Creatures from African Mythology: Jengu

african, design, From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max, publishing

jengu

The Jengu, from Cameroon, differs in appearance from person to person, but it is said to be a beautiful, mermaid-like figures with long, hair and gap-toothed smiles. A Jengu (plural Miengu) is a water spirit in the traditional beliefs of the Sawa ethnic groups of Cameroon. They live in rivers and the sea and bring good fortune to worshipers. They are also healers and intermediaries between people and the spirits. A Jengu cult has long enjoyed popularity in Cameroon. For the inland Bakweri, Jengu worship is a rite of passage for eight to ten-year old girls. During this time, the girl must wear a dress made of fern fronds and follow a series of taboos. After this period, she is a full member of the cult. There are many mermaid creatures in mythology across the African continent.