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African Myths and Legends

The noble Mantis of Bushman mythology

The First Bushman Water in a desert country is so precious that for those who depend on it, it can assume divine properties. To the Bushman water is the ancient symbol of life. In it he can revitalize himself an make a fresh start. His legendary hero, Mantis, appears at the time of the beginning...

Weeping Willows

There were ten beautiful girls belonging to one family. One day, while they were playing together in the river .....

The Rain Bull

There was drought upon the land. The clouds that carried the rain sailed high above, not seeming to notice the suffering of Africa....

Seven Magic Birds

There was once so they say a Zulu chief who sat day after day gazing sadly into the distance.

Introduction to the stories of Africa

Stories from Africa is a page of stories sourced from a number of indigenous people and publications. The African culture is peppered with raconteurs and praise singers, seeping the hills and valleys in colourful oratory and spoken words captivating for ever the hidden mysteries of South and Southern Africa This page has been added because...

Mapandangare, the Great Baboon

Once upon a time, there was a girl, who had no father and no mother. But they left her all their cattle, their, sheep and their goats. But the girl had no one to help her look after them. So she said, “Well – what can I do? I must let the sheep and the...

The Lion on the path

Once upon a time there was a man and his wife and they were working together in their fields. And the wife she turned to her husband and said, “Please”, she said, “I want to go and see my mother” And he said, “What! Again?” “Yes”, she said, “It’s very important” “All right”, he said....

The Snake who bit a girl

Once upon a time there was a snake who bit a girl and the men of the village were very angry. So they chased him and chased him; and they chased him all the way down to the river. Now, there was a man in a boat, and the snake said, “Quick! Take me across...

The AmaXhosa

The stories here are a few among a long list of stories told by mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grand fathers to their sons and daughters as the traditional, oral history of the tribe. This practice started a long, long time before the advent of the written word. These stories were and are told in...

The Bushmen, San or !Kung

Introducing the Bushmen also know as the San or !Kung people On religion: Kung, like the Bushmen as a whole, are traditional tribal religionists and very close to Christianity. They believe the celestial bodies (sun, moon, morning star, and the southern cross) are symbols of divinity. They believe the praying mantis is a divine messenger...

The Wagtails Necklace

Bushman story of how the wagtail got its necklace. The Wagtail is one of our prettiest and most delicate birds, which has lived alongside man for many generations. The gentle Bushmen loved this bird too.  The friendship began long ago when the Bushmen lived in the Cape in low caves with rocky walls and sandy...

Sun, Moon and Stars in the night sky

There are many stories told of the sun, moon and stars. Some stories say that the Sun was once a man from whose armpits shone rays of light. He dwelt alone in a hut and his light shone only for himself. Some children belonging to the first Bushmen were sent to throw the sleeping Sun...

God and the After Life

The Bushman’s god is nothing other than the unseen but all-encompassing prescence of the wilderness and the vast sky and mountain. They prayed occasionlly to the Sun or the Moon and the Stars, but they could give no explanation as to why they did this. Sometimes they called this prescence ‘Kaang’ or ‘Cagn’ and not...

Bushmen Rock art and painting

A short introduction to the Rock art of southern Africa. Rock Painting There are over 15 000 sites in Southern Africa where such paintings have been found. The oldest in Namibia maybe as old as 27 000 years,though most were probably painted within the last 2 000 years. the Kloofs of the Cape Mountains. The...

Stories of the Khoikhoi

“O Heitsi-Eibib Hail! Our forefather, Send luck to me. Give into my hand the wild game. Let me find honeycomb and sweet roots And I will sing your praise. Are you not our Father’s father You, Heitsi-Eibib? (T. Hahn, The native tribes of S.W. Africa.) The Khoikhoi It is said that the Khoikhoi, probably originated...

Legends of the Cape of Good Hope

Stories from the Cape of Good Hope or the infamous Cape of Storms The Cape of Storms No one who has seen the vast and mysterious-looking bulk of Table Mountain looming up out of the ocean as their ship draws slowly through the dawn towards the southernmost tip of Africa could fail to be awed...

Stories of the Karoo

The Great Karoo The Spectral Hitchhiker From the distant dark days of Jan Prinsloo to the modern age of motorbikes and tarred highways seems a great jump, but the mysterious atmosphere of the Little Karoo is unchanging. Not far from Uniondale on the national road, there is a turn-off that leads to Barandas. Here no...