The text on this page is used with permission from Oxford University Press from A Dictionary of World Mythology by Arthur Cotterell.
- The zealous god of Efik. He put the first man on the earth but was fearful
that they may become his equals. He was the sky god.
Adroa - God of Lugbara. This deity is conceived in two aspects, a transcendent Adroa 'god in the sky' remote from mankind and as Adro, 'god of the earth' close to mankind.
Aigamuxa - In Hottentot mythology, a strange man-eating monster who are occasionally encountered among the dunes.
Ajok - The Lotuko, a Sudanese people, believe that Ajok is benevolent by nature, however, he must be kept that way through constant sacrifice and prayers. Man, not the deity, is the source of discord and suffering in life.
Anansi - Mr Spider: the great trickster to West African legend. Originally credited with the creation of the world, Anansi's role has been transformed into a cultural founder hero.
Andriambahomanana - In Madagascan mythology the first man. He dies to become a banana, which soon puts forth shoots anew.
Asa - Literally: 'father'. God of the Akamba people of Kenya. Asa is 'the strong lord', above the spirits but also a merciful deity.
Azra'il - According to the Hausa-speaking people in Tunisia, it was the angel of death, Azra'il who brought mortality into the world.
Chiuta - Meaning: 'great bow in the heavens'. The supreme deity of the Tumbuka in Malawi. Chiuta is a powerful deity, self-created and omniscient. He is the owner of all things and eternal. He is a rain god, the succor of the people and is often afflicted by drought.
Chuku - Literally: 'great spirit'. The supreme deity of the Ibo of Eastern Nigeria. He is the creator and the Ibo hold that he is essentially good and that all good comes from him.
Heitsi-eibib - Legendary hero of the Hottentots. Son of a cow and some miraculous grass eaten by the cow. He is a great magician, a patron of the hunters and a superb fighter.
Holawaka - The mythical bird sent by god to tell the Galla of Ethiopia that they would not die.
Imana - Literally 'almighty', this deity was the god of the Banyarwanda people of Ruanda, an area unvisited by Europeans before 1894. Imana knows all things, is the only ruler, the one who plans, the sole giver of children, the protector of possessions, the owner of all things. Imana has very long arms ad is often found in fearful places, but his influence is thought to be beneficial.
Itherther - The primeval buffalo of Kabyl mythology.
Juok - God of the Shilluk. This deity is omnipresent and gave these nomadic people cattle, millets and fish for their sustenance. He also betters the sick.
Kazikamuntu - The first human being according to the Banyarwandan mythology. He was created by Imana.
Kalumba - The creator deity was Kalumba according to the Luba in Zaire.
Katonda - The Ganda believe the Katonda is the creator deity, thje father of gods living in heaven. He has several forms and functions like Imana.
Khonvum - The supreme spirit of Pygmy belief. Formless and eternal, Khonvum makes contact with men by the intermediary of an animal, usually a chameleon. He also lowered the Pygmies to the earth.
Khuzwane - The Luvedu creator god. He left his footprints of rocks which were soft at the time of creation.
Kintu - Semi-legendary king of Uganda. Kintu was immortal and was in the habit of visiting Katonda in order to submit reports of his progress on earth.
Kwoth - The great spirit of Nuer tribesman living in the southern Sudan. Kwoth, their god, has neither form nor fixed abode. He is compassionate and spares the poor and miserable.
Le-eyo - The great ancestor of the Maasai.
Leza - According to the Kaonde in southern Africa, the supreme deity.
Mokele-Mbembe - A fabulous beast reported by early European visitors to West Africa. It was the size of an elephant, had a long neck, a single horn or tooth and a strong serpentine tail. Its diet was said to be vegetarian.
Mukuru - The remote sky god of the Herero people of South-West Africa. He is a benevolent deity who shows his kindness through rain, healing the sick, and upholding the old.
Mulungu - God of the Nyamwezi people of Tanzania. He cannot be reached by worship. The only way to communicate with him is through intermediaries, a chainof spirts with humans at the bottom and him at the top.
