RIGHT NOW: AKANTUNSE
KABUMBA, in conjunction with our wonderful partners, would like to officially announce our debut project –AKANTUNSE.
The project celebrates 9 figures of African mythology, folklore, and cosmology –reimagining them as contemporary, black, young, as well as fun characters.
Through a variety of media, the AKANTUNSE project considers figures from West, North-East, Central, Southern Africa, and (by extension) the Caribbean.
Motivated by an apparent need to reconcile the continent's past, contemporary, and future narratives, we hope that this project helps raise awareness of the figures included, but that it also prompts young people to further explore existing narratives and create new ones of/for the African continent and it's people.
AKANTUNSE (in the Bemba language of Zambia’s Bemba people) means 'a thing that was, is, and forever will be.'
An initiate conduit of life, death, and the cosmology of his people —he belongs to a secret brotherhood within Chewa society called Nyau. These young men are often seen at important ceremonies performing ritualistic dance. The Chewa believe that life exists within their ancestors, those not yet born, and those living.
Dzivaguru is the creation goddess credited with designing, nurturing, and providing for the ancestral home of the Korekore Shonas. She is therefore believed to be the mother goddess of the Shona-speaking people of Korekore in Zimbabwe.
An Obayifo was a vampire-like mythological creature of West African origin that first appeared in the folklore of the Ashanti (of present-day Ghana). Obayifo were also known as Asiman by the Dahomey people (of present-day Benin) and were also considered a kind of sorceress. In Ashanti folklore Obayifo are very common and may inhabit the bodies of ordinary people
According to legend Nyami Nyami (sometimes known as The Great Mudzimu) was the chief god of the Tonga people of Southern Zambian (and a small fraction of Northern Zimbabwe). He was believed to be a paramount source of protection and sustenance and was sometimes described as having taken up form as a whirlpool or river dragon.
Yemaya (Yemoja in Yoruba) is the Yoruba Orisha or Goddess of the living Ocean, she was considered the mother of all and is often depicted as a mermaid or moon goddess. Yemaya belongs to an ancient pantheon of gods and goddesses native to the Yoruba people of South-Western Nigeria.
In West African and Caribbean folklore Anansi was often celebrated for his charisma, cunning wit, and penchant for turning the tables on his very powerful enemies. Many enslaved Africans carried these stories across the Atlantic with them, drawing inspiration from them, and converting Anansi into a symbol of slave rebellion.
In Yoruba mythology, Oshun is the Orisha goddess of love, beauty, luxury, fresh waters, and statesmanship. Fondly referred to as the mother of all sweet things, she is often depicted in honey-yellow or gold, while holding a mirror up to herself in admiration. The legend of Oshun is native to the Yoruba people of South-Western Nigeria.
Yumboes were a kind of fairy-race in the mythology of the Wolof-Lebou people on Goree Island (Senegal, West Africa. Goree island is also home to the horrific House of Slaves (and it’s Door of No Return) which served as a final exit point for slaves from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade. Yumboes are said to have occasionally and mysteriously helped captives and would-be slaves escape snatchers and find their way back home
A popular Jewish and Arab myth maintains that the Queen of Sheba and mythical matriarch of the Ethiopian Royal Family (Makeda) was a jinn, born half human and half spirit. In Islam Jinn are said to be made of smokeless fire, have fiery eyes, and possess super-speed as well as shapeshifting abilities.