African Mythology

The Gods and Spirits of Africa

NYAMBE

Lozi Creator God

Also known as Nyame, Nymabi

Supreme Creator God with a very annoying neighbor

It all started so well. Nyambe created the forests, the plains, and all the animals. He created light and life through the Sun and Moon, and lived happily amongst his creations. He created his wife Nasilele and daughter Mwambwa and loved them even more. But then he created Kamunu, the first man. And it was just his luck to have created a real pest.

All Gods need worshipers, but Kamunu went to the extreme. He idolized the ground Nyambe walked on. He wanted to walk, talk and behave like his hero in every way. Every five minutes he was knocking on the door to borrow pots, pans, and garden tools or peering over the garden fence to watch everything Nyambe did.

One day he saw Nyambe forging iron to make plowshares and scythes. So Kamunu had to have a go. Assuming that those sharp-looking iron objects were weapons, he produced spears and knives and things which killed. Then promptly went on a killing spree to test them out.

Nyambe and Nasilele were disgusted by this awful behavior. But Nyambe, whose name means ‘He Who Does Not Speak’, didn’t say a word. Instead, he and his wife packed their suitcases and sailed away to a remote island in a lake. Guess who stowed away on the boat? So they ran off at super-Godly speed to the highest mountain on Earth — but two years later who do you think arrived on their doorstep?

The good-natured Nyambe was driven to distraction. It was all too much. He found Spider and forced her to spin a rope into the sky. He and his wife climbed up and then pulled the rope up after them. In cruel desperation, they blinded Spider to keep their new location a secret.

Spurred on by his wife, Nyambe even sent Death to finally rid themselves of their irritating creation. But it didn’t work. Kamunu and his descendants still spend much of their time gazing upwards, worshiping the sun, clouds and unidentified flying saucers just in case it’s him!

Nyambe Facts and Figures

Name: Nyambe
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Nyame, Nymabi

Gender: Male
Type: God
Area or people: Kavango people of Namibia and Lozi people of Barotseland, Upper Zambesi
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Creating
Area of expertise: Creation

Good/Evil Rating: GOOD, quite approachable
Popularity index: 304

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Article last updated on November 21, 2018 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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