Creatures from African Mythology: Tokoloshe

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

tokoloshe

The mythical Southern African creature, the Tokoloshe is a dwarf-like, mischievous and evil spirit can make itself invisible by swallowing a pebble. Tokoloshes are called upon to cause trouble for others. Its power extends from scaring children to causing illness and even death to its target. Only the N’anga (witch doctor) has the power to banish the Tokoloshe. Another way to keep the Tokoloshe away at night is to put a brick beneath each leg of one’s bed. Some people believe the Tokoloshe is a poltergeist, or gremlin, created by N’angas who have been offended. The Tokoloshe is characterised by its hairy body, its gremlin-like appearance and gouged out eyes. But, the Tokoloshe has been known to take on many forms. According to legend, the Tokoloshe gets its power from a hot poker, which thrusted into its crown during creation.

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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.