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Ontology of African Ritual

DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2019.91001, PP. 1-14

Keywords: Ontology, Rituals, African Ontology, Space, Time

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Abstract:

African rituals, like other phenomena of African cultural heritage are usually faced with criticisms of being either superstitious, fetish, mundane or simply irrational. These criticisms, often based on certain logical criteria, have categorized the African mode of thinking as illogical, unreasonable and non-rational. Given the proclivity of the African mode of thinking of fusing the epistemological into the metaphysical, such criticism could either be excused or be regarded as a misinterpretation, misrepresentation and non-sequitur. However, the issue at stake calls for a deep examination of some of these phenomena to establish their reasonableness as veritable reality among Africans with serious existential import. One of such phenomena is ritual, which is actually pervasive as far as African existential reality is concerned. This paper examines African ritual to establish its reasonableness by establishing its ontology. The paper argues that based on African ontology, African rituals cannot be judged on the principles of Western scientific rationality but rather should be seen as a non-rational action like other human phenomenon like love or possessing rationality internal to the metaphysical beliefs that underpin the African worldview.

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