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
From the most ancient times to the most contemporary, in Africa human beings have always believed in the idea of eternal life. Although there are slight differences in the models from east to west or north to south, the particular understanding of everlasting life occurs in almost all African societies, and the results of this belief can be seen in the richly textured acceptance of the vital and active ancestral realm. This entry looks at the beginnings of the concept in Egypt and its presence elsewhere in Africa. The concept of eternal life—that is, living forever—originated with Africans in the Nile Valley and spread to other parts of the continent and the world. Actually, it was believed by the earliest Africans that death occurred when the life force left the body. However, all the ceremonies associated with the funerary care of the corpse ensured that the person would live forever ...