Afrikana Gods

Almost all African people believed in a supreme god who created the universe and all within it; this belief pre-dated the infiltration of the Christian or Islamic religions. This does not mean they believed in a monotheistic faith, for this supreme god had many under-gods. This deity was personalized in their individual mythologies, usually as a bi-sexual or non-sexual being, father and mother of all creatures and creator of every detail of earth.

African mythology covers a very large area. There are so many regions, languages, tribes, cultures and imperialist crossovers that the sheer diversity of prevailing Gods would seem overwhelming if they didn't follow a set of familiar themes. African Creator Gods seem to follow a distinctive pattern, they are all extremely dissatisfied with their creations. There is much shaking of heads, turning away in sorrow and avoidance of contact. The poor humans are mostly left to fend for themselves. Attempts to regain contact with the Gods by building a heavenly ladder are the subject of many an unhappy legend. This sense of Godly disappointment can't have done much for the average African culture's ego. But while the major Gods sit in Heaven wringing their hands in despair, the lesser Gods and nature spirits are very willing to take an active part in Earthly life. These are mostly into hunting and other practical subjects - with food, sex and booze as popular as always. 

There is a remarkable innocence about the Gods of Africa. They seem naive and unworldly, believing the best of everyone and optimistically giving the benefit of the doubt to all and sundry. No wonder they are rudely disappointed when it turns out their badly-chosen favourites are up to no good. Even communicating with their creation is full of problems. Vital messages of life and death are entrusted to whichever farmyard animal happens to be passing, and the resulting garble is likely to have profoundly unforeseen and usually disastrous consequences.



Some Afrikan Gods;

Abassi - (Nigeria) Efik tribe's creator of the world.

Abuk - The first woman, according to the Dinka people of Africa. She is the patron goddess of women and gardens. Her emblem is a little snake.

Adu Ogyinae - (Ashanti) The first man. He was the leader of the seven men, some women, a dog and a leopard who were the first beings to come to the surface of the earth from holes in the ground.

Agé - (Dahomean) Worshipped by hunters; in charge of uninhabited bush and the animals therein.

Agwe - In Benin, she is the mother of the sea. She is affectionate and nurturing to humans who honor her.

Aida Wedo - In Benin and Haiti she is the snake companion to Damballah-Wedo, the most popular god, who is also in snake form.

Aje Yoruba - goddess of wealth in all its forms.

Ajok - Chief god of the Sudanese Lotuko.

Akonadi - An oracle goddess of justice in Ghana.

Akongo - Chief deity of the Ngombe in the Congo.

Akuj - Chief deity of the Akuj in the Congo.

Ala - Earth mother of the Ibo tribe in Nigeria. She is creator of the living, queen of the dead, and goddess of fertility.

Amma - (Dogon) The supreme god who created the sun and moon. He tried to mate with the female earth but his passage was barred by a red termite hill. This had to be cut away before he could successfully mate with the earth. This myth is supposedly the justification for female circumcision, which is practiced by the Dogon as well as other peoples of Africa.

Anansi - Trickster spider of West Africa, considered the creator's chief official, and a hero of many tales.

Asase Yaa Ghanian - creator of humanity, and wife of Nyame. She was also the mother of the gods.

Ashiakle Ghanian - (Africa) goddess of wealth, and of the sea.

Ayaba - (Dahomean) Sister of Loko; goddess of the hearth.

Aziri - The goddess of possessions.

Baatsi - (Zaire) The first man, made by the Creator out of clay, which he covered with skin and filled with blood. Then was made a woman, name unknown, with whom Baatsi was commanded to make children.

Bayanni - (Yoruba) Sister of Shango. She was sacrificed to make her younger brother, Shango, a stronger god.

Bele Alua - (Ghana) A tree goddess.

Bomo Rambi - (Zimbabwe) A moon goddess.

Bosumabla - (Ghana) A sea goddess. One of the minor deities.

Buk - (Sudan) Goddess of rivers and streams, and the source of life. Mother of Deng, Candit, and Nyaliep.

Buku - God/Goddess of the sky in West Africa.

