AN EARLY PORTUGUESE EXPLORER reported after a visit to the southern coast of Africa that the people had no religion. According to one commentator,

African religions, and Vodou for that matter, are not necessarily recognizable as separate institutions with a book of law regimenting the moral life of its devotees. They pervade and permeate the whole society as their “theology, rituals and organizations intimately merged with the concepts and structure of secular institutions,” a commentary originally made by Yang about China which, for similar reasons, has also been said to be a country without religion.2