African Arts & Culture

African Deities That Are Still Worshipped Till Today – Africa Facts Zone

Story Highlights

  • Bumba | Congo
  • Ala | Nigeria
  • Agé-Fon | Benin Republic
  • Modjaji-South Africa 

Africa Facts Zone presents African deities that are still worshipped till this day. Africans had their own form of worship and religion. They believed in “one true God”, who can be reached via various smaller gods which are known as African deities.

In what is now known as African traditional religion and practices, the name of God is translated into various words in many African languages.

African mythology covers a vast area. The African continent includes so many countries, regions, languages, tribes, cultures. Traditional African belief is overwhelmingly monotheistic. They belive in only one God, who can be reached via various smaller gods.

Here are the African deities, who have been worshipped before Christianity & Islam found its way to the continent.

African Deities: Bumba | Congo

From the Bushongo in the Congo comes Bumba, the African Creator God of Vomit. Yes, vomit.

In the beginning, all was dark. Then out of the darkness came Bumba, a giant pale-skinned figure. He was not feeling well. In fact he had not been feeling well for millions of years. He was lonely, and the unbearable solitude was making him ill.

Troubled by a ballooning bellyache, he staggered, moaned and vomited up the Sun. Light burst forth into the Universe — and he choked out the Moon. The stars came next and then, with a tremendous effort, he threw up the planet Earth. We do live in a very sick world.

This nauseating display was brought to a triumphant conclusion when, as an encore, he vomited forth nine animals, an assortment of humans, and a pile of diced carrots.

Exhausted from his labors, he sat and watched as the nine creatures multiplied. After a while, they had evolved into every living thing on Earth. Which just shows that Creationism and Evolution are both right.

All his creatures were friendly and respectful. His loneliness abated and finally he was content.

Then Bumba’s children appeared. His three strapping sons were Nyonye Ngana, Chonganda and Chedi Bumba. They added the finishing touches and thus the world was made. But his fiery daughter Tsetse Bumba was quite a handful and had to be sent to the sky without her supper.

Bumba spoke kindly to his human creations before ascending to Heaven, never to be seen again. So far as we know, his stomach has never troubled him since.

Also Read: African Beads Precious Ornaments, Their Symbolism And Purpose

African Deities: Ala | Nigeria

Ala is a female deity and one of the most popular revered of all the Igbo deities. In Igbo, ‘Ala’ literally translates to earth in English, depicting her power over the earth.

Regarded as the wife of Amadioha, the sky god, Ala is the deity of the earth, morality, fertility and creativity. Also pronounced as Ale, Ani or Ana in the various dialects of the Igbo language, she is one of the oldest deities and is worshipped, especially by women, as part of the traditional Odinani religion.

She is the protector of women and children and sacrifices are offered to her if someone breaks a taboo or is seeking fertility of the womb or soil for a great harvest. During the annual yam festival, she is honoured and remembered.

It is believed that if she is angry, she not only convinces her husband to deprive the people of rain but also causes natural disasters.

African Deities: Agé-Fon | Benin Republic

Agé, a Fon deity, dates as far back as the Dahomey Empire. As the son of the creator goddess Mawu-Lisa, Agé was given the power and responsibility to protect and guide hunters during days and nights in the wilderness. He often refilled his energy and power from his mother and is believed to take the form of a young man in a hunters apparel guiding hunters.

During the days of wars and battles, Agé was called upon to protect and give strength to the warriors, leading them on which paths to take. Agé is honoured by sacrificing fleshy parts of the game caught  by hunters.

Modjaji-South Africa 

In South Africa, Modjaji is the rain goddess whose spirit resides in the body of a young woman who must be queen.

For the Balobedu people, the Rain Queen is a very important figure. There are several stories that account for how the rain goddess began to take up physical form. The Rain goddess has existed for as long as can be remembered. However, in the 16th century, it is believed that her spirit decided to dwell in a woman: Dzugundini, the princess of the Balebedu Kingdom who was impregnated by her own father, the King.

Modjaji has the power to start or stop the rain

Kibuka – Uganda 

For the Buganda Empire that has existed as early as the 9th century until the 14th century, Kibuku is a deity that has been with the people long before the Europeans arrived on the continent.

Kibuka is the Ugandan diety or lesser god of war.

According to oral history, the Bugandan army had suffered several defeats and the king, in a state of worry met with the almighty God, Mukasa. At their meeting, the king requested that Mukasa gave them assistance for war. Mukasa offered to help by offering his younger brother Kibuka as the diety. Before any war, the warriors always sang, danced and offered sacrifices in honour of Kibuka before going off to battle.

It is believed that Kibuka went ahead of warriors clearing their paths and directing them.

Nana Buluku – West Africa/Caribbean

As a deity, Nana Buluku comes in other forms among various West African traditional societies including the Fon in Benin. She can also be found within the Ewe communities in Togo and parts of Ghana as well as among the Akans. She is also strongly present and revered in Nigeria, among the Yoruba and Igbo traditional communities.

Among the Fon and Ewe in Ghana, she is known as Nana Bukuulu and Nana Bukuu; and Nana Kuruku among the Yoruba of Nigeria. The Igbos of Nigeria refer to her as the Olisabuluwa. The Akans of Ghana call her Nana Buruku.

Among these societies, she is still actively worshipped as the mother goddess. She is an ancient goddess appearing in the image of an old woman and is believed to be the creator of the world.

She is not only the most revered deity but also the genesis of any form of worship and religion in West Africa.

Also known to be the wisest deity, Nana Buluku is said to have travelled with her people on their ships during the slave trade. It is believed that her twins took turns in protecting the slaves.

Also Read: Cultural Heritage Of The Yorubas’ Olojo Festival & The City Of 201 Gods

Adroa – Central Africa

Adroa is the god of death with two characters: good and evil. Because of his duality, his body is split into two. One half is short and black which represents evil while the other half is tall and white and depicts goodness.

Adroa appears to people in whatever form best fits a situation. Usually half-bodied with one eye, one arm and leg, he often appears to people before they die.

Among the Lugbara people of Uganda and Congo, Adroa is also the creator of heaven and earth and sees everything that the living do.

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