African Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition by Patricia Ann Lynch, Jeremy Roberts

By Patricia Ann Lynch, Jeremy Roberts

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Aiwel became known by the name of the ox—Aiwel Longar. He took over the herd of cattle that had belonged to his mother’s husband. During a period of drought and famine, all the villagers’ cattle became thin and started to die except those belonging to Aiwel Longar. His cattle remained fat and healthy. Some young men spied on him to find out his secret. They saw that when Aiwel touched the ground, grass and water sprang up. When the young men reported what they had seen, they died. Aiwel told the villagers they should all leave to escape the famine.

As the personification of the Earth, Ama ruled Kindo, the underworld, from which all living things came and to which they returned after death. Ama was compared to a potter. Much as a potter builds up a pot with strips of clay, Ama created the human body by building it up bone by bone. When Ama finished creating a human, Chido descended to Earth and breathed life into the person’s body. ) When Ama created crops to nourish humans, Chido sent the rain and made the crops ripen. ) For the Dogon, the universe was centered on a world axis pillar called Amma’s House Post.

In the beginning, there was just formless space in which Orisa-nla and Atunda lived. One day, while Orisa-nla was working in a hillside garden, Atunda rebelled against the Creator. He rolled a huge boulder down the slope. When the boulder struck Orisa-nla, he shattered into hundreds of fragments. Each fragment became an orisa, part of the Yoruba pantheon of gods and goddesses. Azõ See Sagbata. B 8 Baatsi Mbuti (Democratic animals, Mbombo banished it to live in the sky. Mbombo taught the man and woman to make fire by rubbing branches together to spark a flame.

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