Mwambu - The first human couple were Mwambu and Sela according to the Abaluyia tribesmen of Kenya. They lived in a house of stilts.
Mwuetsi - In the mythology of the Makoni tribe of Zimbabwe, the primeval man and the moon, Mwuetsi. The sky god Maori created Mwuetsi, gave him a horn filled with ngona oil, and put him to live at the bottom of a lake.
Njambi - The creator deity of the Lele people. His greatest gift after life is the tropical forest. It is the source of all good things and the antithesis of the grassland. He is the one that holds power over men, animals and the spirits.
Nommo - The model of creation according to Dogon cosmology.
Ntoro - The Ashanti believe that every person receives a sunsum, 'ego' and a kra, 'life-force'. Ntoro is synonymous to sumsum. There are twelve Ntoro, the tough, the human, the distinguished, the audacious, the eccentric, the fanatic, the chaste, the truculent, the virtuoso, the fastidious, the liberal and the chivalrous.
Nyame - In Akan mythology he is the supreme deity. Nyame is called Nana Nyankopon, 'grandfather Nyame who alone is the great one'. Eternal and unequaled, Nyame is a god whom people may confidently turn to in times of hardship and distress. The god os faithful, a quality that is stressed by the Akan.
Nzambi - God of the Bacongo people of Angola. Identified with the sun, Nzambi is self-existent, almighty and knows all. He creates different individuals and gives them different tastes and soul qualities according to the Aconga.
Olorun - The head of the Yoruban pantheon which contains 1700 divinities. Active in celestial and terrestrial affairs, Olorun is able to do all things, he is an enabler of all who achieve any ends. He is omnipresent, a mighty, eternal rock, forever constant and reliable.
Oyankopon - According to the Ashanti, the universe is full of spirits but as Bore-Bore 'the creator of all things,' Oyakopon was the god who made them all.
Osawa - The sky god of the Elkoi.
Pemba - Pemba and Faro descended from the sky, but first it was Pemba who sought to govern the world. This is a tale told by the Bambara people.
Ruhanga - God of the Ugandan Manyoro tribes. Ruhanga's providence is personified in a spirit of plenty and fertility. Ruhanga cares for man yet he is the creator of diseases, sickness and death.
Soko - The Nupe, a small nomadic people living in northern Nigeria revere Soko. This deity is a creator god, he introduced witch craft into the world.
Sopona - The Yoruban god of smallpox. He prowls about when the sun is hot robed in scarlet. Though zealously propitiated, he lacks the authority of Esu.
Tilo - God of the Tinga tribes of Zambia and Malawi. Although Tilo is associated with lightning, the word can also mean blue sky. This sky god kills and makes alive.
Tohwiyo - The divine founding ancestors of the Fon clans.
Tsoede - The Nupe cultural founder hero. Having seized the throne by killing his uncle, Prince Nupe extended the frontiers of the Nupe kingdom and introduced his subjects to the rudiments of technology.
Unkulunkulu - The Zulu, once the most warlike nation in southern Africa, conceive of the omnipotence of their god in political terms. The irresistible, he who bends down even majesties, he who roars so that all nations are struck in terror are just some of the names that are used to describe him.
Utixo - God of the Hottentots: a benevolent deity who inhabits the sky, sends rain for crops and speaks with the voice of thunder.
Were - The Luo of Kenya have various names for their supreme deity. He is our father, the father of the ancestors, the father of all, the one with a temper, the kind one, the merciful, the ancient one, seer, father of all peoples, lord of the earth, worker of miracles, almighty, great warrior, god of heaven, unconquerable, lord of the future, king old kings, and eye of the sun. He causes both the birth and death of individuals.
Zanahary - The supreme deity of the Madagascan pantheon. A multiple deity with male and female aspects. as well as celestial and terrestrial manifestations. The wife of Zanahary is the queen of heaven.