African Myths of Origin

African Myths of Origin

Introduction by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140449457
  • 544 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Gathering a wide range of traditional African myths, this compelling new collection offers tales of heroes battling mighty serpents and monstrous birds, brutal family conflict and vengeance, and desperate migrations across vast and alien lands. From accounts of the inventive wiles of animal-creators and a community forced to flee a giant crocodile to the heroic story of the cripple Sunjata who rose to found an empire, all the narratives here concern origins. They offer a kaleidoscopic picture representative of the rich cultures and societies of the African continent: the ways of life, the peoples—from small hunting bands to great empires—and the states that have taken shape over many generations and environments.

  • First time in Penguin Classics
  • Stories span the centuries and range across the entire continent, from ancient Egypt and Ethiopia through the Sahara to Zimbabwe
  • Includes individual prefaces to each section, putting the stories in their geographical and social context; maps; suggestions for further reading, and an index of people, places, and themes

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
List of Maps

Part I. Some General Themes
Stories About Hunters

1. The San Peoples of Southern Africa
2. Pygmies of The Central African Forests
3. The Songhay Hunters of the Niger River
4. The Origin of Hunters’ Associations: Sanen and Kontron of the Manden
5. How Hunters Learned about Magic
6. The Animal Bride I: The Changed Skin
7. The Animal Bride II: Sirankomi
The Cattle-Herders
8. Khoi-Khoi Cattle Stories
9. Fulbe Stories of Cattle
10. The Maasai of East Africa
11. The Great Lakes I: The Origin of Cattle (Rwanda)
12. The Great Lakes II: The Story of Wamara (BaHaya)
13. The Chagga of East Africa: Murile
14. Uthlakanyana, the Zulu Child Trickster
15. Stories of Moni-Mambu of the BaKongo
16. Ture, the Zande Trickster
17. Eshu of the Yoruba
18. Legba of the Fon
19. Ananse the Spider, of the Ashanti
Part II. Stories of Kingdoms and Peoples
Ancient Africa

20. Egyptian Stories
21. Ethiopia
Peoples of the Upper Nile and East Africa
22. The Oromo of Southern Ethiopia
23. The Shilluk of Southern Sudan
24. The Luo of Sudan and Uganda
25. The Gikuyu of Kenya
26. The Swahili of the Coast
Kingdoms of the Great Lakes
27. The Kingdom of Bunyoro
28. The Kingdom of Buganda
29. The Kingdom of Rwanda
30. The Kingdom of Burundi
Central East Africa
31. Nsong’a Lianja, Hero of the Mongo
32. The Kuba Kingdom of the Bushoong: Mboom and Woot
33. The First Kings of the Luba
34. The Kingdoms of the Lunda
35. The Bemba of Zambia
The Peoples of Southern Africa
36. The Shona of Zimbabwe
37. The Nguni Peoples of Southern Africa: Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi
38. The Khoi-Khoi: Stories of Heitsi-Eibib
The Central Atlantic
39. The Yaka of the Kwango River
40. The Kingdom of Kongo
41. The Fang of Gabon and Cameroon
42. Jeki la Njambe of the Duala
43. The Bamun Kingdom of Cameroon
From the Forest to the Niger
44. The Igbo
45. The Kingdom of the Nupe: Tsoede
46. The Jukun Kingdom of the Kororofa
47. The Bachana and Bata of the Upper Benue
The Peoples of the Coast
48. The City of Benin
49. The Yoruba of South-western Nigeria
50. Borgu and the Legend of Kisra
51. The Fon and the Kingdom of Dahomey
52. The Akan-Ashanti and the Baule of the Forest
The Mossi Plateau
53. The Founding of Gonja
54. A Dagomba Hero
55. The Mossi of Burkina Faso
56. The Dogon of the Bandiagara Escarpment
Lake Chad and the Central Sudan
57. The Sara and Sow of Lake Chad
58. The Kingdom of Bagirmi
59. The Kingdoms of Kanem and Bornu
60. The Hausa
The Kingdoms of the Western Sudan
61. The Songhay Peoples of the Middle Niger
62. The City of Djenne
63. The Soninke
64. The Maninka and the Empire of Mali
65. The Bamana of the Middle Niger
The Peoples of Senegambia
66. The Mandinka of Senegambia
67. The Sereer of Senegal
68. Njaajaan Njaay and the Wolof
69. The Futa Tooro
70. Malick Sy and Bondu
71. The Tuareg of the Sahara
Sources and Further Reading

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