Role of African Mythology In Contemporary Culture

Role of African Mythology In Contemporary Culture

African mythology, with its vibrant tales and profound wisdom, has increasingly become a significant source of inspiration in contemporary art and literature. This rich heritage, rooted in the ancient stories of Africa, offers a vast canvas for creative expression. Interestingly, elements of these mythologies can be seen in various modern platforms, including popular games like the Gates of Olympus game, where mythological themes are beautifully interwoven into entertainment.

Understanding African mythology

Before delving into its influence on modern creativity, let’s first understand what African mythology encompasses. It’s a collection of myths, legends, and folk tales originating from different cultures across the African continent. These stories often explain natural phenomena, cultural traditions, and moral lessons, featuring gods, heroes, and mythical creatures unique to African culture.

  • Diverse cultural origins: African mythology comes from various ethnic groups like the Yoruba, Zulu, and Ashanti.
  • Rich storytelling tradition: Oral narratives have been a primary method of preserving these myths.
  • Symbolism and lessons: Many myths carry deep moral and philosophical meanings.

African mythology in contemporary art

African mythology has found a resonant voice in contemporary art. Artists draw from these ancient narratives, reinterpreting and reimagining them to reflect current themes and issues.

  • Visual art: African myths have inspired a range of visual artworks, from paintings to sculptures.
  • Performance art: Dance and theatre performances often incorporate mythological themes and characters.
  • Digital art: With the advent of digital platforms, African myths are being explored in new, innovative ways.

Influential artists and works

  • Yinka Shonibare: Known for his ‘African’ fabrics, Shonibare’s work often reflects post-colonial themes.
  • Wangechi Mutu: Her art blends mythology with discussions on gender and race.
  • Kehinde Wiley: Wiley’s portraits often fuse African mythological themes with contemporary subjects.

African mythology in literature

In literature, African mythology serves as a rich source of inspiration for storytelling, character development, and thematic exploration.

  • Novels and short stories: Authors incorporate mythological elements to create compelling narratives.
  • Poetry: Many poets use mythological references to convey deeper meanings and emotions.
  • Children’s books: African myths are often adapted to introduce young readers to these rich traditions.

Notable literary works

  • “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe: A novel that integrates Igbo myths into its narrative.
  • “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi: A fantasy novel inspired by Yoruba mythology.
  • “The Famished Road” by Ben Okri: A book that blends spirit child mythology with a contemporary setting.


African mythology in video games and virtual reality

The realm of video games and virtual reality (VR) has become a new frontier for the exploration and adaptation of African mythology, similar to how themes are woven into experiences like the Gates of Olympus game. This digital landscape offers an immersive platform for storytelling, allowing players to engage with African myths in a uniquely interactive way. Here, we examine how these ancient narratives are finding new life and interpretation through modern technology.

Immersive storytelling in video games

  • Narrative-driven games: Some video games use African mythological themes and characters to create rich, immersive narratives. Players often embark on quests that mirror mythological journeys, encountering gods, spirits, and mythical creatures from African lore.
  • Game design and aesthetics: The visual and auditory elements in these games often draw heavily from traditional African art and music, providing an authentic cultural experience.
  • Educational games: Certain games are designed not only for entertainment but also to educate players about African mythology and culture.

Virtual reality: A new dimension of mythology

  • VR experiences: VR technology allows for a more immersive exploration of African mythology. Users can find themselves in virtual landscapes inspired by the African continent, interacting with elements of these myths in a three-dimensional space.
  • Cultural preservation: VR also serves as a tool for cultural preservation, enabling users to experience mythological stories in a format that’s more engaging and accessible to younger generations.

Examples and innovations

  • Mythology-based VR tours: Some VR experiences offer virtual tours through historical sites or landscapes tied to African myths, providing an educational journey through time and space.
  • Interactive mythological characters: Advances in VR technology enable interactive experiences with characters from African mythology, offering a deeper understanding and connection to these stories.


Conclusion and further exploration

African mythology’s influence on contemporary art and literature is a testament to its enduring power and relevance. It not only enriches the global cultural landscape but also offers a window into the diverse and profound traditions of Africa. For those interested in exploring further, resources like Wikipedia provide extensive information on this fascinating topic.


  1. What is African mythology?
  • African mythology comprises the myths, legends, and folk tales from various cultures across Africa.
  1. How does African mythology influence contemporary art?
  • It inspires artists to create works that reflect modern themes using ancient narratives.
  1. Can you name a few contemporary artists influenced by African mythology?
  • Artists like Yinka Shonibare, Wangechi Mutu, and Kehinde Wiley have drawn inspiration from African myths.
  1. What role does African mythology play in literature?
  • It provides a rich backdrop for storytelling and thematic exploration in various literary genres.
  1. Are there any notable books inspired by African mythology?
  • Yes, books like “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe and “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi are inspired by African myths.