Concepts to Think about...

African spirituality: Spirituality is our connectedness to God., to our human roots, to the rest of nature, to one another and to ourselves.  It is the experience of the Holy Spirit moving us and our communities to be life-giving and life-affirming.  Throughout the so-called Third World, spirituality is celebrated in songs, rituals and symbols that show the energizing Spirit animating the community to move together in response to God. (“Ancestors and Healing in African Spirituality” from 27 to 30 September 2004)


Afrocentricity: is a mode of thoughts and action in which the centrality of African interests, values, and perspectives predominate. In regards to theory, it is the placing of African people in the center of any analysis of African phenomena. Thus, it is possible for anyone to master the discipline of seeking the location of Africans in a given phenomenon. In terms of action and behavior, it is a devotion to the idea that what is in the best interest of African consciousness is at the heart of ethical behavior. Finally, Afrocentricity seeks to enshrine the idea that blackness itself is a trope of ethics. Thus, to be black is to be against all forms of oppression, racism, classism, homophobia, patriarchy, child abuse, pedophilia, and white racial domination. (Afrocentricity, Molefi Kete Asante, p. 2)


Ancestors: are “departed” parents, members of a family or a clan who maintain a relationship and care of the living. They have special capabilities because they no longer experience the limitations of human beings.  Therefore, they are able to mediate between the Creator and the living. (“Ancestors and Healing in African Spirituality”)


Anthropological Poverty: when persons are bereft of their dignity, their freedom, their thought, their history, their language, their faith universe and their basic creativity, deprived of all their rights, their hopes, their ambitions ( that is when they are robbed of their own ways of living and existing)- they sink into poverty which no longer concerns only exterior or interior goods or possessions but strikes at the very being, essence and dignity of the human person. (Engelbert, Mveng, “Impoverishment and liberation: A Theological Approach for Africa and third World.”)

Black Nationalist: a person who believes in in self-determination, self-definition, and the cultural reconstruction of African Americans. (Molefi Kete Asante. Erasing Racism, p. 104)


Counselling: is the skilled and principled use of relationship to facilitate sell-knowledge, emotional acceptance and growth, and the optimal development of personal resources.  The overall aim is to provide an opportunity to work towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully. (Emmanuel Y. Lartey, In Living Color, p.82)


Post traumatic Slave Syndrome: is a condition that exists where a population has experienced multigenerational trauma resulting from centuries of slavery and continues to experience oppression and institutionalized racism today.  Added to this condition is a belief (real or imagined) that the benefits of the society in which they live are not accessible to them. (Dr. Joy Degruy, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, p. 105)

Sankofa: symbolic bird in West Africa translates as go back/return and get it; in other words, return and claim our past in order to move toward our future.  It is in understanding who we were that will free us to embrace who we are now. (Dr. Joy Degruy,  p.3)


Ubuntu: South African proverb that goes; we become human through other humans or a person is a person through other persons (Desmond Tutu, God has a dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time)

Uncle Tom: a character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic novel Uncle Tom's Cabin...which has come to mean a black person who is self-deprecating, nonassertive toward whites, and docile in the face of disrespect; an apologist for white abuse, who makes peace with evil for the sake of his own greed or fame; a collaborator against the interests of African people; weak-kneed Judas who betrays the trust of African people;  a joke-making, dumb-acting person who seeks to make white people feel comfortable even when they have committed criminal acts against blacks and who will not stand up fo his own or others' rights.  (Molefi Kete Asante. Erasing Racism, p.268)