Togo, located in West Africa, encompasses an area of 57,000 square km and hosts a population of about 7.6 million people. Togo became independent from France in1960. The majority of the population of Togo (51%) adhere to the traditional African beliefs. Christians account for about 29% of the total population and Muslims makeup about 20% of the total population.
The constitution of Togo declares the equality of all citizens before the law irrespective of their religious beliefs. Religious discrimination is discouraged in the country which is declared as a secular state. Citizens are allowed to practice the religion of their choice.
Traditional African Beliefs In Togo
The majority of Togo’s population follow their traditional ethnic religions and beliefs which vary widely across ethnic groups and regions in the country. Some examples include the cult of ancestors, fetishism, the forces of nature, etc. These beliefs usually share some common features such as belief in the existence of spirits, belief in magic, respect for the ancestors and the dead, belief in a supreme being, and the use of traditional medicines. The leaders of these religions or sects are often associated with magical powers and are regarded as the connection between the supernatural and the human world. Initiation ceremonies are usually held to welcome a girl or a boy into adulthood. Voodoo which involves the worship of the spirits and other practices associated with magic is also practiced here. Followers often enter into a trance-like state during voodoo ceremonies where they claim to communicate with the spirit world. Religious customs and taboos are maintained strictly. Even most Togoans who adhere to the major religions of the world engage in traditional religious practices. The dwellings in Togo usually have an altar for deity worship. Regular sacrifices are made to please the deities and ensure their protection.
Christianity In Togo
Christianity was introduced in Togo by the European colonists. The Portuguese who arrived in Togo during the middle of the 15th century introduced Roman Catholicism in the country. Later, when the Germans arrived in Togo in the late 19th century, Protestantism became popular in the country. The work of Christians missionaries helped spread the faith among the masses. Most of Togo’s Christians are Roman Catholics and the remaining are Protestants or belong to other denominations.
Islam in Togo
Islam was introduced in the country by the various Muslim immigrants who arrived in the country from other parts of Africa. However, most of the indigenous Muslims of Togo still adhere to their traditional beliefs. There has also been a recent influx of Muslim immigrants from Nigeria and Lebanon in Togo.