Nyami Nyami, the Zambezi river god, the supplier of water and food and the protector of the Tonga people is pissed.

His territory and place of residence has been tainted.

"How dare you separate me from my wife!" he curses.

With his snake-like body and head of a fish, he lurks in the dark waters of the Zambezi River, waiting for an opportunity to cause havoc on the invaders constructing the Kariba dam.

Just as they are about to complete the project, he strikes with fury!

He unleashes the worst floods ever witnessed on the Zambezi, washing away most of the dam, killing many workers in the process and taking with him some of the white men.

To appease him, the Tonga elders slaughter a black calf and float it on the river.

The next morning, the sacrifice is gone and instead replaced by the bodies of the dead workers who had been missing for three days.


This tale is just one of the legends surrounding the mythical Nyami Nyami. It led me down a rabbit hole of reading African folktales, and I managed to compile a list of some of my favourites:

The Cow Tail Switch - A Man is not really dead until he is Forgotten.

Why the Hen Preys on Chicks - An insatiable appetite for Apples leads to a chain of ripple events.

The Adventures of a Jackal - What goes around comes around.


Did you Know?

GriGri(Talisman) is a voodoo amulet believed to protect the wearer from evil or bring good luck and is sometimes used as a method of birth control.


Why the Hare and Hyena are not friends - He works like a tractor. He weeds, he plants, he cuts, we harvest.

Why the Hyena is Lame - How can the sick help the sick?

Honeyguide's revenge - Yes, I will remember

King of the Birds - Leadership is all about skill and wisdom and not size.


Fun Fact

The Sleeping child phenomenon: In Moroccan society, it is believed that a foetus can be rendered dormant using black or white magic. The foetus may eventually wake up and be born after a normal pregnancy term. This explanation is sometimes used by divorced or separated women expecting their ex-husbands to acknowledge the paternity of children born up to 12 months after separation.


Why the Worms Live Underneath the Ground - A Nigerian Folktale

Why dead people are buried - Focus my friend.

The Lion and the Wolf - \"Look at his face! Look at his face!\”

Available on Lughayangu

βœ… The Hyena and the Hare (A Wanga-Luhya Folktale)

βœ… Why do Bats πŸ¦‡ fly at night?

βœ… How The Tortoise Got The Cracks On His Shell 🐒

βœ… Anansi πŸ•·οΈ and the Turtle 🐒

βœ… The Hare🐰 and the Elephant 🐘

βœ… Anansi πŸ•·οΈ and the Chameleon 🦎/Why spiders hide in the corners of Houses

Special Mentions

The Legends of Coco de Mer - The nuts that fall upwards, look like a woman's bum and are the largest seeds in the plant kingdom.

The coward but wise man Igal Shidad - Adopted from a Somali folklore book, The Travels of Igad Shidad

Nyamgodho wuod Ombare -The miracle worker

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