Cover image for African myths of origin
African myths of origin
Belcher, Stephen Paterson, 1953-
Publication Information:
London : Penguin, 2005.
Physical Description:
xxviii, 511 pages : maps ; 20 cm.
Some general themes: Stories about hunters -- Cattle-herders -- Tricksters ; Stories of kingdoms and peoples: Ancient Africa -- Peoples of the Upper Nile and East Africa -- Kingdoms of the Great Lakes -- Central East Africa -- Peoples of Southern Africa -- Central Atlantic -- From the forest to the Niger -- Peoples of the coast -- Mossi Plateau -- Lake Chad and the Central Sudan -- Kingdoms of the Western Sudan -- Peoples of Senegambia -- Sahara.
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BL2400 .B35 2005 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Gathering a wide range of traditional African myths, this compelling new collection offers tales of heroes battling mighty serpents and monstrous birds, brutal family conflict and vengeance, and desperate migrations across vast and alien lands. From impassioned descriptions of animal-creators to dramatic stories of communities forced to flee monstrous crocodiles, all the narratives found here concern origins - whether of the universe, peoples or families. Together, they create a kaleidoscopic picture of the rich and varied oral traditions that have shaped the culture and society of successive generations of Africans for thousands of years, throughout the long struggle to survive and explore this massive and environmentally diverse continent.

Author Notes

Stephen Belcher was born in Cairo, Egypt, and spent much of his childhood in Africa and Europe. He holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Brown University and has taught in the history department at Pennsylvania State University. He is the co-editor (with John W. Johnson and Thomas Hale) of Voices from a Vast Continent: Oral Epics from Africa , and the author of Epic Traditions of Africa . He is currently teaching at the University of Kankan in the Republic of Guinea.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
A Note on the Textp. xxvii
List of Mapsp. xxix
Part I Some General Themes
Stories About Hunters
1 The San Peoples of Southern Africap. 6
2 Pygmies of the Central African Forestsp. 18
3 The Songhay Hunters of the Niger Riverp. 21
4 The Origin of Hunters' Associations: Sanen and Kontron of the Mandenp. 34
5 How Hunters Learned about Magicp. 38
6 The Animal Bride I: The Changed Skinp. 40
7 The Animal Bride II: Sirankomip. 42
The Cattle-Herders
8 Khoi-Khoi Cattle Storiesp. 51
9 Fulbe Stories of Cattlep. 53
10 The Maasai of East Africap. 59
11 The Great Lakes I: The Origin of Cattle (Rwanda)p. 64
12 The Great Lakes II: The Story of Wamara (BaHaya)p. 66
13 The Chagga of East Africa: Murilep. 69
14 Uthlakanyana, the Zulu Child Tricksterp. 75
15 Stories of Moni-Mambu of the BaKongop. 82
16 Ture, the Zande Tricksterp. 88
17 Eshu of the Yorubap. 97
18 Legba of the Fonp. 100
19 Ananse the Spider, of the Ashantip. 104
Part II Stories of Kingdoms and Peoples
Ancient Africa
20 Egyptian Storiesp. 120
21 Ethiopiap. 136
Peoples of the Upper Nile and East Africa
22 The Oromo of Southern Ethiopiap. 143
23 The Shilluk of Southern Sudanp. 150
24 The Luo of Sudan and Ugandap. 153
25 The Gikuyu of Kenyap. 159
26 The Swahili of the Coastp. 162
Kingdoms of the Great Lakes
27 The Kingdom of Bunyorop. 170
28 The Kingdom of Bugandap. 176
29 The Kingdom of Rwandap. 182
30 The Kingdom of Burundip. 192
Central East Africa
31 Nsong's Lianja, Hero of the Mongop. 196
32 The Kuba Kingdom of the Bushoong: Mboom and Wootp. 215
33 The First Kings of the Lubap. 219
34 The Kingdoms of the Lundap. 223
35 The Bemba of Zambiap. 233
The Peoples of Southern Africa
36 The Shona of Zimbabwep. 239
37 The Nguni Peoples of Southern Africa: Zulu, Xhosa, Swazip. 244
38 The Khoi-Khoi: Stories of Heitsi-Eibibp. 248
The Central Atlantic
39 The Yaka of the Kwango Riverp. 254
40 The Kingdom of Kongop. 257
41 The Fang of Gabon and Cameroonp. 261
42 Jeki la Njambe of the Dualap. 268
43 The Bamun Kingdom of Cameroonp. 282
From the Forest to the Niger
44 The Igbop. 286
45 The Kingdom of the Nupe: Tsoedep. 290
46 The Jukun Kingdom of the Kororofap. 292
47 The Bachama and Bata of the Upper Benuep. 298
The Peoples of the Coast
48 The city of Beninp. 304
49 The Yoruba of South-western Nigeriap. 308
50 Borgu and the Legend of Kisrap. 318
51 The Fon and the Kingdom of Dahomeyp. 320
52 The Akan-Ashanti and the Baule of the Forestp. 326
The Mossi Plateau
53 The Founding of Gonjap. 333
54 A Dagomba Herop. 334
55 The Mossi of Burkina Fasop. 338
56 The Dogon of the Bandiagara Escarpmentp. 341
Lake Chad and the Central Sudan
57 The Sara and the Sow of Lake Chadp. 348
58 The Kingdom of Bagirmip. 357
59 The Kingdoms of Kanem and Bornup. 359
60 The Hausap. 365
The Kingdoms of the Western Sudan
61 The Songhay Peoples of the Middle Nigerp. 371
62 The City of Djennep. 382
63 The Soninkep. 385
64 The Maninka and the Empire of Malip. 392
65 The Bamana of the Middle Nigerp. 413
The Peoples of Senegambia
66 The Mandinka of Senegambiap. 423
67 The Sereer of Senegalp. 428
68 Njaajaan Njaay and the Wolofp. 433
69 The Futa Toorop. 436
70 Malick Sy and Bondup. 441
The Sahara
71 The Tuareg of the Saharap. 446
Sources and Further Readingp. 457
Indexp. 493