The African concept of reincarnation has been a critical issue among some scholars both Africa and non-Africans.

What is reincarnation?

Reincarnation is the belief that a deceased person can be reborn but not to either metempsychosis or transmigration. Many scholars would agree that reincarnation is a pristine concept, yet it is so present in the beliefs and worldviews of several cultures today (including those of Africa).

A good appreciation of the concept, it can be seen, will not be possible without some reference to the past. That shows reincarnation was understood in the religious philosophies of ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Indians, and Chinese. Secondly, some link is then established between the past and present, especially between ancient Egyptian philosophy and those of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. In modern African thought, the doctrine of reincarnation has not been thoroughly researched.

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Even so, some of the few who have written on the subject have denied its existence in African thought. The dissertation rejects this denial and seeks to show nonetheless that reincarnation is generally an irrational concept. In spite of its irrationality, it is acknowledged that the concept, as especially presented in African thought, raises our understanding of the constitution of a person as understood in the African culture.

It is also observed that the philosophical problem of personal identity is central to the discussion of reincarnation because that which constitutes a person is presumed to be known whenever a claim of return of a survived person is made. For this reason, the dissertation also pays significant attention to the concept of personal identity in connection, especially, with the African philosophical belief in the return of persons.

Some evidence of reincarnations in Africa

Old scar, the reappearance of bodily marks of deceased persons on the body of a newborn baby is one basis for the Igbos’ belief in reincarnation. In the circumstance of mentally ill people who were violent in a past life and were constrained to wearing handcuffs or ankle restraints for a long time before they died; it is believed that the scar of the wound caused by the handcuffs does appear on the wrists or ankles of some of them upon their reincarnation. The scientist or medical field has refuted it, they are of the view that it is abnormal to function the system.

Pre information: retain memories:  there are similar cases where a child that is not up to 4 years will come up and said that this house or tree or any he claims to belong to him or any related story of the previous life which may seem to be true as he or she narrates, after that he or she will forget the story since he or she has to share it. Reincarnation and Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.

Stevenson methodically documented each child’s statements and then identified the deceased person the child identified with and verified the facts of the deceased person’s life that matched the child’s memory. He also matched birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records such as autopsy photographs, in Reincarnation and Biology. Stevenson searched for disconfirming evidence and alternative explanations for the reports and believed that his strict methods ruled out all possible “normal” explanations for the child’s memories.

However, a significant majority of Stevenson’s reported cases of reincarnation originated in Eastern societies, where dominant religions often permit the concept of reincarnation. Following this type of criticism, Stevenson published a book on European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. Stevenson himself recognized one glaring flaw in his case for reincarnation: the absence of any evidence of a physical process by which a personality could survive death and transfer to another body.

Sceptics such as Paul Edwards have analyzed many of these accounts, and called them anecdotal, while also suggesting that claims of evidence for reincarnation originate from selective thinking and from the false memories that often result from one’s own belief system and basic fears, and thus cannot be counted as empirical evidence.


This is common to us, one can give birth to a child, that will resemble the grandfather both facial and in character. Medically there is what is called a gene, for them, there is a transfer of genes passed down from parent to child in this case they also debunk the theory of reincarnation.

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One of the ways of increasing the ancestor’s vital force is by sacrifices and prayers from the living descendants. Hence the wish of Africans to have many children who will offer sacrifices to them after death. By an inverse movement, the “force” of the ancestor flows into the sacrifices and into the community which he embodies and the living receives the “strengthening influence” of the ancestor. “The whole weight of an extinct race lies on the dead… for they have for the whole time of their infinite deathlessness, missed the goal of their existence, that is, to perpetuate themselves through reproduction in the living person.

This “perpetuation of themselves through reproduction” is what has been mistakenly called reincarnation. It is rather the “life-giving will” or “.vital influence” or “secretion of vital power “of the ancestor on his living dependents. This is understandable because the ancestor who is now a pure dynamic force can influence and affect many births in his clan without emptying his personality. This explains Prof. Idowu’s “partial or more precisely apparent reincarnation. Reincarnation cannot be partial or apparent. Either it is or is not. “The dead are esteemed, says Temple, “only to the extent to which they increase and perpetuate their vital force in their progeny.


Edwards, Paul, Reincarnation: A Critical Examination ISBN 1-57392-921-2.

Foltz, Richard, Religions of the Silk Road, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, ISBN 978-0-230-62125-1.

Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang, Joyful Path of Good Fortune, pp 336–47, Tharpa Publications (2nd. ed., 1995) ISBN 978-0-948006-46-3.

Head, Joseph and Cranston, S.L., editors, Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery, 1994, ISBN 0-517-56101-8.

Jefferson, Warren. 2009. “Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians:

Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses, and Near-Death Experiences.” Summertown, TN: Native Voices. ISBN 978-1-57067-212-5.

Heindel, Max, The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (Part I, Chapter IV: Rebirth and the Law of Consequence), 1909, ISBN 0-911274-34-0.


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