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This is a brief summary of the myths as it is available on the internet. However, I also sat down with Babila Mutia to talk about the myth. His account of the story was largely similar to those found on the internet (see links)
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We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, email@example.com
, b. 1951
Babila Mutia is an associate professor in oral literature and creative writing in the department of English at ENS, University of Yaounde 1. He is a widely travelled short stories writer. He earned his BA in English from the University of Benin in Nigeria, his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor, Canada and a PhD in English from Dalhousie University, Canada. He has been a visiting Fulbright scholar in Western Washington University. He is a professional storyteller whose short story The Tiger Trail was broadcast on the BBC in 1979. His best known published works include: Whose Land (1996), Coils of Mortal Flesh (2008) and The Miracle (2012).
Bio prepared by Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Region: Kwazulu Natal in South Africa
The Zulu belief system include ancestral spirits, which they believe are omnipresent in their daily lives. Zulu people may use them as mediums to communicate with their ancestors with the aid of sacrifices.
Cultural influences: The myth of Tokoloshe has influenced many cultural productions in Africa and beyond, see the following links:
The South African Tokoloshe, roadtravelafrica.com, May 21, 2011 (accessed: August 22, 2018).
Creatures from African Mythology: Tokoloshe, theillustrationist.com, January 10, 2013 (accessed: August 22, 2018).
Tikoloshe, en.wikipedia.org (accessed: August 22, 2018).
Tokoloshe, Myth or Reality?, news24.com, September 1, 2013 (accessed: August 22, 2018).
Tokoloshe Myth of Southern Africa (Google's graphics). google.fr (accessed: August 22, 2018).
According to Zulu myth, the Tikoloshe is a mischievous dwarf spirit that becomes invisible when it drinks water. It is said to rape women and bite people’s toes in their sleep as well as cause illness and death. Elders often use it to dissuade children from bad behaviour. It is believed that women who are harassed by witches at night offer Tikoloshe gifts such as salt and milk to keep off the witches from making love to them all night long*. Tikoloshes manifest in different forms such as dwarf-like gremlins or bear-like humanoid beings. Some Zulu people believe that the traditional priests, shammas or dibias can employ a Tikoloshe to wreak vengeance on offenders. They are usually blamed for all sort of misfortune. Many people and children even dread mentioning its name for fear of attracting its wrath.
* The phenomenon of witches making love to women at night is very lively in Cameroon, especially in the western region. The phenomenon is referred to as “Poisson de nuit” (“night poison”). According to the stories, women experience love making in their dreams and would wake up in the morning to find that they are wet. When this happens, it is believed they need to seek the services of a Marabout to cleanse them otherwise they became barren. If you travel from Yaoundé to Bafussam by bus today in Cameroon, you would find people selling items that can help women keep away these witches.
Tikoloshe is a tale of a kind of witchcraft and sorcery practiced on humans, particularly at night. This phenomenon finds parallels in the communities of the North West and Western Regions of Cameroon. According to the stories, women experience love making in their dreams and would wake up in the morning to find that they are wet. It is also represented by victims being fed with delicious meals in their dreams, and when they wake up to find that they actually ate the food, it means they have ingested some poison. The phenomenon is referred to as night poison or “poison de nuit.” When this happens, the victims need to seek the services of a tradi-practioner to cleanse them otherwise they will become barren or may die. Some people even sell antidotes to this phenomenon on the buses travelling plying major roads in Cameroon.
McNab, Chris, Mythological Monsters, New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2007.
Scholtz, Pieter, Tales of the Tokoloshe, Johannesburg: Struik Publishers, 2005.