Tuesday, October 1, 2019
African Creation Stories :: African Culture Creation Tales Essays
African Creation Stories Since the beginning of humankind, there has been one common thread that ties together all cultures and religions of the world: an attempt to explain their origins. this holds true for the numerous religious groups existing on the African continent. In the absence of science, they resorted to creating stories to account for what they did not and could not understand. While similar in their basic design and theory, these stories varies greatly in their content and meaning. By studying them, much can be learned about the African people of the present and past. The Shilluks of the Nile region, for example, tell a story in which humankind is fashioned out of clay. In each region of the world in which the creator traveled, he created humans from the materials available, making some white, others red or brown, and the Shilluk black. He then took a piece of earth and gave them arms, eyes, etc. This story says much about their values and culture. In distributing the characteristics to man, he chose first to give them the ability to do work through the use of their arms and legs. They were then given the ability to see and taste their food. Finally, they were given speech and hearing with which to entertain oneself ("An African Story"). This shows the value system at work among the Shilluk, that work comes above all else. It also attempts to explain the differences between men of various races by telling of how they came about. A West African creation tale explains how two spirit people were accidentally sent down to earth by the sky god. Lonely, the people decided to create children from clay, but feel they must hide them when the sky god comes down. Because they are hidden in fire, the children soon turn to various shades based on how long they had been exposed to the heat. Over time, these clay children grow up and move to various regions of the earth, ultimately populating it (Fader). Much like that of the Shillu k people, this story serves a two-fold purpose: it explains both the creation of man as well as accounts for the differences among him. This tale shows the West Africans value these differences because they feel that all men are created equal and should be treated as such. The Boshongo, a central Bantu tribe of the Lunda Cluster, tell a different story.