Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Africa
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This article examines the relationship between ethnicity and religious identities among the African communities. Christianity and Islam have cut across ethnic boundaries creating several multi-ethnic religious communities. It is observed that when people are faced with a crisis such as ethnic conflict that requires an identity-based reaction; the cultural factor has a greater impact than the religious factor. This is demonstrated by looking at events during the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods in Africa. Christianity, which commands a high following in Africa, is taken for illustration. By way of conclusion, it is noted that the conspicuous presence of Christianity in Africa where, paradoxically, there are high incidences of ethnic clashes and wars, poses a challenge to the Church to re-examine its role and relevance in creating a harmonious social environment among its multi-ethnic faithfuls.