Soteriological Beliefs and Ethical Values of the Tongu Mafi People


African Humanities Program Dissertation Fellowships


Study of Religions


This study examines how soteriological beliefs (i.e. the notion of salvation) and the hereafter logically and conceptually influence ethical values in indigenous African societies from the perspective of their conceptualisation of evil. Different theological concepts and approaches have been used to describe, analyse and evaluate the encounters between indigenous religion, culture and values on the one hand, and those of the outside world on the other. I contend that in spite of the encounters between indigenous African societies and the outside world, the core indigenous beliefs and worldviews are resilient and not dislocated by those of the outside world. This can be analysed and explained within the context of the postcolonial theory of hybridity of religion and culture. An investigation into Mafi religio-cultural beliefs and practices reveals that in Mafi thought and experience, a humane society and soteriological goals are not constructed without reference to the reality of evil.