Bumba - (Boshongo/Bantu) Creator god. In the beginning only he existed. Then, smitten with stomach cramps, he spat out the sun, the moon, and living creatures (mankind was the last of these).

Bunzi - (Zaire) A rain goddess, depicted as a rainbow-colored snake. She took over her mother's duties as rain goddess when her mother was killed.

Buruku - (Ghana) Creator goddess. She is associated with the moon. (Sometimes considered a male.)

Cagn - (Mantis) (Bushmen of Africa) The creator, who with his wife, Coti, made everything. They had two sons: Cogaz and Gewi.

Candit - (Sudan) Goddess of streams.

Cghene - (Nigeria) Supreme deity of the Isoko tribe. Considered to be the creator and father of all.

Dan - (Fon) God of unity. He was the son of the twins Lisa and Mahu.

Deng - (Dinka) God of rain, whose club is lightning. The divine ancestor of the Dinka peoples.

Domfe - (Kurumba) The god of rain and wind.

Dongo - (Songhoi) God of thunder.

Edinkira - (Africa) A tree goddess.

Efé - (Pygmy) The first man.

Egungun-oya - (Africa) Another form of the Yoruba goddess of divination.

Eka Abassi - (Africa) The creator of life. Her son, and consort, was Obumo, god of thunder and rain.

Enekpe - (Africa) Goddess of the family and guardian of destiny. One story relates that when she saw that her tribe was losing a battle, she offered herself as a sacrifice to save her people, and was buried alive on the battlefield; her tribe was saved.

Eseasar - (Africa) An earth goddess married to the sky god, Ebore.

Eshu - (Fon/Yoruba) The divine messenger, master of all languages, who acts as intermediary between men and all divinities and between gods and gods.

Esu - (Yoruba) God of watchfulness.

Fa - The god of divination.

Faran - (Songhay) A great hero who battled the river spirit Zin-kibaru.

Faro - (Bambara) A sky and water god. Though androgynous he gives birth to twins (brother and sister) who are the parents of the human race.

Fatouma - (Mali) She was born in a village near a lake that was inhabited by a virgin-devouring dragon who each year claimed a village virgin as payment for the use of the lake's waters. The day came when Fatouma was the only eligible virgin remaining so she was left on the shore for the dragon to eat. Along came a hero named Hammadi who slew the dragon, married Fatouma, and lived happily ever after with her.

Fidi Mukullu - (Zaire) Bena Lulua god of creation from whose right cheek was born the sun and from whose left cheek was born the moon.

Fohsu - (Ghana) Goddess of salt. She was pictured as white-skinned.

Gleti - (Benin) Moon goddess. She is the mother of all the stars (Gletivi). An eclipse is said to be caused by the shadow of the her husband when he comes to "visit".

Gonzuole - (Liberia) The first woman. Without a mate she gave birth to many beautiful daughters; they lived together in a village without men for many years. Eventually some men nearby trapped them all and Gonzuole, fearing for her daughters' safety, agreed to give them in marriage to the men.

Gű - (Fon) The god of metal. A metal sword is still called by this name.

Gua - God of agriculture, blacksmiths, and thunder in West Africa.

Gulu - (Dinka) The creator god.(Buganda) King of heaven.

Gunab - Hottentot god of evil.

Hębiesso - The god of thunder.

Iku - God of death in Nigeria.

Ilankaka - (Nkundo) The sun goddess of the Nkundo of central Zaire was trapped by a man who was hunting during the night. She begged to be released and promised him much wealth for doing so, but the only wealth he wanted was her, and so she agreed to marry him. Soon pregnant, she refused to eat anything but forest rats. Because it was known that a man had to provide for any whim of a pregnant woman, the man was kept very busy trapping for her. One night, however, she awakened to realize she was no longer pregnant. Shocked, she discovered the baby had slipped out of the womb and was already eating meat. He grew up to be the hero Itonde, who captured the heart of the Elephant Girl Mbombe.

Imana - Chief god of the Banyarwanda people of Ruanda.

Iruwa - Sun god in Kenya.

