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10 Forgotten Gods Of Africa

Updated on August 23, 2017

African religions are as countless as the ethnic groups that are dominant on the continent of Africa. Therefore, there existed many gods and deities that were worshiped along African history. In this article, we will share together ten gods among many old forgotten gods and orally told in African religion and mythology.

1. Abasi

According to the religious mythology of the Efik tribes of Nigeria and Cameroon, Abasi represents the Supreme Creator God. The Efik tribes have developed a various tales about the presence and occupations of the Supreme Creator God, Abasi. Despite the fact that there are many variations to the interpretation as given by the priests of the tribes, the common forms of the interpretation are all the same.

According to the Efiks beliefs, the wife of Abasi, whose name was Atai, persuaded him to allow their young children, one male, and one female, to settle down on the Earth, but to forbid them from reproducing the land. The idea, according to Efik beliefs, was that the children should depend on their father and mother for housing, food, and protection. However, the children hated these prohibitions and soon returned to heaven when Abasi called them to eat food when they became hungry.[1]

[1] - Quarcoopome, T. N. (1987). West African Traditional Religion. Ibadan: African Universities Press.
- Scheub, H. (2000). A Dictionary of African Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press.

2. Ala

Ala is a popular deity in eastern Nigeria and West Africa. She is regarded as a fertility goddess who is also the goddess of the underworld associated with a cult of the dead (which rest in her womb). Her place of worship is the Mbari which contains a cult idol showing the goddess seated with a child in her arms and decorated with the crescent moon. She is lined by associated deities. She enjoys a profusion of local temples which are well provided with ritual gifts. Grave crimes including murder are seen to be sins against her. Each year, all the tribes celebrate an annual yam festival in her honor. [2]

[2] Michael Jordan , (2004, 1993 ), Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition

3. Amma

Amma is an old god among the Dogon tribes of Mali, West Africa. He is the god Dogon’s oral traditions; it is believed that He first created the sun by “baking a clay pot until it was white hot and coiling a band of copper around it eight times”. He created the moon by the same way but used brass. According to Dogon’s mythology, black people were created from sunlight and white from moonlight. Far along, having circumcised the earth goddess, whose clitoris was an anthill, he filled her and shaped the first being, a jackal. Then he fed her with rain to produce plant life and finally became the father and the god creator of mankind.[3]

[3] - Calame-Griaule, G. Dictionnaire Dogon. Paris: Librarie C. Klincksieck.

- Griaule, M., & Germaine, D. (1954). The Dogon, an essay from African Worlds: Studies in the

4. Ausar

Ausar (Asar, Wasiri, and Osiris) is an old Kemetic
god, whose center of worship and study was Abydos, a town in the ancient Egypt. Ausar is usually identified as the god ruler of the underworld, the afterlife, and the dead, but generally regarded as the god of resurrection and evolution. It is also connected with agricultural renewal.

According to Kemetic mythology, Ausar was assassinated by his brother, Set, and then brought back to life by the love of his sister and wife, Auset. The love of Auset is a symbol of rebirth and the promise of endless life. The sequence of demolition, death, and rebirth was repeated each year in the yearly flood of the Nile, the river that offers the necessary elements desired to sustain life, and gives birth to one of the earliest civilizations and the ancient world.[4]

[4] Asante, M. K. (2001). The Egyptian Philosophers. Chicago: African American Images.

5. Chi

Chi is an old god among the Igbo tribes of southern Nigeria. It is known as the Great Chi, the one Creator God. Chi is one of a supreme and universal entity with several signs, codes, activities, and asylums to demonstrate the activating of the high and the supreme power.

Chi is like all other African deities, it is a source of power and good qualities. All other African old gods take nature as sacred. That is why we find all these gods share some points with ‘mother nature’. The Igbo tribes believe that the Chi has a definite role in one’s life chances and prospects.[5]

[5] - Asante, M. K., & Nwadiora, E. (2007). Spear Masters: An Introduction to African Religion

- Oranekwu, G. (2000). The Significant Role of Initiation in the Traditional Igbo Culture and Religion

- Toyin Falola, Culture and Customs of Nigeria.

