African Creation Myths

[These African Creation Myths were found at The Mining Company] 

The Ancient One, known as Unkulunkulu, is the Zulu creator. He came from the 
reeds (uthlanga, means source) and from them he brought forth the people and 
the cattle. He created everything that is: mountains,streams, snakes, etc. He 
taught the Zulu how to hunt, how to make fire, and how to grow food. He is 
considered to be the First Man and is in everything that he created. 

(Bantu tribe of Central Africa) In the beginning there was only darkness, 
water, and the great god Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomach ache, 
vomited up the sun. The sun dried up some of the water, leaving land. Still 
in pain, Bumba vomited up the moon, the stars, and then some animals: the 
leopard, the crocodile, the turtle, and, finally, some men, one of whom, Yoko 
Lima was white like Bumba. 

(Nigeria) The creator, Abassi, created two humans and then decided to not 
allow them to live on earth. His wife, Atai, persuaded him to let them do so. 
In order to control the humans, Abassi insisted that they eat all their meals 
with him, thereby keeping them from growing or hunting food. He also forbade 
them to procreate. Soon, though, the woman began growing food in the earth, 
and they stopped showing up to eat with Abassi. Then the man joined his wife 
in the fields, and before long there were children also. Abassi blamed his 
wife for the way things had turned out, but she told him she would handle it. 
She sent to earth death and discord to keep the people in their place. 

(Southern Nigeria) In the beginning there were two gods, Obassi Osaw and 
Obassi Nsi. The two gods created everything together. Then Obassi Osaw 
decided to live in the sky and Obassi Nsi decided to live on the earth. The 
god in the sky gives light and moisture, but also brings drought and storms. 
The god of the earth nurtures, and takes the people back to him when they 
die. One day long ago Obassi Osaw made a man and a woman, and placed them 
upon the earth. They knew nothing so Obassi Nsi taught them about planting 
and hunting to get food. 

(Bantu) In the beginning there was nothing but Nzame. This god is really 
three: Nzame, Mebere, and Nkwa. It was the Nzame part of the god that created 
the universe and the earth, and brought life to it. Whle the three parts of 
Nzame were admiring this creation, it was decided to create a ruler for the 
earth. So was created the elephant, the leopard, and the monkey, but it was 
decided that something better had to be created. Between the three of them 
they made a new creature in their image, and called him Fam (power), and told 
him to rule the earth. Before long, Fam grew arrogant, he mistreated the 
animals and stopped worshipping Nzame. Nzame, angered, brought forth thunder 
and lightning and destroyed everything that was, except Fam, who had been 
promised immortality. Nzame, in his three aspects, decided to renew the earth 
and try again. He applied a new layer of earth to the planet, and a tree grew 
upon it. The tree dropped seeds which grew into more trees. Leaves that 
dropped from them into the water became fish, those that dropped on land 
became animals. The old parched earth still lies below this new one, and if 
one digs deep enough it can be found in the form of coal. Nzame made a new 
man, one who would know death, and called him Sekume. Sekume fashioned a 
woman, Mbongwe, from a tree. These people were made with both Gnoul (body) 
and Nissim (soul). Nissim gives life to Gnoul. When Gnoul dies, Nissim lives 
on. They produced many children and prospered. 

                 Unumbotte made a human being. Its name was Man. Unumbotte next made an
                antelope, named Antelope. Unumbotte made a snake, named Snake. At the time
                these three were made there were no trees but one a palm. Nor
                had the earth been pounded smooth. All three were sitting on the rough
                ground, and Unumbotte said to them: "The earth has not yet been pounded. You
                must pound the ground smooth where you are sitting." Unumbotte gave them
                seeds of all kinds, and said: "Go plant these.'' Then Unumbotte went away.
                Unumbotte came back. He saw that the three had not yet pounded the earth.
                had, however, planted the seeds. One of the seeds had sprouted and grown. It
                was a tree. It had grown tall and was bearing fruit, red fruit. Every seven
                days Unumbotte would return and pluck one of the red fruits.
                 One day Snake said: "We too should eat these fruits. Why must we go
                hungry?" Antelope said: "But we don't know anything about this fruit." Then
                Man and his wife took some of the fruit and ate it. Unumbotte came
                down from the sky and asked: "Who ate the fruit?" They answered: "We did."
                Unumbotte asked: "Who told you that you could eat that fruit?" They replied:
                "Snake did . " Unumbotte asked: "Why did you listen to Snake?" They
                said: "We were hungry." Unumbotte questioned Antelope: "Are you hungry,
                too?" Antelope said: "Yes, I get hungry. I like to eat grass." Since then,
                Antelope has lived in the wild, eating grass.
                 Unumbotte then gave sorghum to Man, also yams and millet. And the people
                gathered in eating groups that would always eat from the same bowl, never
                the bowls of the other groups it was from this that differences in language
                arose. And ever since then, the
                people have ruled the land.
                 But Snake was given by Unumbotte a medicine with which to bite people.