Introduction to African Religion

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African History Project – African Religions (2) copy
  • Course Title: Introduction to African Religion
  • Type of Course: Short Course
  • Department: Black Political Thought and Culture
  • Duration:  6 weeks
  • Fee: £149
  • Start date: rolling, enrol at any time
  • Seminars: Saturdays, 7pm – 8pm (London), Live on Zoom
  • Lectures: Pre-Recorded, supported by curated reading lists, knowledge questions and tutor support
  • Assessment: 1 x 1000-word essay

This engaging course introduces students to the nature, place, and function of religion in the African tradition.

Africa, as the origin of humanity, is the origin of all religion. The earliest cosmologies, concepts of eternal life, systems of ethics, and conversations with the divine are found within the African tradition. As such, African religious thought has made an unprecedented contribution to our understanding of what it is to be human, to be conscious, and to be agents of our lives in the particular iteration of the space-time continuum we find ourselves in.

In this course, students will explore the African philosophy of religion and dive into the theologies, episcopacies, and practices of two leading African religions, Yoruba Ifa and Haitian Vodou. By combining an exploration of both a continental and a diasporic religion, this course will facilitate philosophical, theological and historical analyses of African religious life, allowing students to explore the political and social utility of religion in the African consciousness.

The course can be taken as a standalone course or as part of the Foundation Certificate in Black Political Thought and Culture.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students are expected to understand:

  1. What is religion, why humans developed it, and the role it continues to play in our personal and public lives;
  2. African concepts of the divine including an understanding of African cosmologies, deities (including deified ancestors) and supreme beings;
  3. Forms of divination and veneration in the African tradition and how these are used to communicate with the divine;
  4. Religious leaders, communities, and places of veneration in the African tradition;
  5. The moral philosophies and social utilities of African religion. 


Apeike Umolu is the founder of the African History Project. She is an educator and historian with over 15 years of experience supporting students in the attainment of academic excellence. Specialising in African history, she is a passionate historian and has undertaken historical studies at the University of Oxford. She researches extensively on West African political history and is working on her first book On Black Consciousness.

Course Aims

The course aims to give students a robust understanding of the building blocks of religious belief and practice in the African tradition. Students will gain an understanding of the nature of divinity and the social utility of religion in African societies. They will explore the theologies, philosophies and episcopacies of Africa to understand the foundations of African social and political thought. 

Course Outline

  • Module 1: Introduction to African Religion
  • Module 2: Divine and Supreme Beings – Pantheons of Orisha and Lwa
  • Module 3: African Cosmology and Philosophy of Religion
  • Module 4: Divination and Spirit Possession
  • Module 5: Episcopacies, Cults and Shrines
  • Module 6: Moral Philosophy and Deity Agency


The lectures are delivered on an online learning platform through recorded video lectures, and supported by curated reading lists, knowledge questions and tutor support. 

To find out more about our lectures, please click here.


Seminars are delivered live on Zoom on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. Students need to attend and participate in all the seminars held while they are enrolled. 

To find out more about our seminars, please click here.


Students have 6 weeks from registration to complete the course, attend the seminars, and submit the assignments. 


  • 1 x 1000-word essay
  • Seminar attendance and participation

To find out more about our Assignments click here.


On successful completion of the course, participants will be issued with a Certificate of Completion and be eligible for an academic reference.

Have a question? Please send us an email to

Course Features

  • Lectures 13
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 6 Weeks
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Participants 24
  • Resources Yes