Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Fertility is of the utmost importance to African people in general and thus occupies a central place in African religion. This is the case because fertility refers to the perpetuation and regeneration of life, a matter of great significance for African people. Indeed, the latter believe in a life force that permeates all that is—human beings, animals, plants, minerals, objects, and phenomena. That shared life force, which is responsible for the world's ontological unity, ultimately derives from God, the Supreme Being, and is therefore sacred. It is human beings' incumbent and sacred duty, as well as best interest, to appreciate and protect the harmonious flow of life, and this, in the end, is obviously predicated on the occurrence of fertility. This entry looks at the role of fertility in society, its relationship to the gods and the ancestors, and related ritual expressions. Fertility, as Africans understand it, given the common ...