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Posted on Thursday, November 22 - 2007


The precise origin of the Dogon, like those of many other ancient cultures, is undetermined. Their civilization emerged, in much the same manner as ancient Sumer, both sharing tales of their creation by gods who came from the sky in space ships, who allegedly will return one day. The early histories are informed by oral traditions that differ according to the Dogon clan being consulted and archaeological excavation much more of which needs to be conducted. Because of these inexact and incomplete sources, there are a number of different versions of the Dogon's origin myths as well as differing accounts of how they got from their ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara region. The people call themselves 'Dogon' or 'Dogom', but in the older literature they are most often called 'Habe', a Fulbe word meaning 'stranger' or 'pagan'. Certain theories suggest the tribe to be of ancient Egyptian descent - the Dogon next migrating to the region now called Libya, then moving on to somewhere in the regions of Guinea or Mauritania.

Around 1490 AD, fleeing invaders and/or drought, they migrated to the Bandiagara cliffs of central Mali. Carbon-14 dating techniques used on excavated remains found in the cliffs indicate that there were inhabitants in the region before the arrival of the Dogon. They were the Toloy culture of the 3rd to 2nd centuries BC, and the Tellem culture of the 11th to 15th centuries AD. The religious beliefs of the Dogon are enormously complex and knowledge of them varies greatly within Dogon society. Dogon religion is defined primarily through the worship of the ancestors and the spirits whom they encountered as they slowly migrated from their obscure ancestral homelands to the Bandiagara cliffs. They were called the 'Nommo' There are three principal cults among the Dogon; the Awa, Lebe and Binu. The Awa is a cult of the dead, whose purpose is to reorder the spiritual forces disturbed by the death of Nommo, a mythological ancestor of great importance to the Dogon...

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Posted on Thursday, June 07 - 2007



Call it magic, juju, voodoo, traditional medicine. Shehu Sani, President of Kaduna based Civil Rights Congress (CRC), prefers to call it "spiritualism and African artistry".Whatever it is called that traditional medicine men or marabouts were convened at the Transcorp Hilton to do, Shehu Sani's CRC asked them to put Western technology to shame by detecting where four year-old Madeleine McCann is, and who her kipnapper is.These spiritualists, to provide sacrificial animals for whom between N40,000 and N50,000 was expended, are going to come out with a declaration tomorrow, at the expiration of the one week they asked to complete their search. They were gingered by Shehu Sani, who, saying thatsince Western technology has failed to locate the little girl, urged them to surprise the world. Well, Portuguese police have also taken a cue and have turned to psychics and clairvoyants.

How-ever, whereas the Policia Judiciária had two dossiers of apparent visions and psychic sightings of Madeleine, placing her at locations across the world, the Nigerian or African spiritualists maintained that the girl is still in Portugal. The media have reported a series of raids on London homes but there were no traces of the missing girl. It was not clear whether a "vision" was the source of information that led to Portuguese police asking their English counterparts to raid a home in London.
The Post Chronicle reported that already a top psychic, Diane Lazarus, who said she knew where the girl is, the people she iswith, and that they have changed her clothes and are moving her around, has traveled from South Wales to Portugal to help find the girl. The British girl was abducted from her bed in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where her parents were holidaying a month ago, trigg-ering a huge search that has taken Kate and Gerald McCann across a number of European countries. They met with Spanish interior mini-ster and were blessed by the Pope. When Madeleine was taken away, her parents had gone out to dinner with a number of friends, one of whom thought she saw a man carrying a child wearing clothes that matched those worn by the girl at the time. The friend, who arrived late for the dinner, said she did not realise the import of what she saw until thirty minutes when Kate McCann went to check on the girl and her brother and sister. The Portuguese police,however, d......

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Posted on Tuesday, January 23 - 2007

By Ramon Thomas

From an interview with Credo Mutwa : Zulu Shaman, World renown traditional healer, Zulu Sangoma and High Sanusi

In many western countries, when an old person dies it is simply the death of an old human being who has gone through life and whose days on earth now come to an end. But in Africa, the death of an elder- an old man or an old woman, becomes a supreme disaster because in the mind of that elder often carries knowledge passed down from parent to child. Knowledge that is not only valuable to Africa and her children, but to human kind as a whole. No matter where you go in Africa, no matter how deep into the interior of the dark continent you tread, you will find very ancient stories which are incredibly similar. You will find African tribes and races who will tell you that they are descendants from gods who came out of the skies thousands of years ago. Some however say that theses gods came to them from the sea in magical boats made out of reeds or wood or copper or even gold.

In some cases these gods and goddesses are described as beautiful human beings whose skins were either bright blue or green or even silver. But most of the time you will find it being said these great gods, especially the ones that came out of the sky were non human, scaly creatures, which lived most of the time in mud or in water. Creatures of an extremely frightening and hideously ugly appearance. Some say that these creatures were like crocodiles, with crocodile like teeth and jaws, but with very large round heads. Some say that these creatures are very tall beings with snake like heads, set on long thin necks, very long arms and very long legs. There are those that tell us that these gods who came from the skies travelled through the lend in magical boats made of bright metal, silver, copper or gold. Boats which had the ability to sail over water or even to fly through the sky like birds. It is further said that some of these sky gods carried their souls in little bags which hung from their belts. These souls being in the form spheres of crystals clear material. Spheres which could float about in the air, and which emitted a dazzling light. A light which could illuminate an entire village at night...

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Posted on Saturday, December 30 - 2006

Some children in Nigeria prefer masquerades to Santa.

Copyright BBC News

There are no Christmas decorations, the radio stations are still playing hip-hop and rap and some children recoil at an image of Santa decrying it as evil."His costume looks phoney and his face is strange," says eight-year-old Ifunanya Chima when shown a picture of the benign bearded old man in his trademark red cloak with white fur trimmings. "We prefer masquerades," he told me referring to the traditional colourful dancing which is a big part of the festive season here.And there is also hope of a white-ish Christmas in this sub-Saharan West African country. For a dusty harmattan haze hangs over most of the country as the north-east trade wind sweeps in from the Sahara Desert. Markets across the country are heaving with punters hoping to net late bargains.

Ghost cities Soon, the major cities will become ghost cities as most people return to their native villages to share the traditional "Christmas rice". "I can't spend Christmas in Abuja," says Nick Ibechukwu who owns a business in Nigeria's capital city. "I have to go back to my village in the east to join the rest of my family and relatives because this is the only time in the year that we get to see one another." Christmas in Nigeria is a time for new clothes, long distancetravels for family reunions, and lots of colourful masquerade dances in most villages.

Religious differences And for now, it does not matter that half of Nigeria's 130 million people are Muslims with a handful of pagans. At Christmas, most Nigerians forget their religious differences and just share their Christmas rice - a dish of boiled rice eaten with very spicy chicken stew. "I celebrate Christmas because it's a time for loads of fun," says Ibrahim Idris, a Muslim in Abuja. Christmas clothes take the place of Christmas gifts as excited children and adults try to outdo one another in showing off their best wear during the festive season. There are big retreats for Nigeria's fast-growing Pentecostal Christian sects,b.......

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