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
In Africa, lightning carries an important symbolism and is often associated with the workings of the divine. Because much of Africa is covered by rain forests that depend on clouds and rain, the presence of lightning is not unexpected. However, in more arid regions of the continent, such as the Nile Valley or the southern tip of the continent, lightning is also respected. This entry discusses the natural phenomenon and then its religious significance in Africa. Lightning is ubiquitous. Each second, there are approximately 65 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes to the Earth throughout the world so that astronauts in space could see an ongoing display of the electrical energy hitting the Earth. As a phenomenon, lightning is a worldwide occurrence because there are no parts of the Earth where lightning cannot be found. Most strikes are about 2 to 3 miles long and carry a current of 10,000 amps at 100 ...