The church, the mosque and traditional belief in Africa

Both Muslims and Christians maintain a connection to the past

A major new survey of African belief—25,000 people interviewed by the Pew Forum in 19 sub-Saharan countries—shows that most people are committed Muslims or Christians. And that many visit traditional healers like Dr. Msilo in his cramped hut at the end of an alleyway in the coastal Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo. To locals, he is known as a witch doctor, and his treatments involve casting out evil spirits, as well as administering traditional potions. People are keen to seek out his services, regardless of their religious affiliation. “God provides medicine for all people—Muslims, Christians and pagans,” he says. The survey also showed that in most countries, Christians and Muslims live peacefully side by side. Fewer than one third of respondents felt religious conflict was a problem in their country—though 58% said it was in Rwanda and Nigeria, where there have recently been clashes between rival communities around Jos.

BBC News

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