African Gods: 10 Mythological Figures You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

African Gods

There are many gods across the African continent that it is almost impossible to enumerate them all. This is hardly surprising given that the African continent is home to more than 1.2 billion people spread across more than 3,000 tribes and 30.37 million km² of land.

In this article, you will learn about ten powerful African Gods from across the continent. The names of these mythological figures inspire veneration, devoutness, and even fear.

1. Oya  

The first African God on our list is the goddess Oya. Oya is the goddess of weather, especially tornadoes, lightning, destructive rainstorms, and fire. She is also the goddess of female leadership, persuasive charm, and transformation. 

She is a fierce warrior and strong protector of women. When women find themselves in difficult situations, they call on Oya to come to their aid.

The ferocious and protective deity is worshipped by the Yoruba in Nigeria and is regarded as one of the most powerful gods in the Macumba religion. The Macumba religion is also practised in Brazil and parts of South America.

2. Nyami Nyami 

Our second African God, Nyami Nyami, is from Southern Africa. Also known as the Zambezi River god or Zambezi Snake spirit, Nyami Nyami is one of the most important Gods to the Tonga people of Zambia and Zimbabwe.  

This African God is often depicted as being a dragon-like creature with a snake’s body and the head of a fish.  

According to mythology, Nyami Nyami resides in the Zambezi River and controls life in and on the water together with his wife Kitapo. He protects the Tonga people and gives them sustenance during difficult times.

3. Kibuka 

Kibuka is the war god of the Buganda tribe from East Africa. He and his brother Mukasa are the two principal gods of the Baganda. According to some sources, Kibuka provides counsel to the Baganda kings during periods of war and strife.   

Locals believe that both Kibuka and his older brother, Mukasa, used to be mortals who later attained godhood.

4. Mawu-Lisa  

Mawu-Lisa is the primary deity for the Fon people in Bennin and parts of West Africa. This complex deity is a dualistic figure combining the female Mawu and the male Lisa.  

Among the Fon, Mawu is associated with the moon, night, fertility, motherhood, gentleness, forgiveness, rest, and joy. Lisa is associated with the complementary qualities of the sun, day, heat, work, power, war, strength, and toughness.

5. Mami Wata

Next on the list of powerful African Gods is Mami Wata. Mami Wata is a water spirit that is sometimes depicted as having the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a fish. However, according to mythology, the deity can transform her body into any form of her choice.  

Mami Wata is venerated in Western, Central, and Southern Africa as well as in the African diaspora in North and South America.  

The water goddess is highly respected and feared in equal measure. She is believed to be a provider of wealth and riches to her followers. She is also the protector of women and children.

African god

6. Inkosazana

Inkosazana is the young and beautiful goddess of rain and agriculture for the Zulu people of South Africa. She is a member of the Zulu pantheon of gods and is often referred to as the “heavenly princess.”

In the Zulu people’s traditional religion, Inkosazana is associated with agriculture and growth. She is also the patron goddess of girls and young unmarried women.    

According to legend if any man looks at her directly, they will fall sick and die.  

7. Anansi

Anansi is a West African god who is often portrayed as a trickster. His name translates to Spider and he is often depicted as such. Ananzi is considered to be the god of all knowledge of stories. He is also one of the most important characters of West African, African American, and Caribbean folklore. 

The deity is renowned for his ability to outsmart and triumph over more powerful opponents through his ingenuity. He is credited with teaching humans how to take care of themselves through agriculture and hunting.

8. Tano 

Tano is the God of War and Strife and is one of the most important gods in the Ashanti mythology of Ghana. He is also a river god and is represented by the Tano River which is located in Ghana. He is known as a nature god and a war god.  

Unlike most war deities in mythology, Tano does not get along with death and is his rival.  

9. Oshun

Among the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria and Benin, Oshun is the goddess (orisha) of water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. Oshun’s energy can heal and create life, but she can also take it away if she feels that we are ungrateful for what she has given. She represents everything lush, fertile, and juicy in our world.

Followers of the goddess call on Oshun for help with fertility and to cure ailments when modern medicine doesn’t work. 

10. Horus

No list of African Gods would be complete without an Egyptian god. Horus is the god of the sky and kingship. He is one of the earliest and most significant Egyptian mythological figures.  

He is often depicted as a falcon-headed man wearing a double crown. Horus serves as the provider and protector of the Egyptian people, especially the royalty of Egypt. He is the avenger of the wrongs and the defender of order.  

To learn more about African mythology click here.

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