6. Fa

Fa is the name of an old deity among the African Fon tribes of Benin and the Yoruba of Nigeria. For the Yoruba, the name frequently used is Ifa. Fa is the far-reaching God of fate who has the power to control the lives of all humans. According to the elders and priests of African tribes, the notion of Fa as the determiner of fate and destiny is the essential emphasis of the work done by this god.

According to Yoruba mythology, the story of the appearance of Fa starts with a hopeless nation who had stopped giving sacrifices to their gods, consequently, these gods became angry. So in order to save this miserable nation from the coming wrath of gods, Eshu, (an African god), went to a palm tree where monkeys gave him sixteen palm nuts. The monkeys commanded Eshu to travel around the world and learn sixteen proverbs in sixteen different far lands. After doing so, Eshu offered the knowledge he gained to humankind through the prophet Ifa (Fa) who became a god later.[6]

[6] Asante, M. K., & Nwadiora, E. (2007). Spear Masters: Introduction to African Religion. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

7. Faro

Faro is the common name given to the god of restoration and fertility among the Mande tribes of ancient Mali. In this sense, Faro is similar to the deity Ausar in ancient Kemet, who was also called the god of restoration, resurrection, and fertility.

It is commonly believed among Mande tribes that Faro functions as a savior and planner of the whole universe. Faro is crowned in the seventh heaven and sends down the rain that brings fruitfulness to the earth. Additionally, Faro represents renaissance and renewal of the universe. The Bamana, also referred as Bambara, like other Mande groups, honor Faro as the Great Light and Creator God.[7]

[7] Dieterlen, G. (1957, April). The Mande Creation Myth. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 27(2), 124–138

8. Ngai

Ngai is the name of an old deity among the Maasai tribes largely distributed in East Africa. According to the traditions of The Maasai tribes, Ngai represents the Supreme God, the Creator of humans and the universe. In the Maa language, the word ‘Ngai’ refers to the ‘sky’.

Ngai, as a ‘supreme God’, is a hermaphrodite, which means, both female and male. Ngai leads over rain, prosperity, love, and the sun. Despite being a single deity, the Maasai god performs under two manifestations: Ngai Narok, the good kind god, characterized by gentleness and compassion, is black, while Ngai Nanyokie, the mad god, is red, like the British invaders who disturbed the Maasai life.[8]

[8]- Bentsen, C. (1989), Maasai Days. New York: Doubleday.
- Hauge, H. E. (1979), Maasai Religion and Folklore.
- Scheub, H. (2000). A Dictionary of African Mythology, the Mythmaker as Storyteller.

- Spencer, P. (2003). Maasai ( African People), Rites and Ceremonies. London: Routledge

9. Nyame

Nyame or Onyame is the name of a god among the tribes of Akan in Ghana. In Akan’s beliefs, Nyame represents ‘the Supreme Being’ in the Akan conceptual organism.

According to Akan’s beliefs, Nyame is one God that links the Akan spiritual faith system to monotheism. This is why we find in the Akan language that the word Nyame has no plural form. However, the plural form of Nyame would be ‘anyame’, which seems inappropriate in the Akan language. Thus, to give emphasis to the Unity of Nyame, the word Onyame is more often used to denote the individuality of God as the One and the Supreme Only One.[9]

[9]- Ben-Jochannan, J. A. A. (1970). African Origins of Major Western Religions.

- Danquah, J. B. (1986). The Akan Doctrine of God: A Fragment of Gold Coast Ethics and Religion.

10. Sekhmet

In the ancient Egyptian religion, Sekhmet is usually represented as the goddess of war, fire, love, and medicine. Sekhmet is typically presented as a lady with a lioness head sitting upon a throne or standing holding the key of life. The meaning of her name is ‘the powerful one’.

She is also a Solar deity, sometimes named the daughter of the sun god Ra and frequently allied with the goddesses Hathor and Bast. She bears the Solar disk and the Uraeus which links her with royalty. With these connotations, she can be taken as being a divine mediator of the goddess Ma'at (Justice) in the Judgment Hall of Osiris, and relating her with Tefnut as well.



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