Hinduism in Africa

Hinduism in Africa

The history of Hinduism in Africa is by most accounts very short in comparison to the histories of Islam, Christianity, or even Judaism in the same continent. However, the presence of its practitioners in Africa dates back to pre-colonial times, even medieval times. While Arab sailors and armies made frequent contact with the western coast of the Indian subcontinent, Gujarati sailors headed in the opposite direction across the Indian Ocean to sell and trade goods in the ports of the Swahili Coast of what are today known as Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. However, they were driven away by the arrival of future colonizers from Portugal.

Hence, Hinduism was only to take root in Africa through the spread of the British Empire, which colonized huge swaths of land throughout the Old World, especially the entirety of the Indian subcontinent and most of the Southern half of the African continent, with added portions of land in North Africa (succeeded by today's modern states of Egypt and Sudan). Many Indians left their homeland to seek their fortunes as soldiers, civil servicemen, and indentured servants throughout the British Empire, settling mainly in the British colonies of Southern and Eastern Africa. Their descendants eventually gained middle-class status in these countries, a position which has changed little in post-colonial Africa.

Hinduism is not usually propagated to the same lengths or through the same means as the other two largest organized religions on the planet. It has mostly been confined to practice by the Indo-African communities of these countries. However, in post-colonial sub-Saharan Africa, a small-scale movement for Hinduism and its propagation "outside" the Indo-African community has occurred, spearheaded by such individuals such as Swami Ghanananda, the first Hindu swami of Ghana. Today, Lagos, Nigeria, which did not receive an early influx of Indian migrants as did countries such as South Africa and Uganda, is home to over 25,000 Hindus, mostly converts and recent, post-independence Indian immigrants. This was primarily the work of ISKCON missionaries. While Hinduism has been cited as possessing many parallels to African spirituality, it has received stiff opposition from the entrenched Christian elites and Muslim minorities of these countries.

ee also

* List of Hindu temples

External links

* [http://www.hinduismtoday.com/archives/1993/10/1993-10-05.shtml Hinduism in Africa]
* [http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Hinduism_vs_Zulu/id/50514 Hindu vs. Zulu]

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