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The author writes of the religious situation in Africa today out of first hand knowledge, extensive travel on that continent, and countless interviews with leaders in nations now coming into political independence. He contends that religion as well as politics and economics is a vital factor to be reckoned with in the shaping of the Africa of the future. He has much to say about the status of Christianity in Africa, and it will prove uncomfortable reading for those who have led and supported that work. While giving credit to the western missionaries for their contribution to African life, he reports too-from native leaders, including professed Christians, a negative reaction based on the identification of missionary work with colonialism and various forms of economic exploitation. This handicap missionary leaders recognize and strive to overcome, but the realization and the effort have not permeated the movement as a whole. Mendelsohn finds Islam growing in numbers and influence. The Moslems are not handicapped by race problems, nor do they insist on abolition of such practices as polygamy. His description of the native indigenous religion is especially interesting. He finds much of value to the people in their religious ceremonies, so sleeped in the world of spirits (Juju), and in magic and witchcraft. These westerners are too prone to as heathen practices of a primitive people. The author feels that the traditions represented in Juju must be accepted. He does not see Communism as a force to be reckoned with in this phase of the future development of the African peoples. An interesting and provocative book.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1962
Publisher: Nelson