Australian Native American
South Africa The Bantu
West and Central Africa
we are all Africans. Studies of mitochondrial DNA
have proven that all human beings are descended from a small population
(less than a hundred individuals) that emerged from Africa
about 60,000 years ago. The earliest written religious texts as well as
the first documented monotheistic religion also developed in Africa.
During the European dark ages, many ancient manuscripts were preserved
in African libraries in places such as Ethiopia
section has texts on the traditional spirituality of Sub-Saharan
Africa, as well as their descendants in the New
books about African religion and spiritual beliefs in the public domain
was not difficult. These books have a great amount of useful
information on this topic, some of it written before colonialism
destroyed or greatly modified aspects of traditional culture. The
problem with these works is that they were for the large part written
by Europeans with their particular biases and agendas. For this reason,
we encourage you to 'read between the lines'.
texts here are provided for scholarly purposes. They may contain racist
characterizations, errors of interpretation, or misrepresentations of
traditional culture. For instance, the term 'Kaffir', which is used in
many of these texts to refer to the Xhosa (Nelson Mandela's tribe), is
now considered derogatory.
page also has texts and books with alternate views, primarily written
by African-Americans, which, in our opinion, also deserve
is home to a rich religious tradition. Refer to Ancient Egypt, Islam,
The Religious System
of the Amazulu by Henry Callaway 
Bushman Folklore by W.H.I. Bleek
and L.C. Lloyd 
Folk-Tales by James A. Honey 
Folk Tales by Georg McCall Theal
Myths and Legends of
the Bantu by Alice Werner 
This book covers the Bantu as a whole.
Most of the books below also have material on the Bantu of West Africa.
West African area is important because this is where the majority of
slaves departed for the New World. Hence large
elements of West African, particularly Yoruba, religion (blended with
Catholicism) can be found in religions such as Vodun (also known as
Voodoo) (Haiti), Candomblè (Brazil) and Santeria
(Carribean). For more information on New World African-derived
religions, refer to the The Santeria page
at Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance.
Myths of Ífè by John Wyndham
Notes on the
Folklore of the Fjort, by R. E.
At the Back of
the Black Man's Mind by R. E.
Folk Stories from
Southern Nigeria By Elphinstone
Dayrell, Introduction by Andrew Lang. 
Fetichism in West
Africa by Rev. Robert Hamill
by Maalam Shaihu, translated by R.
Sutherland Rattray. 
This book stands out here because it was
actually written by a Hausa, not a European.
of a Primitive People by D. Amaury
Speaking Peoples by A.B. Ellis
Yoruba Legends by M. I. Ogumefu 
Drums and Shadows Georgia
Writer's Project; Work Projects Administration, Mary Granger supervisor
[1940, copyright not renewed]
Coastal Georgia folklore from the 1930s
and connections to African spiritual practices.
Jamaica Anansi Stories
by Martha Warren Beckwith .
Jamaican folklore, music and riddles,
featuring an indominable trickster hero.
The Kebra Nagast E.A. Wallis Budge, translator .
This work is a legendary history of Ethiopia. It has been cited
as rationale for the Rastafarian apotheoisis of Emperor Haile Selassie.
The Holy Piby by
Robert Athlyi Rogers [1924-8]
This is a classic--and very
rare--Afrocentric religious text from the early 20th century which has
been acclaimed by many Rastafarians as a forerunner of their beliefs.
The Royal Parchment Scroll of Black Supremacy
By Fitz Balintine Pettersburg [1926?]
Another rare proto-Rastafarian text from Jamaica.
The Promised Key By
G.G. Maragh (Leonard Percival Howell) [1935?]
A heavily edited version of the previous
document, Howell was one of the first preachers who explicitly preached
doctrines similar to later Rastafarian beliefs, particularly that Haile
Selassie was the Black Messiah.
The Wisdom of Rastafari
This is a short anthology of quotes from
Haile Selassie compiled by a Rastafarian group.
short articles by Lafcadio Hearn about New Orleans Voodoo. Hearn, a New Orleans native, also wrote
extensive works about Japan, available in the Shinto section.
Last of the Voudoos 
New Orleans Superstitions 
are two books relating to Haitian Voodoo (Vodun). They were written by
an outsider to the religion who was ultimately unable to penetrate its
inner mysteries; however both of these books has strengths as
historical and ethnographic background on the topic:
Voodoo and Obeahs
By Joseph J. Williams. New York, .
of Jamaica By Joseph J. Williams. New York, .
The Negro by W.E.B. Du Bois
A great introduction to Black history by
a noted African-American activist and scholar.
Wonderful Ethiopians of the Ancient Cushite Empire
by Drusilla Dunjee Houston [1927, copyright
A pioneering work of Afrocentric history.