[The Role of Ancestors in African Worship Traditions]

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Opoku, Kofi, Traditional African Religion [July 17, 1972]


Kofi Opoku

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Martin Luther King Fellows In Black Religious Studies, Inc. Collection

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In this recording, Kofi Opoku delivers a lecture on the role of ancestors in African worship traditions. He explains how the spirits of the ancestors have knowledge of both the earthly and heavenly realms. Opoku also describes the African libation ritual and explains its role in ancestor worship. He takes questions from the audience.

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00:00:05 Audio begins with Kofi Opoku discussing the ancestors and a poem about the continued existence of the ancestors who after death enter into a spiritual existence.

00:08:23 Talks about how the ancestors as spirits are more privileged than the those living because they have knowledge of spiritual realm and living world.

00:15:56 Talks about the ritual of libation prayer and how they reveal African values.

00:37:40 Talks about spiritual being having power and diseases caused by ancestors.

00:39:38 Discusses Gods and shrines and how the ancestors are not the final authority on life and death. God is the Supreme Being.

00:56:10 Talks about the relationship of some African societies to certain animals and how those animals are sacred and must not be killed.

01:20:06 Audio ends.


The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities - Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Implementation Project Grant in supporting the processing and digitization of a number of its major archival collections as part of the project: Spreading the Word: Expanding Access to African American Religious Archival Collections at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.


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