Conference Notice: Global Africa Symposium





Africa’s Indigenous Religions: Critical Approaches to its Philosophies, Doctrines, Scholarship, Documentation and Survival through Oral and Written Traditions from Theoretical and Historical Perspectives.

The Keynote Speaker is Professor Molefi Kete Asante


Osun State Government; Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Group (PANAFSTRAG), Departments of Philosophy, Religious Studies, History, and Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University; Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus; African Studies Institute, University of Georgia, Athens, USA; Princeton Theological Seminary, USA and Collegium Ovirium, Argentina.

VENUE: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

DATE: August 8-13, 2016


Indigenous African Religions face the critical crises of existential proportions and with the crises arises a fundamental challenge to the humanity of Africans globally. Many indigenous African religions have become extinct, succumbing to the centuries of concerted efforts from both east, west and within to destroy them. Every single indigenous African religion is under sever assault and is endangered and to be complacent is to actively encourage the perilous disaster waiting to happen to global African Religions. There is no doubt that African Traditional Religions are fundamental elements in terms of Africans having a positive cultural identity and hence has been a primary target for destruction in order to dehumanize and derogate the identity of African peoples globally. Forces from the East and West were in full understanding of the direct relationship between the people and their religions and with the way the people felt about, saw and related with themselves. Iconoclasm and epistemicide have been the most effective tools used throughout Africa to dispossess Africans of their religious heritage, indigenous knowledge systems, scientific heritage, cultural identity and value systems. It is clear that what is at stake is the preservation of the indigenous religions of Africa and the cultures they encapsulate, thereby making an Afrocentric connection to the natural world in a sustainable way possible.

This unique Symposium proposes, among other things, to examine if, within ‘African Indigenous Religions’, as primarily conveyors of oral and written religious traditions of Africa, there can be identified various core groups of ideas, liturgies, cosmologies, etc., in these religions, which, in a similar way to other “World Religions”, can be synthesized and transformed into written “Holy Book(s)”, Codex, Scripture(s) or Sacred Document(s), which can operate as (a) legitimate reference documents for African Traditional Religions, and thereby constitute (a) source book(s) for further development, be the subject for academic study, interpretation, be the bearers of the world views of Africans and be the foundation for African Philosophy, Ethics, African Customary Laws, Governance, and provide insights into various aspects of existence.

To achieve this aim, the Symposium will bring together practising African Traditional Religions’ leaders and peoples, scholars, and thinkers who will critically appraise the term ‘indigenous’ while at the same time subjecting the widespread use of ‘world’ religions to theoretical and historical scrutiny. The symposium will feature thematic papers exploring approaches to the study of Africa’s Indigenous Religions from different regions, with an emphasis on Africa and its Diaspora. It will also consider the challenges of studying religions that originally were based primarily on oral, but also written, sources but which through history have been transformed into traditions with written scriptures.


The Symposium is methodological in nature. Selected experts and practitioners in the field will be invited to present lead papers on the topics related to the general theme of the symposium. In addition, the symposium will be open to participants from the selected academic community relevant to the overall aims of the Symposium, but it is also open to all interested members of the various groups of the Africa’s Traditional Religions. The number of those attending, including the speakers, will be limited to ensure that the critical purpose of creating the foundation for Africa’s Traditional/Indigenous Religions’ future sustainability is not compromised.


The following are the immediate, medium and long term projected outcomes of the Symposium

a) The papers will be edited and offered for publication.
b) Programme and Plan for the production of a synthesized African Traditional Religion Scripture, Holy Text will be commissioned with timeline and budget will be produced and circulated for funding
c) Programme and Plan for the establishment of autonomous Institute for the Study of ATR
d) Determining Research Project, and planning Annual Symposium
e) Programme and Plan for the Documentation and Archival Resources on African Traditional Religions within the Centre
f) Developing Programme and Plan for training African Traditional Religions Leaders, Administrators and Scholars
g) Developing Undergraduate and Graduate Programmes, Research, Publication in ATR


