Creatures From African Mythology & Fantasy
Growing up I remember all sorts of fascinating and terrifying stories involving creatures from the world of African mythology told to me by my Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles.
As I grew older, I also read a lot of Novels in my mother tongue which would take me deep into the fantasy world of Witches, Wizards, Spirits, Villains and Noble Heroes of Pre-Colonial Africa.
Sadly, in the modern era, the Art of the African Native Tongue Novel is a dying Artform, but the memories still linger, and so today we explore some of the creatures from African mythology.
First up is the Kishi from Angola which takes the shape of an attractive man who seduces women before devouring them with the Hyena face on the back of his head.
From Zulu Mythology we have the Tokoloshe, a gremlin like creature.
It is usually dispatched to cause distress to one’s enemies resulting in illness, fear and sometimes death.
There are stories of countless Tokoloshe encounters but what makes Tokoloshe particularly scary is their ability make themselves invisible while they inflict a beating.
The best modern day analogy of a Tokoloshe is Gollum from Lord Of The Rings.
The Impundulu or Lightning Bird is also from South African folklore.
Reportedly as large as a man, it has the power to summon storms and lightning.
It can also shape shift and reportedly drinks human blood while its eggs are said to have healing powers.
African mythology also has its own types of Werewolves called Werehyenas.
Werehyenas are part of Ethopian mythology where its believed that Blacksmiths in particular are Wizards that can transform into Hyenas.
Last but not least are the Njuzu or Mermaids of Zimbabwe.
Njuzu are regarded as messengers of the Ancestors and are actually not Black but are European women who have made their home in the river’s big and darkest pools.
According to African mythology, the Njuzu are how Black and White people are related in the Spiritual world.
Njuzu are known to kidnap or possess people at the river’s edge in order to impart traditional healing knowledge using herbal medicines as well as to pass on Clairvoyant abilities.
Whenever a person is taken or possessed by a Njuzu, the people do not cry but instead brew beer and play traditional music to appease the Njuzu. Usually the person returns after a few weeks possessing some extraordinary supernatural power they did not have before.
In Indaba My Children, African Spiritualist, Teacher and Healer, Dr Credo Mutwa provides a collection of African mythological stories that are even more precious today because African mythos is a declining presence in modern Literature.
We are truly grateful for Dr Credo Mutwa for the legacy of this priceless work, and may his soul rest in peace.
In the modern era, Afrofuturism appears to be one of the best means of transmitting African mythos to the next generation, and the task is now upon us to mine the legacy of African mythos in Literature and Oral Tradition so as to preserve and transmit it to the next generation.