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A calamity is a major disastrous event caused by natural or human agents, in which a community suffers lasting damage. The African world was intimate with the powerful forces of life, community, nature, and death. Understanding, using, propitiating, and cooperating with these forces was the main life activity of many African peoples while securing basic material needs. An imbalance in any of these forces could potentially cause a calamity. The intimacy among the people, the land, their ancestors, and traditions provided the first line of response to a calamity.

Calamities of the modern world are on a much more complex scale. The effects of enslavement, colonialism, forced urbanization, genocide, war, poverty, exploitation, and disease have placed considerable stress on African people and culture. The modern calamities ...

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