanation.

Proverbs express wisdom acquired through reflection, experience, observation, and general knowledge. They are closely related to the culture of each given society. To appreciate, understand and apply the proverbs correctly, it is useful and even necessary for one to be part of the culture concerned, or to study it carefully. We are not able in this

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