African traditions should be conversant with this list of phrases, always directed to traditional worshipers.
“You must stop your Satanic idol-worship.”
“You devil worshipper.”
“You will go to Hell.”
I realized that most people have little knowledge of African history or spiritual traditions. Hence, African spiritual and herbal traditions have historically been and continue to be, stigmatized, and associated with Satan or the devil.
Mostly, these things are said by Christians preaching their faith in me.
The mistranslation of Eshu (esu), a highly revered indigenous Yoruba deity, by Samuel Ajayi Crowther, when he was translating the Bible, he referred Esu as as “the devil” and also the mistranslation of the Igbo Omenala, where Ekwensu was referred to as the devil. This is perhaps the most salient example of how African spirituality became associated with Satan. By equating Esu to the devil through translation, and succeeded in demonizing an entire spiritual tradition.
Satan is a concept imported into African societies through colonialism to stigmatize African spirituality. African spirituality inspired Africans to directly challenge the power of colonizers and the Church, so they were dismissed as Satanic.
For example, so many rebellions were inspired by African Spirituality.
The Chimurenga Rebellion of 1896–1897, which happened in Rhodesia, which is present-day Zimbabwe, ancestral spirit medium Mbuya Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana co-led a revolt against the British after the introduction of an exploitative “hut tax” in 1894.
Another example of an African spirituality-inspired revolt against white-colonist European settlers was the Mau Mau Uprising of 1952–1960 that took place in Kenya. Members of the Mau Mau rebellion took a blood oath according to Kikuyu traditions and swore to expel the colonizers or face death.
These rebellions brought fear to the colonial masters and then, through language, colonial laws, and popular cultural depictions, traditional African spiritual and herbal practices have been portrayed for centuries as a force of evil throughout the world.
The most painful thing is that the colonial masters are no more here, but they have managed to mentally enslave Africans.
It’s said that “Until the Lion learns to tell his tale, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
Until Africans learn to uphold their own tales, till then, we can talk about independence.