This is a Symposium dedicated to African Traditional Religions, with Africa construed globally as understood in the African Union of Six Regions. Lead Presentations will be commissioned on selected aspects of the theme (Doctrine, Literature and Scholarship) of the symposium. Experts, researchers, students and the practitioners of African Traditional Religions are invited to submit a 300 word abstract on one of (or related to) the following sub-themes of the Symposium by the new extended deadline of March 31, 2016:

Origins, Needs and Use of Religion in Africa
Gnosis and Ontology in African Traditional Religions
The Universes and their relationships in African Traditional Religions
Being, Identity and Society in African Traditional Religions
Aesthetics and Religion in African Traditional Religions
Gender, Sex and Ageing in African Traditional Religions
Morality and Society in African Traditional Religions
Governance, Business and Development in African Traditional Religions
Life and Death
End of life decisions
Prophets, Prophesy, Divinations and Future
Management of African Traditional Religions Knowledge and Assets
Codification, Documentation and Transmission in ATR
Scriptural Syntheses – Doctrinal Codex
Training the Priests and Priestesses in ATR
Liturgy, Traditions, Ceremonies, Communions and Festivals in ATR
The Public and the Private – the Holy and the Profane in ATR
Continuity and Generations in ATR – the Old, the Adult, the Youth and the Unborn
Nature in ATR – Use, Abuse and Preservation
ATR in the face of Modernity
ATR and migrant alien Religions
ATR and the Media
ATR and Atheism

Panel Discussions are encouraged, to brainstorm on various aspects of the task of ensuring the survival and propagation of ATR globally. Persons interested in organizing panels are encouraged to provide a summary of the panel, panellists, relevance to the Symposium, and overall contribution to the development of ATR globally.


Completed paper presentations are expected to reach the Symposium Secretariat by April 30, 2016. This will ensure that such papers benefit from careful editing and corrections by our reviewers in collaboration with the authors to ensure the highest quality of the papers and are uploaded to the Symposium Website by June 30, 2016. Final revised submissions will be published at a later date under the imprint of a leading publishing house to be determined by dedicated Editors.

Submissions from the Six Regions are to be made as follows (Please, note that these are for purely administrative purposes, as all paper and panel proposals are also to be copied to Tunde Bewaji, Yunusa Salami and PANAFSTRAG as noted below):

Tunde Bewaji ( North America and the Caribbean
Obadiah Otitigbe ( Latin America
Mogobe Ramose ( South Africa
Godfrey Tangwa ( Central and East Africa
David Ogungbile ( West Africa
Ibigbolade Aderibigbe ( USA
Afe Adogame ( Europe and Asia

NB: All submissions should be copied to:

Tunde Bewaji (
Yunusa Salami ( and

General Information Requests should be directed to the Symposium Secretariat at PANAFSTRAG Offices, Lagos, Nigeria (

SYMPOSIUM FEES (Covers Symposium Materials and Refreshments) by June 2016:

Participants from Africa $100
Participants from outside Africa $150
Retirees and Graduate Students from outside Africa $100
Participants from Nigeria N20,000.00
Retirees and Graduate Students from Nigeria N10,000.00

After June 2016:

Participants from Africa $150
Participants from outside Africa $200
Retirees and Graduate Students from outside Africa $150
Participants from Nigeria N30,000.00
Retirees and Graduate Students from Nigeria N15,000.00

Arrangements are being made to facilitate payment online through Paypal, wire transfers and credit cards.


All participants are encouraged to register for the Tours to Historic Religious and Cultural Sites (Ile-Ife, Ibadan, Oshogbo, Oyo, Benin, Arochukwu, etc) in Nigeria by end of May, 2016.


Symposium Hotels and Guest Houses will be negotiated at group rates for the duration of the Symposium. This will be communicated to participants by May, 2016, so that bookings, mentioning the Symposium, can be made online or through the Symposium Secretariat.