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African Creation Myths – Hear 2 Help You

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Today’s show take me back to my days as an African history student in a local community class. Sitting in the back with my notebook on my lap, listening and taking notes. Out teacher, Brother Derrick would always mention that the various creation stories on the continent have similarities. That no matter the tribe, you will find the commonalities which have evolved from a source and spread out among her people. 

My intention today was just that. To pinpoint some those similarities , and highlight the beauty that is, the story. 

Here is some research that I’ve found that should help with the show. 

Commonalities in Creation Stories

From the book, Encyclopedia of African Religion edited by Molefe K. Asante & Ama Mazama. The scholarly pair inform us of the following:

In general, Africans believe that the universe was brought into existence by the action of a single God, or a set of Gods, on behalf of the Supreme Being.

African creation systems are predicated on a pre- or self-existing entity bringing something into existence out of nothing.

Often there was nothing in existence before creation—except the flow of cosmic-spiritual energy emanating from God. This energy flow is the essence of the Supreme Being and is infused in all things on creation.

I found this to be very an interesting breakdown. Especially since the references provided by author David Adams Leeming give us with a bit more insight into creation types.

Creation Types

Ex Nihilo

The central fact of the creation from nothing, or ex nihilo, creation myth type is a supreme deity, existing alone in a pre-creation emptiness or void, who consciously creates an organized universe on his own.

Chaos

Creation from a preexisting, undifferentiated or chaotic state represented by primal elements or sometimes by a primal object such as a cosmic egg.

World Parents

Creation from the union, separation, division or sacrifice· even dismemberment of world parents. The world parents more often than not, identified as paternal Sky and maternal Earth.

Emergence

Creation by way of a hole in the earth. The emphasis is squarely on the creation of humanity. In this myth type the focus is on a process by which humans emerge in stages into this world from under the earth.

Emergence creation is, for the most part, peculiar to Native North Americans.

Earth-Diver

Creation by means of diving into the depths of the primordial waters. It is a myth type that stresses the creation of Earth. Animals often play an important role in the creation, as do the primeval waters and often an evil force that balances the good in a dualistic tension.

These stories types are so prevalent in the African myths that we explored on the show today.  It was a pleasure to breakdown these stories that have survived the test of time.

References: 

Creation Myths of the World (An Encyclopedia, 2ndEdition) – David Adams Leeming

Primal Myths, Creation Myths Around the World – Barbara C. Sproul

Encyclopedia of African Religion – Molefe K. Asante & Ama Mazam

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