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African Legends and Myths

Congo - Adroa

Adroa is the Supreme God and Creator and has two differing sides, Adroa being the Sky God. It’s believed that Adroa created a set of twins who were the first man and woman

on earth, Gborogboro and Meme. Meme gave birth to all the animals as well as another pair of male-female twins. The fascinating thing about these twins was that they had magical powers and from them many pairs of male-female twins were born, until Jaki and Dribidu were born, the hero-ancestors. It is their sons who is said to be the founders of the present Lugbara clans of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Adroa is the supreme god or spirit of the Lugbara people of central Africa. Adroa is a god they worship, and this aspect of the god was known as Adroa 'ba o'bapiri ('God the creator of men'). Adroa was said to have created the first man, Gborogboro, and the first woman, Meme.

Ghana - Anansi

Anansi is a mythological figure that mainly appears as a spider but can take on human form and features in many West African cultures. He’s known as the spirit of all knowledge and tales and is particularly fond of playing tricks on the unsuspecting – whether they be humans, animals or even the gods. Thanks to his wide knowledge and cunning ways, he’s able to trick even the cleverest of victims. Anansi the spider is an African folktale character who is associated with skill and wisdom and often triumphs over foes larger than he. In this story, Anansi goes on a journey only to find himself in great danger. One of his six sons can sense trouble and alerts his brothers to come to their father's rescue.

Kenya - Ngai

Kere-Nyaga (Mount Kenya) is where Ngai likes to spend most of his time, and the foothills of the snow-capped mountain is also where locals assemble in the shade of trees to pray. The origin of the Gikuyu tribe starts with Ngai. Legend has it that a man called Gikuyu was lead to the top of the mountain where he met Ngai. The god emphasised the beauty of the land below and promised that he would give the man anything he needed as long as he keeps praying. Gikuyu had nine daughters but longed for sons to carry on his name, the god provided and so the Gikuyu tribe was born.

Ngai is regarded and known as the mighty God, the creator, and the omnipotent God. Ngai often referred to as ‘mwene nyaga,’ which means; the owner of the dazzling light. It was noted that in prayers and sacrifices, Ngai is addressed by the Gikuyu as ‘mwene nyaga,’ which means; possessor of brightness. This name is associated with kiriNyaga, which is the name for Mount Kenya. Which then altogether means; the mountain of brightness.

Botswana - Kaang

According to the San people, Kaang created the universe and many stories about him revolve around resurrection. The San people are extremely spiritual, and through ritual dances and rock art they break the barrier between the physical and spiritual worlds. The San also believe that every single living being has a spirit, and during and after the creation all lived together in complete harmony. It’s due to these beliefs that animals have such a major impact on their culture and traditions. Kaang is the creator god of the San people and is said to have made all things. He is regarded as the god of natural phenomena, present in all things, but especially the mantis and caterpillar. He got totally fed up with the disobedience of mankind and went away in a huff. Now somewhat aloof, his only communication with Earth these days is via preying mantises and caterpillars.

Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania - Takhar

Takhar is a demi-god in the Serer religion in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania and is worshipped to protect believers against injury, bad omens and abuse. Sacrifices in the form of poultry and cattle are left under the tallest trees as it’s believed that Takhar lives in the highest branches. The vengeance of Takhar is also a preventative method within the tribe, as fear deters locals from committing crimes. Takhar or Taahkarr (in Serer and Cangin) is a demi-god in the Serer religion worshipped by many Serers (an ethnic group found in Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania). Takhar is the god of justice and vengeance in Serer religion and worshipped at the foot of certain trees in the forest deemed to be sacred.

Ethopia - Werehyenas

In Ethiopia blacksmiths have an unfortunate fate as they’re all believed to be witches or wizards, which allows them to change into werehyenas (similar to a werewolf but more terrifying). Apparently sangomas (witch doctors) can turn someone into a werehyena if the person has tasted human flesh.

The werehyenas are grave robbers and will destruct anything that comes in their way. They have a rotten smell, bury their victims alive only to return later when hungry and their shrill laugh can be heard from miles away. Bouda in Ethiopian and Eritrean folk religion is a creature with the ability to change into a hyena. Buda is generally believed by the wider society to be a power held and wielded by those in a different social group.

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