The Absence of the Messianic or Prophet Idea from Fundamental African Rites. With the return to ancestral spirituality, many Africans – raised in Christianity and Islam – have a perception of African religion from the perspective of the revealed religions. Thus, they think they can find the notion of messiah, hero or prophet in ancestral thought, and sometimes assign this role to Osiris or his equivalents all over the continent (Osoro, Awzaar, Neddo, etc). In reality, this concept of messiah does not exist in the African tradition.
What is a messiah?
A messiah or prophet is an ordinary person, who performs positive and extraordinary acts in difficult circumstances. It only occurs under abnormal or problematic conditions and therefore never occurs in a situation where everything is fine.
The messiah or prophet does good, saves others and helps them by his action or by the actions he takes. The hero, the messiah, or the prophet reminds those around him of the moral values and the path they must follow. The hero, the messiah, or the prophet, is not an individualist and a selfish person who thinks only of himself, since he takes actions and acts for the good of all, which around him no one does.
The notion of messiah or prophet in the sense that we generally understand it does not exist in African culture, tradition and spirituality. Why is that the case?
Well, that’s because the original African societies and organizations are not based on the principle of individualism but on community. Since African societies are governed by the community principle, the individual outside the group is nothing, the collective takes precedence over the individual. If this is the case, it means in the minds of our ancestors that no single individual has, and cannot have, the responsibility to act individually for the good of all, as a messiah or a prophet would do.
Therefore, in African thought, the good deeds of the prophet or messiah are deeds that everyone should do (doing good, acting for good, etc.). The same is true of the good principles preached by the prophet or the messiah, principles that everyone learns and receives during their initiation.
In African spirituality, with initiation, everyone knows his or her place and the divine laws to be respected, the principles and laws of Ma’at (truth, justice, divine order, rectitude, harmony) which are the things to follow and respect. Since through initiation, everyone knows what to do, there is no need for a prophet, a messiah, or a savior to follow.
It is our own actions that we do in accordance with the divine law inscribed in us by nature, which allow us to access happiness, and not the message or actions of a messiah or prophet, etc. A highly spiritually qualified person is thus seen as a guide or elder, who can be overtaken if his or her followers acquire more knowledge in the practice of good. In no way is this person considered a messiah.
Prophets and messiahs only appeared in individualistic cultural cradles, in places where evil reigned in mass, that’s why the prophets tried to preach good to people to bring them back to good, etc. Messiahs appeared in places where people were losing their bearings and didn’t know what to do… In short, the prophets only appeared in places where there was no Ma’at (truth, justice, order, harmony), precisely in order to bring the principles derived from Ma’at.
Africans therefore do not expect any messiah or prophet to come and save you from anything or solve your problems. What you must do is unite (operate on the principle of community), and practice Ma’at!!!