African Mythology Gods and Goddesses list – Creation Myths, Examples, Stories and Creatures

The mythology of Africa is the collection of myths, gods, goddesses, stories, legendary beings, books, culture, folklore and mythical creatures that appear in African mythologies.


The mythology of Africa Definition and examples

African Mythology is a blend of myths, gods and stories of different culture of Africa. Most of the themes relating to animals and especially tricksters.

Gods of different elements have been appointed as in the tradition in Africa.  African myths are credited for most happenings in their part of the world and revered as deities to be worshiped.

Check also for the Best African Myths Books that cover this topic.

African Myths carry over from instances in the past. An african myth represent the traditions of the african culture, religion and are fables to amuse or beware people.

Africa is home to a versatile and eclectic group of black people, spread out through the continent. Each with their own beliefs and customs, their own languages and way of life.

With the Southern and west Africa cut off from the world throughout an extended period in history. Their beliefs are more deep rooted and the myths are an active part of their life, even today. They received influence from a wide variety of religions, such as Christianity and Islam, as well as people.

african mythology


Now we will mention some examples of the mythology of Africa.


African Creation Myths

The Creation of the World mythology

Many African tribes hold true to the idea that Amma. A supreme god mated with the Earth to produce an egg. A cosmic one at that, from which the twin Nummo gods hatched and created the universe. Another belief is that Amma created the cosmic egg. It rise to the entire world.

Then there are those who believe that a snake is responsible for the advent of the Earth. One that forms the rainbow as it spans across the sky. Another myth revolves around Bumba, the supreme God. He in the grips of great pain, retched and vomited up the entire universe and the human race.


The Creation of Mankind

One tradition surrounding the creation of the humans in Africa is that Juok, the creator, meandered around the world and fashioned mankind out of clay, using material of different color from the various areas he visited. By calling out the different attributes he wished to see, he molded the men into perfect beings.

The Shilluks believe that the colors of the races are from the types of sand and clay he used to mold man. Another story cites that the son of the sun (Lisa) and the moon (Mawu) sent their son, Gu, down to Earth in preparation for the people and he taught them the essentials of growing their own food and building shelter.

the creation of the world in african myths

The Creation of Death mythology

The African mythology myth is that the gods meant for humans to be immortal. Also that death was introduced when the wrath of the gods was incurred. Either by the animals or the people by some unlucky mistake.

Nuer people blame a hyena to severed the rope that linked heaven and Earth. While the Dinkas tell of a women who in her greed hit the god with her hoe. Who in a fit of anger cut this rope.

The people of Luyia relate that a chameleon placed the curse of death on the people when a man refused to give it food. Another tale of the chameleon is that it was to deliver the news of eternal life to the people. But a lizard arrived first and told the people of death instead.


The Afterlife 

The Africans mythologies do have faith in life after death. Also maintain that human spirits persist even in death. Griots tell that these spirits inhabit an underworld where the order of events is alternate to the real world. Folklore also has it that the dead spirits remain with the relatives and offer protection.

They are worshipped and kept alive in the parables and legends. In respect, the people of Zulu also hold ceremonies to transfer the soul of the dead into a newborn baby.

Snakes are respected in the African continent. It is because they believe the dead to come back to life in other forms such as snakes. Some also believe the dead to become stars that illuminate the night sky.


The Trickster 

Many fables of the trickster have also been featured in the African parables. He take on different forms, either human, god or animal, and has been told to wreak havoc by starting quarrels and through his pranks.
For the people of Yoruba, Eshu the trickster is an unscrupulous and sly prankster. At times he serves as a messenger between the people and the supreme gods. A lore has it that Eshu was relegated to playing the messenger when he played a prank on the High God of the sky suggesting that he was a thief.
As punishment, the god had the trickster relay details about the happenings on Earth every night. Known to cause disputes. Many stories tell of the trickster causing confusion and arguments among family and friends. And in one such tale, he changes the places of the sun and the moon, disturbing the cosmic order and balance in the process. As an animal, the trickster is referred to being innocuous and yet cunning enough to outwit others.
Tortoises, Hares and many other animals are implicated to be the tricksters. Anansi the spider is the most mischievous form of the trickster. It is known to be unpredictable and cruel to fulfill his own purposes. Many of the tales were brought by the slaves to Africa, who were kept under the termagant rule of the Americans.
But, some of the folk stories portray the trickster as a helping creature. The Bushmen of the Saan people tell of a praying mantis who gifted them with fire and words. And the people of Mali tell of an antelope that skilled them in agriculture.

