By Kai Horsthemke (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137504056

ISBN-13: 9781137504050

ISBN-10: 1349553522

ISBN-13: 9781349553525

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Rather ironically, the resultant penalty the chief may impose could be the sacrificial slaughter of a goat, sheep or cow, in order to bring about reconciliation with the ancestors (210). 36 Animals and African Ethics Taringa contends that, while African traditional religions, exemplified by the Shona religion, appear to be intrinsically environmentally friendly, this is an exceedingly romantic perception, and, ultimately, it is a misconception. African religious attitudes to nature indicate that not all animals, plant life and water sources are sacred.

Religion, Mbiti states, is by far the richest part of the African heritage. Religion is found in all areas of human life. It has dominated the thinking of African peoples to such an extent that it has shaped their cultures, their social life, their political organisations and economic activities. (Mbiti 1975: 9) South African theologian Peter Kasenene (Kasenene 1998: 18) concurs that ‘Africans are very religious people and religion constitutes their way of life, influencing their physical, material, social or political concerns’ and maintains that all ‘individual and group activities are religiously determined’.

I]n fact, in indigenous African thought, humans are not animals; rather, they are in a class of their own which is much higher than that of animals. As such, even the phrase ‘nonhuman animals’ is alien to African thought. 13 The contribution of African philosophy While at least some African thought is quite mistaken in denying any evolutionary kinship between humans and other animals, and while it possibly errs in postulating distinctly ‘African’ knowledge (systems), truth and values, its value and uniqueness is arguably constituted by its (characteristically) practical philosophical priorities – priorities that exist, at best, to a lesser extent (if at all) elsewhere.

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Animals and African Ethics by Kai Horsthemke (auth.)


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