Many known as the Messiah. He was then

Many parts of Africa are highly varied, such as religion, customs, and environmental problems. People all over the continent worship Christianity, but Islam is also immensely believed in. Traditional African religions are very important as well, showing the first beliefs of the people who lived long before them. Rituals for the transition to adulthood are also very differed, spanning from cattle jumping to isolation, as well as a much more peaceful one, where a girl’s hair is plaited with otjize, a combination of butter, fat, and red ochre. With all the people that live on the continent, it does not come without risks. Deforestation and pollution are major problems in Africa; and more specifically, air pollution and water pollution. In Africa, many countries, many cities, and tribes all have some sort of diversity. Religion in Africa is diverse, varying from both small tribes and large countries. Although 55% of the approximately 1 billion population that Africa has are Christian, there are also African religions. Traditional African religions are not of a purpose to follow a set of rules, but rather to support their people and where they live. Christianity, Islam, and traditional African faiths are some of the largest worshipped religions in South Africa. In North Africa, Islam is the most practiced religion. Islamic practices focus on one god, known as “Allah”. The will of Allah was made known by his messenger, Muhammad. Although flexible with tradition, they expect strict obedience to certain practices. For example, Muslims do not eat or drink for day or night for an entire month (also known as fasting); although some are allowed to not do it (such as the elderly) or not do it and make it up later (such as the sick). Doing this is intended to bring them closer to God and to remind them of the suffering that others have to endure.However, in South Africa, Christianity is more prominent. Christians focus primarily on Jesus Christ. They believe that he was sent by God to save the world; otherwise known as the Messiah. He was then crucified by the Romans on a cross, to offer the forgiveness of sins. Christianity in Africa changed the culture of South Africa as well. Before Christianity, it was a large part of African culture to have more than one wife. Now, the amount of polygyny has decreased greatly. There are also traditional African religions as well; the places they are practiced are located in the center of Africa. Unlike other religions, the people who practice them do not worship their god directly, or their creator. They feel unworthy to do so, alternatively asking their ancestors to contact their supreme being instead. Some professors do not call them a polytheistic religion, instead choosing the word “divinities” rather than “gods”. All over Africa, there are many different religions practiced and beings worshipped. Some choose to worship Christianity, the biggest religion in the world, followed by about 2 billion people. Others choose Islam, believing in the prophet Muhammad and the Allah. And there are people who try and speak with their ancestors, to contact their creator or their god. They focus on their family and customs. There are diverse amounts of religion everywhere, as people all over Africa worship many different gods, spirits, and divinities. The different cultures of Africa also have many ways and customs of doing things. This includes coming of age ceremonies. Some plait their hair in specific designs. Some have a ritual of jumping over cattle. Some are sent away in isolation for a certain amount of time. Many tribes, all over Africa, all differentiate from each other in their traditions, especially on the road to adulthood.In the Hamar tribe of Omo Valley, Ethiopia, boys prove their manhood by jumping over bulls. The females participate in this tradition as well, allowing themselves to be whipped by birch sticks. The more scars they have, the more proof they have of their courage. The cattle get pulled into a line, which the boy must jump over. The cattle are covered with dung to make the ritual more challenging. Once on the other side, he repeats the routine. If all has gone well, then it is ended with a celebration.The Xhosa of Eastern Cape, South Africa, take part in a tradition that has something in common with what other tribes do. The young boys of the tribe are circumcised, without anesthesia. This is not taken lightly, due to complications and malpractice during the process. They risk death and injury, but without the circumcision, they are not treated like ‘real men’, instead of being ridiculed. Afterwards, they are sent away from the village with few supplies and wrapped in a blanket. Then they are sent into the bush otherwise known as a savanna. They will then learn to fight for themselves for two months, in a structure built by the village specifically for the practice, called Ulwaluko. When they come back, they are no longer called a boy, then handed a new blanket.At the Himba tribe of Namibia, another section of Africa, there is a ceremony for the journey to womanhood. They are famous for their reddish hair and skin. It is caused by a mixture of butter, fat, and red ocher, called otjize. When a girl reaches puberty, she leaves the village until she is accepted into womanhood with a ritual. Helped by others, she is spiritually protected during her first menstruation. When presented to the spirits, her womanhood is official. Her hair is plaited back and covered with otjize. This ritual is celebrated for five days, and she is given gifts and a leather crown during this time.Many places in Africa have ways of putting people on the path to adulthood. Americans even have a ‘sweet sixteen’. But all these tribes have so many different ways of doing this. Bull jumping, hair plaiting, and even circumcision and isolation are all such vastly different traditions, and Africa is diverse in many ways, especially rites of passage.In Africa, there are several environmental issues, distributed all over the continent. Several of these problems are deforestation, air pollution, and water pollution. Pollution in both air and water is dangerous and can go to extreme levels. Deforestation can affect the species that live there, as well as being a major force in climate change. Deforestation in Africa is an extremely troubling problem. By 2030, it is estimated that 30% of the forests in Africa will be gone. Wood is often taken illegally, which affects wildlife, local people, and economies at a great risk. Demand for lumber is increasing over the years, more so in China. This means that the forests of Congo Basin are being chopped down at rates unlike ever before. Scans suggest that the greatest areas where the most forest has been lost are in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. The forests along the coast have been disappearing as well, as they have been reduced to ten percent of their original size. Due to buildings needing better structure, forests being used for this are in peril of severe loss or degradation. Air pollution is also an issue. Outdoor air pollution from traffic, power generation, and industries are increasing quite rapidly, especially in cities that develop quickly, like Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. The problem with air pollution in Africa, unlike other cities such as London, is that the pollution is hard to trace. In London, the problem is mainly because of the burning of hydrocarbons for transportation. In Africa, it could be the burning of trash, millions of diesel electricity generators, or cooking indoors with inept fuel stoves, but it is hard to calculate what the actual source is. Access to clean water is a troubling concern as well. To get more money, Africa takes waste from the more developed countries, such as America, some countries in Europe, and Japan. But, the waste is not always processed properly, therefore making it so that the water systems get polluted. Human waste is also dumped into rivers and streams. Water on the surface of the land is contaminated, and while groundwater seems like the most viable option, even that isn’t safe. Metals can come in contact with and contaminate it, as well as germs and bacteria. The pollution of water is a problem for many, but living in a poor town or a slum makes it even worse. Restricting sanitation issues is not easy, especially with all the exposure to sewage. Scientists all over the world are looking to find solutions to the environmental problems in Africa. Deforestation, air pollution, and water pollution are problems now, and hopefully, in the future, those issues will be solved. While one part of Africa may have air pollution, another may have deforestation. Yes, Africa is diverse, but that is not a problem, nor should we be focusing on it. Instead, we should be facing our attention towards the fact that the Earth is falling apart before our eyes because of human activity.


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