african boy painted face

Legends hold rulers and heroes in a divine light and as can be garnered from the myths, Africans twins are sacred. They appear in many of their tales and represent balance and dualism.

The sun and the moon twins, Mawu and Lisa, as mentioned before are exalted spirits who are the parents of all other gods.
The Africans, mainly in the Ibo area, also hold to the faith that certain signs are given by the gods as a guiding light. Ala, a goddess, is said to signal where the priest should establish a Mbari, a place of worship for them.


Main Gods and Goddesses in African Mythology

This is the list of the main deities, gods and goddesses:

  • Abonsam
  • Achimi
  • Adroa
  • Akongo
  • Alatangana
  • Amadioha
  • Anansi
  • Bacax
  • Beher
  • Bomazi
  • Brekyirihunuade
  • Cghene
  • Denka
  • Ibini Ukpabi
  • Itherther
  • Maher
  • Mukuru
  • Mulungu
  • Ngai
  • Nyame
  • Ogbunabali
  • Osebo
  • Qamata
  • Tongnaab
  • Unumbotte
  • Waaq
  • Xamaba
  • Zamba


African Mythological Creatures

The African Mythological Creatures are a series of animals and monsters that have been popular in Africa. They have been given a rich history and folklore, and their mythology has been passed down through generations.

The creatures are believed to be real, although they are often portrayed as imaginary by the people who created them. These stories were passed down through the generations, and they have influenced both the way Africans see themselves today as well as the way they view their neighbors.

Some of the most important east, west and south africa mythical creatures and beings list:

  • Tikoloshe: Tikoloshe can be found in the wilds of Africa. It is believed to be an ancestor of all mammals that are now extinct. The Tikoloshe was once the largest land animal in Africa until it was hunted to extinction by humans.
  • Inkanyamba: Inkanyamba is one of the most mysterious creatures in Africa. It has been a source of many legends and myths.
  • Grootslang: The Grootslang is a type of snake that has a very long and slender body.
  • Lightning bird: The lightning bird is a unique creature that has been described in the literature since the 19th century. In fact, it has been mentioned in several scientific studies. But it is not clear why this species exists, how they reproduce and how they interact with other animals.
  • Emela‑ntouka: the Emela-ntouka, an African animal that has been described as a “creature of the night”. It is known to be a nocturnal animal and it has been observed in several parts of Africa.
  • Ilomba: Illomba is a mythical creature found in Africa. It is said to be a ferocious and dangerous beast that has the ability to swallow up its enemies.
  • Yumboes: The yumboes are a type of African creature that is found in the rainforests of Africa. They are very large and have a long neck. They have four legs and two arms. The arms are used to carry food and the legs to walk on the ground.
  • Kongamato: It is a large, bipedal reptile with a long neck and tail. Kongamato is said to be the most intelligent animal on earth. It can speak, read, write and even think for itself.
  • Adze: The adze is a large, long-necked, quadrupedal reptile that is native to Africa. It has a long tail and a short neck. The adze is the largest of all living reptiles. It has been estimated that there are over 100 species of adzes in Africa alone.
  • Impundulu: a cross between a crocodile and an alligator. It is said to be able to swim, fly, and even walk on land. It is also said to have the ability to communicate with humans through its voice
  • Ninki Nanka: It is a large, bipedal reptile with a long neck and tail. It has two large eyes and four small ones on the top of its head. The ninki nanka has no teeth, but it can bite with its powerful jaws.


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