A Study In Cultural Spirituality


“BSU Presents: Afrikan Spirituality,” a Black Student Union (BSU) hosted discussion, took place Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Lecture Center (LC) 104 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The discussion, which traveled as far back as the story of Adam and Eve, opened a doorway for students to engage in the topic of African spirituality.

Black Studies professors Dr. Karanja Carroll and Kaba Kamene not only educated the group of interested students on the basics of African spirituality, but encouraged them to speak up and share their personal experiences with religion and spirituality.

BSU Vice President Jada Young said Carroll, who is also the faculty advisor for BSU, approached her early in the semester about “re-doing” a discussion he led on African spirituality back in 2007.

“He saw that Professor Kaba was in the audience so he asked Kaba to join him,” she said. “From my understanding, Carroll wanted to re-do the program from 2007 and he and Kaba are well-versed in speaking on the topic of African spirituality.”

Young said that when it comes to planning events with the Department of Black Studies, the BSU usually tries to cater to the desires of the faculty by adapting what they say to their student-based audience.

During the discussion, Kamene spoke about male and female roles in spirituality, citing the biblical story of  the world’s first human beings. He said it is believed that women are punished with inferiority to men due to the actions of Eve — the woman who tempted her male counterpart, Adam, to eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge after she fell from the creator’s good graces.

Kamene said that man should be strong enough to make wise decisions of his own, which is why he has a problem with the history of women being blamed on the Adam and Eve story.

“There’s no way you can have a just man anything,” he said. “For every god there’s a goddess.”

Carroll said that his concerns about African spirituality revolve around cultural, psychological, philosophical and theoretical issues.

He said that spirituality is about being conscious of and attentive to “moral, ethical standards.”

African spirituality, Carroll said, dictates that what is consumed, whether it be music, food or culture, becomes a part of a person.

“We need to trust ourselves and know that things will happen,” he said. “Trust your feelings.”

Young said it’s important that students attend these events because it allows those who are not normally exposed to this level of discourse to learn new things.

“I think the Black Studies Department is unique because they offer very stimulating and transformative events that are always relatable to our life experiences,” Young said.