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African Mythologies

Introduction

Is it possible to speak of a single African mythology?

Africa is a continent with an indigenous population made up hundreds of tribes and a huge variety of languages. Each group has its own mythology, and in addition, colonialism, from an anthropological perspective, has “infected” these mythologies with ideas and images derived from foreign-based religions. Still, there are certain general characteristics that can reasonably be associated with the mythologies of Africa. These include, for instance, the withdrawn presence of a creator, with the earth often personified as the creator’s wife, the creative but sometimes disruptive actions of culture hero/tricksters, the preponderance of animals, and, most important, the dominance of animism.



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