I been collecting en sharing stories for moons going on decades now for de love, survival en nourishment of mi soul en others. There’s a hadithi I know it’s about de earth en how it floats in space on de back of a turtle, I read it in The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King, one of the books that dis blog owes its existence to, not only for de full on embracing of his ‘beginning’ in dis series of ‘Hadithi Zetu’ but for de legacies en continued guidance en protection of his wahenga. In that spirit of intimacy or dis ting we call ubuntu..

as photographed by Toyin Coker

Kuna hadithi najua vile, hapo zamani za kale, jua na maji were great friends, en both lived on de earth together. The sun very often used to visit de wota, but maji never returned his visits. At last de jua asked maji why it was he never came to see him in his house. Maji replied that de sun’s house was not big enough, en that if s/he came with hir people s/he would drive de sun out.

Maji then said, “If you wish me to visit you, you must build a very large compound; but I warn you that it will have to be a tremendous place, as my people are numerous en take up alot of room.”

De jua promised to build a very big compound, en soon afterward he returned home to his wife, de moon, who greeted him with a broad smile when he opened de door. De Jua told de moon what he had promised de maji, en de next day he started building a huge compound in which to entertain his friend.

When it was completed, he asked de maji to come en visit him de next day.

When maji arrived, s/he called out to de sun en asked him whether it would be safe for hir to enter, en de ju answered, “Yes, come in, mi rafiki.”

De maji began to flow in, accompanied by de fish en all de wota animals.

photographed by Toyin Coker

Very soon de maji was knee deep, so he asked de sun if it was still safe, en de jua again said, “Yes,” so mo maji came in.

When de water was level with de top of a man’s head, de maji said to de sun, “Do you want mo of my people to come?”

De sun en de moon answered, “Yes,” not knowing any betta, so de maji flowed in, until de sun en moon had to perch themselves on de top of de roof.

Again de maji addressed de sun, but, receiving de same answer, en more of his people rushing in, de wota very soon overflowed de top of de roof, en de sun en de moon were forced to go up into de sky, where they have remained ever since.

Hadithi wa Ibibio-efik, via Best Loved Folktales of The World [ selected by Joanna Cole]

And there’s another story I know bout the Origin of Death as retold by de (wA)Kamba people of Kenya

 Asasi wa Kifo

And how did it happen?

It is God/dess who created men. And since God/dess has pity, S/he said, “I do not wish men to die altogether. I wish that men, having died, should rise again.” And so he created men en placed them in another region. But he stayed at home.

And then God/dess saw de chameleon en de weaver bird. After he had spent three days with de chameleon en de weaver bird, He recognised that de weaver bird was a great maker of words compounded of lies en truth. Now of lies there were many, but of de words of truth there were few.

Then s/he watched de chameleon en recognised that he had great intelligence. He did not lie. His words were true. So he spoke to de chameleon, “Chameleon, go into that region where I have placed de men I have created, en tell them that when they have died, even if they are altogether dead, they shall still rise again-that each man shall rise again after he dies.”

De chameleon said, “Yes, I will go there.” But he went slowly, for it his fashion to go slowly. De weaver bird had stayed behind with God/dess.

De chameleon travelled on, en when he had arrived at his destination, he said, “I was told, I was told, I was told……” But he did not say what he had been told.

De weaver bird said to God/dess, “I wish to step out for a moment.”

And God/dess said to him, “Go!”

But de weaver bird, since he is a ndege, flew swiftly, en arrived at de place where de chameleon was speaking to de people en saying, “I was told…..” Everyone was gathered there to listen. When de weaver bird arrived, he said, “What was told to us? Truly, we were told that men, when they are dead, shall perish like de roots of de aloe.”

Then de chameleon exclaimed, “But we were told, we were told, we were told, that when men are dead, they shall rise again.”

Then de magpie interposed en said, “De first speech is de wise one.”

And now all de people left en returned to their homes. This was de way it happened.

And so men become old en die; they do not rise again.