In Zulu folkloric tradition, the Abatwa of South Africa are tiny, peaceful, humanlike beings. Abatwa are described as living in anthills or wandering in the mountains, sometimes using anthills for shelter. Some accounts tell of Abatwa that live in dwellings that are only disguised to look like anthills for the safety of the Abatwa living there. The corridors and rooms within are ornamented with wall paintings and mosaics made of colored seeds.
These beings are so small that they can hide under blades of grass and ride on ants. Perhaps because of their small size, the Abatwa are shy of humans. Only children under the age of four, wizards, and pregnant women are able to see the Abatwa. If a pregnant woman sees a male Abatwa, it means she is carrying a boy; seeing a female Abatwa predicts the birth of a girl.
The Abatwa are said to enjoy helping people, often giving them aid and good advice. But if the Abatwa are offended by a foolish human or if someone is clumsy enough to step on one of them, they shoot tiny but very poisonous arrows at the offender.