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
Within the context of African religion, pregnancy is always a special, much hoped for, and therefore cherished event. Although marriage is certainly one of the critical moments in the human life cycle, along with birth, puberty, and death, the main, if not only, purpose of marriage is procreation. In fact, in some African societies, marriage is not considered final and complete until the couple's first pregnancy has occurred. This is the case because so much emphasis is placed on the affirmation and perpetuation of life as the highest value and priority in African culture. Pregnancy is of critical significance for women in Africa. Indeed, it marks the passage from the status simply of “woman” to that of mother. One's demonstrated ability to bear a child confirms one's creative power as a female and, thus, one's ability to participate in the cosmic drama of life transmission and regeneration. From this, African ...