We did the first part of African myths here. Now, brace yourself for part 2! These are genuine African myths that exist in more places than you think!
In many African stories, Huveane is the first man, while in others he is portrayed as a conniving deity. For the Basotho and Bavenda peoples of Lesotho, South Africa, he is their creator. After the creation of the earth and the heavens, Huveane wanted to enjoy some peace and quiet while proudly admiring his handiwork. Unfortunately, that was about the same time that humans taught themselves about the birds and the bees. This was great for them, but all the noise was too loud for Huveane. In an unusual fashion, Huveane ascended into the heavens by driving pegs into it and climbing to the top. As he climbed he removed each peg so that no human would ever follow him.
The Zambezi River God
The legendary Zambezi River God, or Nyaminyami, is a dragon-like creature believed to command all life in and on the mighty Zambezi River, the fourth-largest river system on the continent. According to one fable, the Kariba Dam project (started in 1956) shattered the peaceful existence of the Batonga people who had lived in the Zambezi Valley for hundreds of years. Asked to relocate, the Batonga were certain that Nyaminyami wouldn’t allow the dam to be built. Barely a year after the project began, a severe flood struck, killing several workers and destroying the partially built dam. For three days, relatives waited in vain for human remains to be recovered. Finally, the elders of the tribe explained that only a sacrifice would appease Nyaminyami’s displeasure. At this, a calf was slaughtered and placed in the water. The next day, the bodies of the workers were found in its place. The dam was finished in 1977.
This remarkable African mammal is usually featured as a goddess in African legends. Worshiped in ancient Egypt as Tawaret, the goddess of fertility and childbirth, she was essentially regarded as a protective and caring deity.
In Mozambique, the Ronga people tell the legend of a mother who left her child with Mother Hippo for safekeeping as the child’s life was threatened by an envious rival. Every night, Mother Hippo would emerge with the child so that it could suckle from its mother.
On the other hand, male hippopotami are usually seen as shape-shifting beasts. According to the legend of the hero Fara Maka, one such beast ate all the crops in the fields. The hero threw all his spears and sent black hounds against it, but the monster continued eating and could only be subdued and killed after a spell was placed on it by the hero’s wife.
In an Angolan folktale, death is explained like this: heartbroken after the death of his favorite wife Muhungu, Chief Kitamba ordered his people not to speak or eat until she could be brought back to life. The headmen of the tribe asked a medicine man to fetch the queen from Kalunga (the world of the dead). The medicine man ordered all the people of the village to wash themselves with infused herbs and shortly afterwards, descended into the land of the dead with his son.
Following a road, the man soon encountered the queen. She showed him Kalunga-ngombe, the lord of the underworld, and explained that he devours everyone in the end. She also pointed to a shadowy figure in chains—the spirit of Chief Kitamba, who was destined to die soon. Giving him a funerary bracelet as proof of his encounter, the queen sent the medicine man back, telling him that no one who entered Kalunga could ever leave and that he shouldn’t eat any of the food or speak of Kitamba’s impending death. Otherwise, he and his son would both be forced to stay in the underworld. When he returned, he presented the chief with the bracelet, and the chief confirmed that it was indeed that of Muhungu.