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
Reincarnation is generally accepted as a term that means a dead person returns to life in another being. It is thought that, among some cultures, this means a return to life as an animal, whereas it has been said that Africans, who believe in the concept of reincarnation, see it as the return of a living human being. This is a misunderstanding of the dynamic nature of African existence and a distortion, due to a borrowed term, of the reality of African life. Reincarnation as a term conveys the idea of a bodily rebirth of an individual. However, from the most ancient of times in African culture, this has not been the precise meaning of African existence. Documents from the walls of the temples, tombs, and pyramids attest to the fact that Africans did not have, in ancient times, the idea that after death the soul of a person occupied ...