Chic African Culture Africa Factbook

Scapegoat Sacrifice Ceremony

Scapegoat Sacrifice Ceremony in Africa

Scapegoat Sacrifice Ceremony of Ukamba
African Ceremony

It is believed the physical world is parallel to the spiritual world therefore when a disease plagues the village of Ukamba, the Elders take a large ram, a male sheep for ceremonial slaughter. The Elders of the village cut small pieces of meat from the ram carcass and spear the meat on wooden sticks.

Men and women of the village then each take a piece of ram meat, walk some distance from the village and throw it deep into the woods. By doing this the disease will be carried away with the pieces of meat taking with it all wickedness and impurities of the village. The remaining ram meat is roasted at a large fire and eaten by the villagers; the bones are collected at the place where the meat was roasted and are broken up. 

A libation is prepared, and next morning at dawn, everyone must be awakened before the libation is poured out. The libation is put into a horn of an ox and into a bowl made from a gourd, the former being held in the right hand and the latter in the left. 

The libation in the right hand is poured out on the bones first to appease the male spirit, that in the left to appease the female spirit. When the Ukamba Elders pour the libation the Elders pray as follows: “We put out the fire at the place where we roasted the meat, we put out the sickness so that it cannot return again to our village.”

The ram is believed to have the offending disease of the village community symbolically placed upon it being sacrificed as a sin offering loosely similar to the Old Testament bible story of Leviticus 16:5-22 The Day of Atonement also known as Yom Kippur. The ram sacrifice takes the villagers place and pays the price to rid the community of illness during the Scapegoat Ceremony of Ukamba. 

Sacrifice Ceremony of a Ram


What is a libation? An act of pouring a liquid as a sacrifice.

What is a ceremony? In a ceremony, there is predictability and participants usually know what the outcome will be, most events called rituals are really ceremonies. A ritual is an activity that has an unplanned spontaneous outcome. The key difference between a ceremony and a ritual is spontaneity. 

What is the significance of fire? Fire is a symbol of divine nature, purity.

What is an Elder? An elder is a respected person of greater age, a spiritual leader with influence responsible for the guidance and direction of a community.

What is a Ram? An adult male sheep is called a ram. An adult female sheep is called an ewe. Immature animals are called lambs. Sheep are raised for meat, milk, and wool. Sheep usually have short tails. Mature sheep weigh 80 to 400 pounds. 

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