The Influence of the African Religious and Cultural Context and Its Impact on Lutheranism: The Case of Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality
Keywords:African religious, Lutheranism, Greater Sekhukhune Municipality, cultural context, traditional religion.
In Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality, traditional religion has played a significant role in transforming Christianity by confronting it with the decisive issue of indigenization. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to examine the inter-religious relations among Christianity and African Traditional Religion (ATR), and to explore how African religious and cultural values have impacted on Christian – ATR relations within the municipality, and how the latter has, also, been affected by the former. The primary research question raised in this study is: what is the relevance of indigenous people’s music in the existing (Lutheran) liturgy? The study employed an intercultural theological approach to Science and Religion, and the analysis is based on acculturation and the principle of elimination by substitution. The study also utilized a triangulated and contextual approach, and data was collected through observations, face-to-face interviews and video recordings of rehearsals and performances during church services and other related events. Secondary sources included published books and Journal articles. The investigation has revealed that the integration of spiritual folk songs (choruses), traditional musical instruments, handclapping, and dancing into liturgical church service of almost all Evangelical Lutheran churches found in Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality, has not compromised the essence of Lutheran tradition. It has rather encouraged maximum, active and unimpeded participation in liturgical church service and/or Congregational singing. Indications from the investigation have also shown that the dimensions of rhythm play an important role to contextualize and Africanize the existing (Lutheran) liturgy, in order to make the missionary qualities of worship an integral part of mission work. During the study, it was also observed that musical creativity and musicality in the visited churches embrace other elements such as the capacity for becoming absorbed emotionally in music and the ability to enter into an intimate relation with it, so that the whole organization of the soul is affected. It was concluded that it is indeed of great significance that indigenous people’s music should be regarded as a matter of relevance and ultimately becomes a vessel which carries the full meaning of the Gospel.