African Gods, Deities, and Spirits. Prof. Cindy Ann Nieves 12 Grade English Course Metropolis High School 10/17/2012. Ala. People and Region: Ibo, Nigeria Role: mother goddess, ruler of the underworld, goddess of fertility, guardian of the harvest.
Prof. Cindy Ann Nieves
Metropolis High School
People and Region: Ibo, Nigeria
Role: mother goddess, ruler of the underworld, goddess of fertility, guardian of the harvest.
The daughter of the great god Chuku. According to Ibo beliefs, Ala makes a child grow within its mother's womb. She remains near and watches over the child as the child grows into an adult. Later when the individual dies, Ala receives him or her into her womb, known as the pocket of Ala.
The goddess is also a lawgiver who shows people how to live a good life. Her laws emphasize moral values such as honesty.
People and Region: Dogon, Mali
Role: Supreme god
Amma created a "cosmic egg," which was the source of the universe. The egg vibrated and then opened to reveal a creator spirit. The spirit fell to earth, followed by a female twin and four more pairs of creator spirits. These spirits made the sky and world, the seasons, day and night, and human society.
In another version of this myth, Amma made the stars, the sun, and the moon. Then he became lonely and mated with the earth. This union produced divine twins called the Nummo—one male, one female—who represented water and light.
The twins were born with the power of speech, which they gave to the earth. Next, Amma created man and woman. They had four more pairs of twins, who were the ancestors of the Dogon people.
People and Region: Ashanti and Akan, Ghana
Role: creator god associated with the sun and moon.
He is called "king of the Lozi people" and it is said that he was a maker of animals, forests and birds.
Nyame is portrayed as a benevolent god, if sometime aloof and distant. The sun is his right eye, which he open during the day, while the moon is his left eye.
One of Nyame's creations was Kamunu, the first human being. Nyame gave Kamunu the task of naming all the other creations
People and Region: Yoruba, Nigeria
Role: trickster and messenger god.
He is unpredictable, sly, and fond of pranks that can be cruel and disruptive. Eshu, who knows all the languages spoken on earth, serves as a messenger between the gods and people. He also carries up to heaven the sacrifices that people offer to the gods.
People and Region: Buganda, East Africa
Role: war god
According to legend, the king of the Buganda asked Kibuka's brother, the great god Mukasa, for assistance in a war. Mukasa sent Kibuka to help but told him to be sure the enemy did not know where he was stationed. He also warned his brother to avoid contact with the opponent's women.
On one occasion, Kibuka stayed hidden in a cloud, where he killed the enemy by shooting arrows, winning the battle for the Buganda. Afterward, Kibuka became interested in a woman taken as a prisoner and took her back to his hut. When she discovered who he was, she escaped and told her people about his hiding place in the cloud. During the next battle, the enemy's archers shot arrows into the cloud where Kibuka was hiding and killed him.
People and Region: Lovedu, South Africa
Role: rain goddess
The mythology of the Lovedu people of South Africa includes a series of deities known as Mujaji. They are rain queens who send drought to their enemies but cause rain to fall on their people.
The original Mujaji, sometimes called Mujaji I, lived in isolation and was considered both wise and immortal. She mated with her father, Mugodo, and gave birth to Mujaji II, who succeeded her mother as queen.
People and Region: Yoruba, West Africa
Role: god of war and iron
Ogun and the other gods climbed down to earth on a spider web. When creation was completed, the gods realized that people needed to clear more land in the forest where they lived.
Unfortunately, the only tools available were made of soft metal, a material not suitable for cutting down trees. However, Ogun had been given the secret of iron by Orunmila, son of the supreme god Olorun, and he used an iron ax to clear the forest.
Ogun later shared the secret of iron with the other gods and with humans. He also showed them how to shape the iron into weapons.