Faith of Our Shared African Grandmothers


Majid Ali, M.D.

Once Grandmothers Worshipped Different Dieties.

Grandmothers become mothers before they become grandmothers. Once mothers worshipped differently. They helped their children to make sense of life – of people and things around them. When the children grew up, the mothers helped them understand their rightful place in the tribe as well as their responsibilities. That was their religion. That was the first religion of women of the Rift valley in East Africa. That was the beginning of authentic religion.

Then appeared the great nontheistic, monotheistic, and polytheistic religions of the world ushered by men. These men of fought ferociously hard among themselves to prove whose Gods were more powerful than whose gods. These fights also generated a distinctive tenet of the religion of early men which the religion of Rift Valley women did not have: fear.

Deities Of Goodness 

On the subject of fear, here is some text from my article entitled Africa – the Mother of Medicine: ” female dieties were assigned crucial roles of life-givers, life-sustainers, and nurturers while male dieties were often warriors and destroyers; and (4) the transition from primarily matriarchal to patriarchal social mores occurred in Egypt and Greece long after the evolution of far more insightful, humane, just, and enlightened thought in earlier African times. (for more on the subject, see the related article entitled “Africa – the Mother of Medicine” at this site.

Men Were Masters of Dividing and Rule 

Men also, for unknown reasons, found it necessary to separate people into two orders, one higher for themselves and the other lower for women. Also, for reasons I do not understand, women submitted to those two orders. However, women for reasons that are easy to understand never completely surrendered their first religion to the later religions of their men.

The writers on comparative religions of the world now usually dismiss the religion of Rift Valley women as “primal” – not quite real, let alone authentic. These writers have little, if any, interest in Rift Valley religion.

It is interesting that mothers of our time are not any more impressed by the superiority claims of their men in matters of religion than the Rift valley women were of the religious claims of their men.

Suggested Reading:

Africa – the Mother of Medicine


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