Concept of Lightening


Many in Africa conceive lightening as caused by some bird. The Baziba (Tanzania) believe it comes from the glittering plumage of small scarlet birds that breed among the rocks south of Lake Victoria. They say these birds are sent by the storm god Kayura and the beating of their wings causes thunder. (This same concept is found in South American mythology, see Tupan.) The Ndebele (Rhodesia) identify lightening with the white-neck fish eagle, while the Baronga (S. Africa) relate it to the hawk. These people believe that when striking earth lightening bird lays eggs, which must be found and destroyed at once, else the bird will return to fetch them, bringing disaster in its wake. A.G.H.


Savil, Sheila. Pears Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends. “Western and Northern Europe, Central and Southern Africa.” London. Pelham Books Ltd. 1977. p. 156