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Shannon Carr

March 24, 2013


Masks, Myths, and Identity
Dont Know Much About Mythology
Reading Response 3

Out of Africa
The Myths of Sub-Saharan Africa
This is historically misguided, because Africa is the
place where humanity was born, as well as the
fountainhead of a vast and rich tradition of myth,
magic, and music. The second largest and second
most populous continent after Asia, Africa is where
most evidence of the earliest human ancestors has
been found, leaving little doubt that we are all out of
Africa.
Chapter eight in Dont Know Much About Mythology is titled, Out
of Africa. In this chapter, author, Kenneth C. Davis, discusses how
African mythology came about and its role in the African culture. There
has been research done on the first people of Africa from the bones,
stones, and fossils at sites in eastern Africa. Since then, Africans have
improved their tools, artwork, body decorations, and burials. Africa has
always been a home to many tribal groups and nomads. Usually, these
are the people who start the myths.
In the seventh century, the people of Africa started to lose their
beliefs in mythology due to outsiders taking over. The Islamic Arabs
helped eradicate their beliefs. Later in the twentieth century,
mythology became recognized again. Stories were told about
mischievous tricksters, tales of death, tales of mortality, powerful

ancestors and spirits, importance of family, importance of friends,


importance of community, and the dominating presence of the African
healers, priests, and shamans. African mythology was very rarely
recorded. It is hard to find the word for word myths these days. The
myths are still told orally though. Stories and myths were known to
hold the African villages together. Myths played the role of providing a
sense of history and cohesion in the villages. Africa also had creation
myths. The creation myths always had a creator God. Some of the
Gods include: Amma, Bumba, Cagn, Chuku, Imana, Kalumba, Leza,
Mawu and Liza, Ngai, Nyame, and Unkulunkulu. There were also
trickster and animal Gods who appeared in some of the African myths.
I chose the line, This is historically misguided, because Africa is
the place where humanity was born, as well as the fountainhead of a
vast and rich tradition of myth, magic, and music. The second largest
and second most populous continent after Asia, Africa is where most
evidence of the earliest human ancestors has been found, leaving little
doubt that we are all out of Africa, (page 404), from the Out of Africa
chapter because I felt that it summarized Africas connection to
mythology well. From reading chapter eight, it is clear that African
mythology does exists even though it is not always written, and it
descends from ancestors. There are different types of mythology used
throughout Africa, but they all have the same purpose and helped keep
communities together.

I found the part about creation mythology from the reading to be


the most interesting to me because I have always wondered about
other cultures and how they explain things to their children. This
section gave me a chance to compare it to our culture in America and
see the similarities and differences amongst the two nations.
Mythology is interesting everywhere, but it is always fun to see how
other cultures go about it.