Juok - (Shilluk) The creator of all men on earth; Europeans from white clay, Arabs from reddish-brown clay, and Africans from black earth.

Khonvum - Chief god of the Pygmies.

Kibuka - (Dinka/Buganda) God of war and storms.

Kintu - (Dinka) The first man and founder of the Dinka peoples. The Masai peoples have this myth: In the beginning there was only one man on earth, Kintu. The daughter of heaven saw him and fell in love with him, and persuaded her father to let them marry. Her marriage dowry consisted of all the domestic animals and all of the useful plants.

Lebé - (Dogon) The ancestor from whom the Dogon descended.

Lęgba - (Dahomean) The god of crossroads and the messenger of the gods. He understood all languages and so was also interpreter for the gods.

Leza - (Central Africa) The creator, or supreme, god.

Libanza - Chief god of the Upotos of the Congo.

Lituolone - (Bantu) A mythic hero a la Hercules or Ulysses.

Loko - (Dahomean) The god of medicine.

Maina - (Luyia) The ancestor of the people.

Mambo - (Lovedu) The ancestor of these people.

Marwe - (Chaga) A folktale heroine.

Massim Biambe - (Congo) The creator, an omnipotent immaterial god.

Mawu-Lisa - (Leza) (Dahomean/Fon) Either an androgynous (double-sexed) being or male and female twins. The first deity. Mawu, the female (part?) is associated with the moon, fertility, motherhood and joy. Lisa, the male (part?) is associated with the sun, strength, labor and heat. This god (gods?) gave birth to all the other gods.

Mboze - (Zaire) Mother of the Woyo people, and mother of Bunzi. When her husband found out he was not the father of Bunzi, he killed Mboze.

Mebeli - (Congo) The female god. See Phebele below.

Minepa - (Macoua) The god of evil.

Moombi - (Kikuyu) Creator. Wife to Gikuyu with whom she bore nine daughters.

Mukasa - (Buganda) An oracle, considered a beneficent god for he demanded no sacrifices.

Muluku - (Macoua) The supreme being.

Mulungu - (East Africa) The creator, or supreme god.

Mwambu - (Luyia) The first man.

Nambi - (Buganda) The first woman.

Nana Buluku - (Fon) The primordial mother.

Nanan-Bouclou - Ewe tribe god of herbs and medicine.

Nenaunir - (Masai) God of storms and, as a demon, a spirit of evil.

Ng ai - (Masai) The creator of the universe.

Nyambé - (Western Tropics) The creator/supreme god. The sun god. He is known among the many different peoples as Nyamé, Ngewo, Mawu, Amma, Olorun, Chukwu, etc.

Nyankopon - (Ashanti) The sun god.

Nyasaye - Chief god of the Maragoli.

Nzame - (Bantu) The creator, who was really three in one: Nzame, Mebere, and Nkwa.

Oboto - The goddesses of serenity.

Odudua-Orishala - (Yoruba) Similar deities as Mawu-Lisa above, except for a different tribe.

Ogun - (Yoruba) The god of iron; the god of war.

Olokun - (Nigeria/Benin/Yoruba) The sea god, most worshipped of the deities, for he once destroyed most of the earth (flood myth).

Olorun - (Yoruba) The creator, or supreme, god.

Orisha Nla - (Yoruba) The Great God ordered by Olorun to create solid ground in the marshy lands that were earth.

Orunmila - (Yoruba) God of mercy, who helped man after Olokun's deluge.

Osanyin - The god of medicine.

Oshe - (Yoruba) The god of thunder and lightning.

Osun - (Yoruba) The power (orisa) of love and sensuality. She is depicted as an old wise woman sad at the loss of her beauty. Alternately she may be shown as tall, light-brown-skinned, and with the sensuality of a prostitute. She is patroness of rivers and the bloodstream, and wears seven brass bracelets. She wears a mirror at her belt to admire herself, is companioned by the primping peacock and cricket, and carries river water in her pot. Powerful spells are worked through this lady of opposites.

