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Creation Mythology of Africa Essay

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Creation Mythology of Africa


One way of examining the values and traditions of a people is to look at their explanations for how the world came to be. These stories make such wonderful tools for analysis because all cultures have some sort of ‘creation’ story. Thus to compare groups of people we may start by looking at their creation mythology. It is important to note that the downfall of comparing mythologies is that in a way it is like comparing apples to oranges. This is because not every myth portrays and explains the same elements.

Five myths from throughout Africa will be mentioned throughout this essay. They are from the Boshongo, Mande, Shilluk, Egyptian, and Yoruba peoples. For a brief description of these myths please see the appendix. Please remember that these myths do not represent the beliefs and stories of all of Africa.

In each of these stories, the tale of creation has been presented with a unique twist. Yet there are several important similarities among the various myths. Besides explaining creation, there is always one major creator. However, in some stories such as that of the Boshongo, the creator had helpers whereas in the Shilluk tale, Juok worked alone. In the Boshongo myth, Bumba creates nine animals and mankind. Then these animals and Bumba's three sons worked together creating everything else. In the Shilluk tale, obviously everything is related somehow because everything shares the same creator. Even in other stories where the creator has helpers, however, all of these helpers were made by the creator and thus everything is still connected.

In all of these stories, mankind is created by a more powerful being. This represents the belief that...


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...rican Cosmogony.” http://alexm.here.ru:8081/mirrors/www.enteract.com/jwalz/Eliade/051.html. taken from:
Leach, Maria. The Beginning. New York: 1656. pages 145-6.

“Creation Myths.” http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/ophelia.htm. January 8, 2001.

Crystal, Ellie. “African Creation Myths.” http://www.crystalinks.com/africacreation.html. August 1995.

“Egyptian Creational Myths.” http://www.crystalinks.com/egyptcreation.html. August 1995.

“Egyptian Cosmogony and Theogony.” http://alexm.here.ru:8081/mirrors/www.enteract.com/jwalz/Eliade/054.html. taken from:
Piankoff, Alexandre. The Shrines of Tut-ankh-amon. New York: 1955. page 24.

“Life and Death Under the Pharaohs – the Gods.” http://icvc.imago.com.au/egypt/html/the_gods.html. 1998.

“West African Cosmogony.” http://www.fandm.edu:80/departments/Anthropology/Bastian/ANT269/cosmo.html. 1999.


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