African Mythical Creatures: a Recap

african, character, children's books, design, Events, idea, illustration, stories, Zimbabwe

I haven’t had much time to add tot he growing collection these last few weeks, so I thought it would be good to show you the set so far in one blog post. ‘m going to be making some 3-d versions of these for a school event on June 19th. It should be fun! Details of that event will follow in the coming days.

K

African Mythological Creatures- Ninki Nanka: The Dragon

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

creatures-ninkinamka

According to traditions, the Ninki Nanka lives in the swamps of West Africa. It is said to be extremely large and dangerous. It is said that when children get too confident and feel they can disobey their parents and go into the swamp they will be taken by the Ninki Nanka. The story of Ninki Nanka has spread from tribe to tribe across Africa. There is a song called “Ninki Nanka” on the album Casamance au clair de lune (1984) by the Senegalese music group Touré Kunda. A group of “dragon hunters” from the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) went to Gambia in the summer of 2006 to investigate the Ninki Nanka and take testimony from those who have claimed to have seen the mythical creature. One interviewee who claimed to have had an encounter with a Ninki Nanka said it looked similar to an image of a Chinese dragon. The expedition was known as the “J. T. Downes Memorial Gambia Expedition 2006”

African Mythological Creatures: Adze, The Vampire

idea, illustration, Ken Wilson-Max

creatures-adze

 

The Adze is a vampiric being from Ewe folklore in Togo and Ghana. It normally looks like a firefly, but it will transform into human shape when captured.

In its human form, the Adze has the power to possess ordinary humans and turn them into witches.

A person is suspected of being possessed in a variety of situations, including: women with brothers (especially if their brother’s children fared better than their own), old people (if the young suddenly started dying and the old stayed alive) and the poor (if they envied the rich).

The Adze’s effects are generally felt by the possessed victim’s family or those the victim is jealous of. In firefly form, the Adze can pass through closed doors at night and suck blood from people as they sleep. Victims would fall ill and die.

Tales of the creature and its effects were probably used to describe the potentially deadly effects of mosquitos and malaria. There is no defense against an Adze. 

Source: Bunson, Matthew (1993). The Vampire Encyclopedia.

African Mythical Characters Sketchbook: Impundulu

From the sketchbooks, idea, illustration

African mythical creatures: the Impundulu or Lightning bird.©ken wilson-max 2012

African mythical creatures: the Impundulu or Lightning bird.
©ken wilson-max 2012

In the first sketch of a new series, I am going to try to illustrate African mythological creatures and characters. First up is the Lightning bird, or Impundulu. There are likely to be several versions of each of these characters, so your input is welcome. I am hoping to create a set of six to 12 finished images by the summer of 2013.

The Impundulu or Thekwane (Lightning bird) is a mythological creature in South African traditional tribal folklore. The Zulu and the Xhosa and Pondo tribes have stories about the lightning bird, described as black and white, the size of a human and which is said to cause thunder and lightning with its wings and talons.  It is said to have an appetite for blood.

The lightning bird is believed to manifest itself only through lightning, except to women, to whom it reveals itself as a bird. The bird may take several forms. In one instance, a girl described a black rooster-like bird that ran up her hoe and left claw marks on her body before it flew back to the clouds. It is also described as having iridescent feathers like a peacock’s or a fiery red tail, bill and legs.

The Impundulu is believed to lay a large egg underground at the point of a lightning strike and this may be a good or bad omen. Traditionally, the tribe’s witch doctor plays the essential role in dealing with the lightning bird. The bird’s flesh can be made into a remedy for tracing thieves, as an example.

In real life, the Hammerkop, or Stork, whose territory ranges from Africa, Madagascar to Arabia, is believed to be the lightning bird.

In 2005, a South african Newspaper reported that a man was convicted of culpable homicide after killing a two-year-old child he believed to be an Impundulu.

K