African spirituality in the spotlight

Promotional flyer for the event. Photo courtesy @ub.bun.tu on Instagram

Florida A&M University’s chapter of the Ubuntu Coalition of Revolutionaries hosted an event Wednesday titled “Man Know Thyself: Intro to African Spirituality.”

The event was announced on the organization’s Instagram page with a description of what to expect: “The purpose of this event is to address the misconceptions of African spirituality, learn the basic principles of African spirituality and how it can positively impact us today.”

The event was facilitated by Jeremiah Nichols, an African American studies student at FAMU, who posed questions for the guest speaker and also brought attention to questions that were posed by viewers in the chat.

The guest speaker, whose spiritual name is Iya Fadunmade, is part of the Ifa spiritual system. She sounded eager to share with listeners a number of personal stories about her experiences in the practice as the discussion went on.

Fadunmade explained that the history and the culture brought her to the Ifa spiritual system. She explained that it was about understanding her personal identity and what she would have been practicing if Africans had never been separated from their homeland.

One of the questions posed by Nichols was, “What are some general misconceptions about African spirituality?”

Fadunmade responded by explaining that contrary to what the public may believe, they also worship one God and have a creation story similar to the one told in European religions. But they believe in lesser divinities that work with God, she added.

Fadunmade also said that many people think that African religions are like what is seen in television in places like New Orleans. Many people liken it to  magic. She also feels that a lack of knowledge causes many people to think that they worship a bad God.

As the event progressed, more of the beliefs of the Ifa spiritual system were discussed. Fadunmade explained the religious term, Ori, to one of the viewers who asked about it in the chat. She explained that Ori is your consciousness. Your Ori is with you at all times and directs your behavior.

Toward the end of the informational discussion, Nichols asked Fadunmade how people could learn more about the Ifa spiritual system and potentially become part of it. She said there are books about the practice and also offered herself as a resource.

“If we want to form our own virtual community, that would be fine with me,” Fadunmade said.

FAMU’s chapter of the Ubuntu Coalition of Revolutionaries has hosted several informational Zoom events like this. People interested in them and potential events should check out @ub.bun.tu on Instagram.