Popular African Myths and Legends

by timparkinson

Africa is such a large and culturally diverse continent that it would be a pity, if not a sacrilege, to travel here without having the faintest idea about its culture and traditions. African fairytales and legends are truly remarkable, and for many African tribes in the past storytellers were widely respected. Form immemorial times, the people of Africa have created the most interesting myths about the origin of humans, the creation of the world or the existence of sun and natural phenomena. And considering the current theory that the first human beings have lived in Africa, the African myths might as well be the oldest in the world. Which is why it’s worth taking a look at these popular African myths and legends:

The Sun

Whether we consider the Berbers in Sahara or the Bushmen in Kalahari, we have to acknowledge that the sun has always played a major part in the lives of African people. Which is why so many African myths have tried to explain the birth of the Sun and the difference between day and night. According to some tribes, every time the sun sets, it sneaks up high in the sky, under the protection of the darkness, and tip toes back to the east, where it can rise again. However, the sky is full of tiny holes, and they let the sun’s brightness get through in the appearance of stars. Others say that a big crocodile gulps up the sun each evening and spits it up in the morning.

 The ostrich and his long neck

by timparkinson

A funny legend tells the story of the ostrich and its incredibly long neck: the bird’s neck wasn’t always like this, but one night the ostrich decided to help his wife and look over the eggs while she enjoys a well-deserved break. The wife disappeared in a second, and spend the night dancing and having fun, to the desperation of her husband, who kept looking for her. When she returned in the morning, the ostrich’s neck was stretched out from too much straining.

The origins of the world

A tribe from Nigeria attributes the origin of the world to their god Obatala. At the beginning the earth was nothing but a big swamp with no solid ground, but due to the ingeniosity of Obatala, who used a pigeon and a hen to spread away a handful of earth, a wide piece of solid ground was soon formed, where people settled in.



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