Sunday, 3 February 2013


The people of Ghana take their faith and religious behaviour very seriously. The majority of citizens are Christian or Muslim. However, many follow the Traditional religion worshipping ancient deities represented through nature in trees, rivers etc and showing reverence towards their buried ancestors. Libation is poured into the ground in their honour.

We are called to prayer from the loudspeakers on the mosque at regular times of each day starting around 4.30am. Nadowli is not a strong Muslim area due to the predominance of the Catholic faith introduced into these parts by missionaries during the last century. Morning Devotion at the District Education Office begins each day with a hymn, bible reading and prayers and every meeting I have attended here starts and ends with a reminder that God blesses us all and steers our lives in every way.

This photograph shows part of the Voodoo market in Togo. The journey to find it was gruelling but worth the challenge to see what other people need in order to carry out the rituals of their faith. We cannot fail to be horrified by the sight of animal parts, dried and in some cases, ground to powders. These creatures will have been slaughtered for this purpose and that makes the act appear appalling. I imagine it is impossible to trace the origins of Voodoo or other African tribal faiths. They go too far back into the history of the world. Largely, these days, people worship without the need for inhumane sacrifice and unnecessary pain inflicted on humans and animals. Nevertheless, there are parts of the world not so far away where this ritualistic worship and practices still remain and those beliefs live on.

When I hear from friends and colleagues about their fears of witchcraft and evil powers that take or threaten to take the lives of family members, it makes me realise the strength of these powers and the control they have over the minds of strong, intelligent people. This is all too real here and those fears influence so much of professional and social life. Don’t insult or annoy anyone as you have no idea what they could use in their response to you! It is not considered worth the risk.

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