The Gods and Spirits of Africa


Picture of the African Hero God ODUDUWA from our African mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

African Hero God


Last-minute Creator of the Earth after his brother failed to show up.

His mighty brother OBATALA, the elite of the ORISHAS, was given the task of building the Earth. To get him started, their father OLORUN, the God of the Sky, gave him a handful of mud, a chain, a five-toed chicken — and detailed instructions.

But like so many builders throughout history, OBATALA failed to turn up at the appointed hour. Instead, he had gone to a party.

Seeing his chance for fame and glory, cheeky little brother ODUDUWA purloined the holy building materials and attempted to create the Earth himself. It was only DIY home improvement on a slightly larger scale, he thought.

Advised by a friendly chameleon, he lowered the chain over the edge of heaven, climbed down, and tossed the lump of mud into the primeval sea. The five-toed chicken hopped onto the mud and began scratching it in all directions.

Pretty soon there was a decent size landscape and thus was the Earth born. For an amateur builder it wasn’t bad. Okay, it was a bit rough around the edges and some of the mountains weren’t straight, but at least the job was done on schedule.

OLORUN was so pleased with his son that he promoted him to God of the Earth, while sodden older brother OBATALA sunk into disgrace and was forced to create humanity as punishment.

ODUDUWA later went down to Earth to rule over the Yoruba people, becoming their first king, ancestral folk hero and legendary home improvement expert.

Godnote: ODUDUWA is frequently confused with the female goddess ODUDUA but, so far as we can tell, they are utterly different deities.


Area or people : Yoruba people of Nigeria and Benin
Location : Africa
Gender : Male
Type : deity
In charge of : Heroics
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Good/Evil Rating : OKAY, not bad
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Alternative names : ODÙDUWÀ, ODUWA, ODUDU, ELEDUWA
Popularity index : 9551
Share this page:
Link to this page (HTML anchor tag):

Article last updated on 20 April 2013 by the Godchecker Team.

Editors: Peter J Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

Cite this article:

Saunders, Chas, and Peter J. Allen, eds. "Oduduwa: African Hero God (African mythology) ." Godchecker. Godchecker/CID, 20 Apr. 2013. Web. 23 September 2014.

Permissions page

The Gods told us to do it. Go to top

Introduction to the African section

Browse our entries on African mythology

Search the Holy Database of All Known Gods

List of names from African mythology