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
Katberine Olukemi Bankole
In the vast catalogue of African spiritual and religious concepts, birth is one of the most profound ideas connected to the major epochs in the journey of life, death, and reincarnation. Birth is a sacred mystery to African people, but not entirely unknowable. Birth reflects the activities of God's work. It is generally regarded as an important event in the endless passage taken by human beings, a continuum within the human experience. Birth is a central family episode that is met with a tremendous amount of joy and sense of fulfillment because the expectation of a child is considered the highest gift from God. Thus, birth is also a significantly revered experience for the entire community. According to John Mbiti, a noted expert on African religion, several key features are associated with the birth of an African child. First, a pregnant woman is expected to engage in specific activities that ...