Bultungin, The Werehyena

african, design, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

bultungin

In the Kanuri language of the Bornu Empire in the Lake Chad region, Werehyenas were called ‘Bultungin’ (“I change myself into a hyena”). It was traditionally believed that one or two of the villages in the region was populated entirely by Bultungin. Ethiopians traditionally believed that blacksmiths were really wizards or witches who could change into hyenas. These ‘Bouda’ were believed to rob graves at midnight. The fact that blacksmithing is a traditional profession for Jewish men may be a reason for the characterization of Ethiopian Jews as being ‘Bouda’. Belief in the‘Bouda’ is also present in Sudan, Tanzania and Morocco. In twestern Sudan folklore there is human creature who is nightly transformed into a cannibalistic monster that terrorizes people, especially lovers. The creature is often portrayed as a magically powerful healer, blacksmith, or woodcutter in its human form, but recognizable through signs like a hairy body, red and gleaming eyes and a nasal voice. The Korè cult of the Bambara people in Mali “become” hyenas by imitating the animals’ behaviour through masks and role plays.

Advertisements

One thought on “Bultungin, The Werehyena

Tell us what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s