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
Deji Ayegboyin & Charles Jegede
The word taboo means the system or act of setting apart a person, an object, or a place as sacred or accursed. In African societies, taboo primarily serves the purpose of ritual protection or ritual hygiene. Recent African studies corroborate the fact that taboo is embedded in the myths and religion of Africans. Among the Akan, Ewe, Yoruba, Wolof Shona, Zulu, Kikuyu, and Ga, and in most African countries and communities, taboos are numerous, they cover almost every aspect of Africans' life, and they are taken seriously. There are taboos associated with initiation, childbirth, marriage, excretion, diseases, sex, gender restrictions, death, and burial. There are also taboos connected with eating, drinking, language expressions, occupation, and associations, while some also guide administration of rituals. The original meaning of the word as shown by its etymology is its derivative of the Polynesian term tabu , which means forbidden. It is similar to ...