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, oaths are promises or statements of fact that call on something that a person feels to be sacred and holy, for example, a deity, an ancestral lineage, or a group. The idea is that the sacred object, group, or entity witnesses the making of a promise or statement by the person. Thus, a person who takes or makes an oath expresses certain vows. When a person claims an office, chooses to lead a campaign against the enemies of the group, or marks an occasion of birth or death, it might be done with an explicit statement of swearing before the sacred or holy object or entity. One is making an oath when the idea of a witness, a holy or sacred thing or person, is considered to be the foundation of the action. The African oath is taken before the people ...