Death has always been of great concern to humans. Why do we die? There are so many death-origin myths that try to answer this mystery.

These myths tend to reveal the essential elements that existed in those cultures. 

πŸ’š The Jealous god

A long time ago, Abassi (god) created humans (man and woman) but feared their ambitions. Had it not been for the intervention of Atai(the wife), they would not have been allowed to live on earth in the fertile lands of the Ifek (present-day Nigeria and parts of Cameroon).

Abassi insisted that they take all their meals with him. They were forbidden from growing or hunting for food and from procreating.

Each day a bell rang to call the humans up to Abbasi's table for meals. They obediently followed all the rules, and Abassi was pleased.

One day the woman was roaming the field when she bumped into some nice seeds and decided to grow them. They liked the food so much that they stopped showing up in Heaven for meals. Soon, the man and woman worked the fields together, and before long, one thing led to another and there were children.

They tried to hide the children, but eventually, Abassi saw them and became hysterical. He blamed Atai for not recognizing his fears about the humans in the first place.

"Look," he said, "they are making their food, procreating, and they have forgotten all about me; see what you have done?" 

"Don't worry," said Atai. "I will not let them take more power".

She sent down death and discord to keep the people in their place and that is how death came to be.

🍌The Banana tree and the Moon.

Many years ago, in the land of the Malagasy, God created humans (first man and woman) and prepared to put them on earth. He, however, was troubled at how quickly humans would reproduce, therefore creating death to limit the earth’s population.

He gave them two options; the first was the death of the banana tree, which does not come back but leaves behind green shoots so that its offspring can carry on in its place. The second was that of the moon, which dies and fades away each month, but revives bit by bit to live again.

The couple thought things through and weighed the two options. If they decided to choose the moon they would always be restored to life but be lonely as they would only have each other’s company. However, if they went with the death of the banana, they would have children to love, but, in time, they would grow old and die.

They told God of their preference to be fruitful like the banana tree. God granted their wish, and they had many children that filled their lives with so much love and joy. Ultimately, when they were very old, they died, never to come back, just as the banana tree does. Since then, all humans must die and make room for new life to grow.

πŸ• The Greedy Dog.

When disease descended upon the Krachi people in the form of a human-flesh-eating giant bird, Wulbari, the heaven god and creator of the humans sent a dog with the medicine to cure them. 

On his way to deliver the medicine, the dog saw a bone. The dog put the medicine down and started crunching on it.

Unbeknown to the dog, the goat picked up the medicine and gave it to the grass instead of the humans.

That is the reason why the grass comes back every year, whereas people die. 

Special Mentions

πŸ“Œ Hometeam History - The Origin of death (Baganda)

We will publish more stories on the origin of death myths on the Lughyangu platform throughout the week. Remember to signup, and don't forget to leave a thumbs up.

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In the next issue, we will still discuss interesting stories on African mythology

Special thanks to Stephanie for editing.

Talk to you soon. Remember, it is time to tell our own stories.

Mike.