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Exploring the Magic of Traditional African Myths

In the heart of Africa lies a treasure trove of captivating stories and myths that have been passed down through generations. These tales are more than just bedtime stories; they are windows into the rich cultures and beliefs of diverse African communities. Join us on a journey to discover the magic and wisdom found in traditional African mythologies and children's stories!

The Wonders of African Mythologies

African mythologies are filled with enchanting tales of gods, spirits, and mythical creatures that shape the natural world and human experiences. These myths vary greatly across different regions and cultures, reflecting the diversity of Africa's peoples. For instance, the Yoruba people of Nigeria tell stories of powerful deities like Olokun, the god of the sea, while the Shona people of Zimbabwe share stories of the trickster hare, a clever yet mischievous character who outwits others with wit and cunning. These myths not only entertain but also teach important lessons about morality, bravery, and the importance of community.

Children's Stories: Lessons Wrapped in Wonder

Children's stories in Africa are a blend of entertainment and education, often featuring animals as main characters who exhibit human-like qualities. These stories are designed to teach children valuable lessons about kindness, respect, and the consequences of their actions. In West Africa, the story of Anansi the Spider teaches about cleverness and resourcefulness, while in Southern Africa, tales of the wise tortoise impart lessons in patience and perseverance. Through these stories, children learn about their cultural heritage and values while developing empathy and critical thinking

Sense Pass King - When the king discovers that a girl named Sense Pass King possesses such extraordinary gifts and intelligence that even surpass him, he is enraged and a battle of wits and wisdom commences, determining Sense Pass King's fate and the future of the kingdom.folk-how-the-amazon-queen

How the Amazon Queen Fought the Prince of Egypt - Serpot, ruler of a land where women live free, without men, leads her Amazon warriors in battle against Prince Pedikhons of Egypt, who has come to see for himself if women can equal men, even in battle.folk-anansi

Anansi and the Golden Pot - Award-winning author of Ghana Must Go, Taiye Selasi, reimagines the story of Anansi, the much-loved trickster, for a new generation. Kweku has grown up hearing stories about the mischievous spider Anansi. He is given the nickname Anansi by his father because of his similarly cheeky ways.porq-why-mos-1

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale  - by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo and Diane DillonWhen a mosquito tells a tall tale to a lizard, he sets in action a chain of events that has tragic consequences. A stunningly illustrated story about the consequences of lying. One of the Pourquoi book series that aim to help children answer the question of how something came to be...70s-story

A story, a story - Long, long ago there were no stories on earth for children to hear. All stories belonged to Nyame, the Sky God. Ananse, the Spider man, wanted to buy some of these stories, so he spun a web up to the sky to bargain with the Sky God. The price the Sky God asked was Osebo, the leopard-of-the-terrible-teeth, Mmboro the hornet-who-stings-like-fire, and Mmoatia the fairy-whom-men-never-see. Can Ananse capture these sly creatures and give the children of earth stories to tell?folk-why-the-sky

Why The Sky Is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale -  LThe sky was once so close to the Earth that people cut parts of it to eat, but their waste and greed caused the sky to move far away. The story has a positive message about the importance of not taking things for granted, and encourages good stewardship of the planet. 

folk-head-body-legs-1Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia - This tale of how the human body came to be in its present configuration is also a story about cooperation and determination. Author Won-Ldy Paye has several other books based folktales from the Dan people of Liberia. This creation story from Liberia explains how Head became attached to a body and limbs. Discover how they all work together. porq-why-the-sun-1

Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky - Water wonders why he is never invited to Sun's house.  Sun replies that his house is not large enough and sets out building a new one to accommodate his friend. But when water comes to visit, he fills the entire house and there is no longer room enough for Sun and his spouse, Moon. Can you guess where they found a new home? 

ksum-kapiti-plainBringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Rise and Shine) - Cattle herdsman Ki-pat recognizes the dire need for rain and pierces a cloud with his arrow to unleash the storms.  Told as a repetitive, rhythmic, cumulative tale, it emphasises the dependence of humans on the natural world.folk-hatseller

The Hatseller and the Monkeys: A West African Folktale - BaMusa is not only a hatseller, but descends from a long line of hatmakers. After a brief explanation of how he learned to make wide-brimmed dibiri hats and close-fitting fugulan caps, he heads to town to sell them. He stops to nap under a mango tree, where some monkeys relieve him of his hats. The author makes the most of the interplay between the mischievous culprits and BaMusa with phrases children will want to imitate right along with the charactersfolk-honey

 Honey...Honey...Lion!! The honeyguide is an African bird that leads other animals to its namesake. Ordinarily it partners with the Badger for the benefit of all the animals. However, when the Badger goes rogue, things start to get sticky. The moral? Sharing is good.


Preserving Cultural Heritage Through Storytelling

Storytelling holds a special place in African cultures as a means of preserving history, traditions, and spiritual beliefs. Elders pass down these stories orally, ensuring that each new generation learns about their roots and identity. In addition to myths and children's stories, African cultures also cherish lullabies, which soothe infants to sleep while transmitting cultural knowledge and nurturing emotional bonds within families.

Activities to Explore African Stories

Storytelling Circle: Encourage children to create their own stories inspired by African myths and characters. They can use drawings or act out their tales with friends.

Craft Projects: Make masks or puppets of animals from African stories using recycled materials or clay, bringing the characters to life.

Music and Dance: Explore traditional African music and dance that accompany storytelling, enhancing the cultural experience.


Traditional African mythologies and children's stories are a testament to the richness and diversity of African cultures. By exploring these stories, children not only delve into a world of wonder and imagination but also gain valuable insights into universal values and the importance of heritage. Let's continue to celebrate and share these timeless tales, ensuring that the magic and wisdom of Africa's storytelling traditions endure for generations to come.

Let the stories unfold, little adventurers! 🌍✨