Oya - (Yoruba) Oya the warrior goddess of the wind represents the winds of change. As Yoruban goddess of the marketplace she creates changes in fortune. She was the wife of Shango , lord of thunder and fertility. Her power is associated with lightning, tornadoes, cemeteries and death. Oya is tall, stately, and an Amazon in battle. She is the orisa of power and action. Every breath we take is the gift of Oya.

Phebele - (Congo) The male god who with Mebeli, the female god, had a child, man, to whom Massim Biambe gave life.

Rugaba - God of the sky in Uganda.

Sagbata - (Dahomey) God of smallpox.

Shagpona - (Yoruba) God of smallpox.

Shango - (Yoruba) God of war, storms, thunder and fertility.

Sopona - (Yoruba) God of smallpox.

Tano - (Togo) A river god.

Tilo - (Mozambique) God of the sky and of thunder and rain.

Tokoloshi - Invisible half-hare, half-man creatures, believed to be messengers for witchdoctors.

Tsui'goab - (Hottentot) Rain god and great hero.

Umvelinqangi - (Zulu) The sky god who descended from heaven and married Uhlanga (a large swamp personalized). This swamp was overgrown with reeds of many colors. Umvelinqangi broke off two reeds of each different color and made them into people, a male and a female. Each pair thereby became the founders of a tribe of a different color. The Zulu people call themselves Abantsundu which means "brown people".

Unkulunkulu - (Zulu) Chief god.

Utixo - (Hottentot) God of the sky, rain, and thunder.

Wak - (Ethiopia) The supreme god who lived in the clouds. Wak kept the heavens at a distance from the earth and covered it with stars. He was a benefactor god. When the earth was flat, Wak asked man to build himself a coffin. Man did this and Wak shut him up in it. Wak buried the coffin. For seven years he made fire rain down and this is how the mountains were formed. Then Wak danced upon the place where the coffin was buried and man sprang forth, alive. He was sure he had slept for a brief moment only and was surprised to find it had been so long; this is why man is awake for most of the day. Eventually man tired of living alone. Wak took some of his blood and after four days, the blood became a woman whom the man married. He had 30 children. However, he was ashamed at having had so many and so hid 15 of them. An angry Wak then made the hidden children into animals and demons.

Wamara - (Bazibu) Son of Nyante. Father of Kagoro, Mugasba, Kazoba and Ryangombe.

Wantu Su - (Sudan) The supreme god.

Wele - Chief god of the Abaluyia of Kenya.

Were - Chief god of the Luo of Kenya.

Woto - (Oto) (Shongo) God of fire.

Xevioso - (Fon) God of thunder. Son of Mahu and Lisa. Twin brother of Gun. A member of the Vodu gods.

Yangombi - (Bantu) God of creation.

Yemonja - (Nigerian Yoruba) She is one of the great goddesses of Africa. She was said to be the daughter of the sea into whose waters she empties. Her breasts are very large, because she was mother of so many of the Yoruba gods. She is also the mother of waters (Mama Watta) who gave birth to all the world's waters. Even as she slept, she would create new springs, which gushed forth each time she turned over. She was the sister/wife of Aganju, the soil god, and mother by him of Orungan, god of the noonday sun. She is known by different names in many localities; As Yemoja (Yemayah) she is the power (orisa) of the ocean and motherhood. She is long-breasted, the goddess of fishes, and wears an insignia of alternating crystal and blue beads. She has a strong, nurturant, life-giving yet furiously destructive nature. She is considered the Great Witch, the ultimate manifestation of female power, as Yemanja (Imanje) in Brazil she is ocean goddess of the crescent moon, as Ymoa in West Africa she is the river goddess who grants fertility to women, in Cuba she is Yemaya (Yemaya Ataramagwa, wealthy queen of the sea - Yemaya Achabba, stern goddess - Yemaya Oqqutte, violent goddess - Yemaya Olokun, dream goddess), she is Agwe in Haiti. And finally as Yamoja, a contraction of the the sentence "Iyamo eja", meaning "our mother" or "my mother of fishes".

Zambi - (Angola) The supreme being.

Zanahary - Chief god in Madagascar.

Zinkibaru - (Songhoi) Although he is a blind djinn, he is considered the "Master of Fish".



Pantheons Index