Religious Nones in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Do We Know and What Would We Like to Know?


Sub-Saharan African societies are widely perceived as being highly religious. However, a small percentage of sub-Saharan Africans identify themselves as “religious nones” who are not affiliated with any religious tradition. So far, research interest in religious nones largely focuses on the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. This paper is written in response to the scarcity of literature on nones in sub-Saharan Africa, offering an overview of this understudied subject and pointing towards avenues for future research. Combining quantitative data from across the region with qualitative data from several sub-Saharan countries, special attention is drawn to the apparent contradictions of the presence of religious nones in highly religious environments and the structural and legal constraints placed on nones in African societies.