African Mythology

The Gods and Spirits of Africa


Maasai Creator Deity

Also known as Natero-Kop, Neiterkob, Neiternkob, Neiterogob

A Creator God who may be an Earth Goddess

That is, assuming he isn’t totally mortal and male. Just to cause confusion. See what you think:

According to Maasai tradition, Naiteru-kop is a mortal — the divinely-inspired founder of their tribe. He was summoned by Engai to the top of the Oldonyo Le Ngai mountain, given a wife and cattle, and told to get populating.

Which is all fine and good — except some sources claim that the first human is called Leeyio and Naiteru-kop is actually the Creator God himself. Or even Goddess. Or even their son.

As Naiteru-Kop means ‘The Beginner of the Earth’, there is an element of plausibility. Is Naiteru-kop simply a fancy title for Engai, the Creator of the Earth? As for gender, the Maasai people believe that God is sexless, neither male nor female. Did some early missionary get their wires severely crossed and think ‘The Beginner of the Earth’ was an Earth Mother Goddess?

Stranger things have happened — and the first missionaries to Africa have not proved the most reliable of sources when it comes to ‘heathen’ deities. Perhaps one of the Maasai people can sort out this mythological muddle for us, as we are utterly bewildered.

Naiteru-kop Facts and Figures

Name: Naiteru-kop
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Natero-Kop, Neiterkob, Neiternkob, Neiterogob

Gender: Sorry, we don't know
Type: Deity
Area or people: Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Creating
Area of expertise: Creation

Good/Evil Rating: OKAY, not bad
Popularity index: 4480

Cite this article

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Article last revised on November 02, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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