For many decades, Western Scholars have defined and described the African
traditional beliefs, institutions and practices in terms contrary to their own faiths and
experiences. Early missionaries, explorers, and other foreign investigators branded the
religious practices and the traditional institutions of the African peoples in such unacceptable
and derogatory terms as animism, paganism, heathenism and fetishism. Anything that did not
come from the "civilised" world was labelled "primitive". Some extremists have even gone so
far as to assume that God is a philosophical concept beyond the understanding of the savages.
Modern researches based on more thorough sociological, anthropological, linguistic,
and theological verifications have demonstrated the inadequacies of the former theories. It is
therefore not the purpose of the present study to appraise and signify the weakness of African
traditional institutions and practices, but rather to provide the evangelical Christian community
with a workable tool for inculturation.
Through this study, the researcher has demonstrated that the traditional Yoruba
institutions and practices like marriage and family life, can and should serve as a point of
contact for a kerygmatic proclamation. We must continue to explore ways to put such cultural
information at the disposal of the reflecting minister and faith community, both critically and
practically. From this study, we have thus discovered that the pole of cultural information on
marriage among the Yoruba thus represents not a realm of unredeemed nature, but a mixed
environment, partly antithetical to and partly complementary to Christian life.
Thus, this study looks at the traditional Yoruba marriage culture as an institution that
has come into contact with the Catholic Christian teachings. Chapter one presents the general
introduction of the thesis. The general introduction explains the author's involvement with a
group of married Catholic Christians, and consequently, how this study evolved. Flere, we
present the research problems, we also list the aims and objectives of the research and the
research methodologies employed to meet the objectives.
The second chapter presents the background history of the Yoruba people before and
after their contact with other cultures, namely, Colonialism and Christian enterprise of the
Western nations. Here, some structural organization of the Yoruba people like the kingship
and the extended family were thoroughly X-rayed as a way forward towards inculturation.
In the third chapter, the thesis examines the notion of marriage practices among the
Yoruba and the importance the Yoruba attached to preparation in their traditional setting. It
thus takes a critical look at Yoruba marriage traditions, the age-long practices and the changes
brought about as the result of their contact with other cultures.
The fourth chapter treats the understanding and the development of the Catholic
Christian marriage with its theology and teachings on marriage with particular respect to the
In chapter five, the points of conflict between the traditional Yoruba held tenets on
marriage treated in chapter three and the Christian/Western marriage practices treated in
chapter four are examined as well as the similarities between the two cultures.
Chapter six draws together all the concepts and conclusions that were highlighted in
the previous chapters. This helps to chart a path to a distinct proposal and recommendation for
the pastoral care of Yoruba Christian families at all levels. Thus, a reflective inculturated
Yoruba marriage rite based on a "tripartite coagulation theory" of partnership between the
individual, the family (culture) and the Church (Christian tradition) is recommended as the
way forward in integrating both cultures. Our recommendation thus suggested at least three
postures from which the conversation between the religious tradition and cultural information
might begin: (i) the religious tradition challenges the culture; (ii) the religious tradition is
challenged by the culture; (iii) the religious tradition uses the resources of the culture in pursuit
of its own religious mission.
Finally, from the summation of the research stated above, the seventh chapter
the entire thesis and proposes specific areas for further research.