Unkulunkulu

uNkuluNkulu (NkuluNkulu, The Great Oldest One, Ancestor) Zulu (South Africa) The Supreme God and Creator of all things. Unkulunkulu grew upon a reed in the mythical swamp Uthlanga (Uhlanga) and fell to Earth when he became too heavy. He broke off the people, cattle, and other animals from the reeds, and they followed him out of the reeds. Unkulunkulu created everything that exists on Earth—mountains, rivers, and all living things. He named the animals and taught humans how to hunt, make fire with sticks, and cultivate grain. (See also Zulu creation account.) Unkulunkulu is sometimes called Ukqili (The Wise One) and as such controls the lightning. (See also thunder and lightning.) The Zulu consider that all cattle belong to him; they are his gift to humans. When lightning strikes and kills one of the cattle, the Zulu say that Unkulunkulu has slaughtered food for himself. Unkulunkulu was responsible for the origin of death. He sent a chameleon named Unwaba to give people the message that when they died, they would be reborn. Unwaba went along very slowly and stopped at a bush to eat. So Unkulunkulu sent a lizard with a second message: Death would be the end, and people would not be reborn. The lizard arrived first with the message of death. Not knowing what death was, the people accepted it. When Unwaba arrived, they would not listen to its message. (In another version of the myth, the messages were sent by Umvelinqangi, the sky Father.) According to Zulu tradition, when people die, their spirits go to the sky to live. It is said that the stars are the eyes of the dead looking at the human world.

Taken from African Mythology A to Z – Library Binding – May 1, 2010- Second Edition – Written by Patricia Ann Lynch (Author), Jeremy Roberts Dr (Editor) – Copyright © 2004, 2010 by Patricia Ann Lynch

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