Introduction: African Traditions in the Study of Religion in Africa
This chapter proposes art, music, and dance as emerging African traditions in the study of African religions. African spirituality is embedded in the living traditions and cultures of the African people which the chapter formally organizes in logical categories that relate to other spiritualities in the world without being measured through or by them. MacGaffey discusses how African art in the hands of art collectors, in museums or galleries conceals its true meaning, and only the natural environment with 'the noise, dust, darkness, and dancing' brings out its true identity because 'African art is often deliberately concealed or partly visible, and the sight of it is accompanied by a variety of other sensual stimuli'. The clean, polished giant Shona sculpture are both alienating and inviting to the Zimbabwean migrant who is equally removed from the African natural rhythms, vitality and struggles captured in 'noise, dust, darkness and dancing'.