African Traditional Religion in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

African Traditional Religion in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

African Traditional Religion in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

African Traditional Religion in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography

Synopsis

In a changing South Africa, recovering the meaning and power of African tradition is a matter of crucial importance. This work participates in that recovery by providing a comprehensive guide to research on the indigenous religious heritage of this dynamic country. Detailed reviews of over 600 books, articles, and theses are offered along with introductory essays and detailed annotations that define the field of study. This work plus two forthcoming volumes, Christianity in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography and Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism in South Africa: An Annotated Bibliography will become the standard reference work on South African religions. Scholars and students in Religious Studies, Social Anthropology, History, and African Studies will find this set particularly useful.

Excerpt

The singing filled the air. The drumming kept the rhythm. In a loud and clear voice, the ritual elder invoked the ancestors. The people--men in long robes, women with painted faces--indicated their assent by exclaiming, "Camagu," to the beat of the drum. "Camagu," they agreed. "We are present. Let the ancestors be present."

We could have been at a rural homestead. We could have been in an urban township. Instead, we were at the University of Cape Town for a conference on African traditional religion. On 19 August 1995, academics, community leaders, and practitioners of traditional religion gathered for a one-day conference sponsored by the Institute for Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (ICRSA). At the very least, this event confirmed the continuing vitality of traditional religion in a changing South African society.

This book, a product of an ICRSA research project, is a guide to literature on African traditional religion in South Africa. It collects and describes books, articles, and theses that have addressed the indigenous religious heritage of the region. It organizes and annotates selected texts--the general overviews and detailed case studies; the accounts of religious beliefs, practices, and experiences; the analyses of historical tradition and social change--that have been produced in this field of study. We are convinced that a review of these resources can support and stimulate further inquiry into African traditional religion.

Above all, we hope that this book will be useful. Of course, readers find their own ways to use books. However, since this book does not tell a single story, some "instructions for use" might be helpful. Accordingly, we offer three suggestions that might appeal to readers who are interested in exploring the field of African traditional religion in South Africa that is profiled here.

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