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
Molefi Kete Asante
Two acts of piety and devotion represent the core expression of fidelity and loyalty to traditional African religion: offering and sacrifice. Offering is the purest act of gratitude to the ancestors and deities. It is usually motivated out of desire to demonstrate humility and respect to the ancestors for the maintenance and well-being of community. One may see daily offerings of food or drink in the form of a libation given to express the understanding that the ancestors are also present and must be acknowledged. However, the ancestors or the deities require sacrifice as a response to some act, misdeed, or violation of taboo within the society by one or more of the members of the traditional religious community. Thus, sacrifice is motivated by the community's interest in reestablishing the cosmic balance in the universe. Violations and transgressions alter the relationship between humans and deities and between the living and ...