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Author of the Entry:
Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Eleanor A. Dasi, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Karolina Anna Kulpa, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enoch Tanyi (Storyteller)
Age of Narrator: 60 (in 2018)
Social status: Retired Agricultural and Forestry Technician – Enoch is a Ghanaian citizen who has lived in Cameroon for over 30 years
Profession: Retired Agricultural and Forestry Technician
Language of narration: English
Bio prepared by Daniel A. Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, email@example.com and Divine Che Neba, University of Yaoundé 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cultural Background: Asante kingdom of Ghana is one of the oldest in Africa, founded in the 1670s by the Ashanti Emperor, Asantehene Osei Tutu. The Asante people have a rich cultural heritage of music, folklore and mythology, including this famous Anansi Myth. It is a predominantly male-dominated society, with deep-rooted believes in Spiritism, life after death and the powerful influence of ancestors on the lives of the community. There is also a very strong culture of initiation rites through which the male child must pass in order to be initiated to into adulthood.
Place of performance: Yaoundé
Anansi is a myth of the people of Asante on the coast of Ghana. This myth is centered on the character and ingenuity of Anansi, who succeeded through tricks to bring stories from the gods to his people and gave them wisdom. It is believed that Anansi is a mystical figure, who acts on behalf of Nyame, his father, and the Sky Father (God). He has the ability to bring rain and to stop wild fires. In some sectors of the Asante clan, Anansi is believed to be responsible for creating the sun, the stars and the moon, as well as teaching mankind the techniques of agriculture. He is often depicted as a spider, a human or a combination of both.
Anansi’s actions, in the above myth, may bring up the mythical character of Prometheus, who tricked Zeus in favor of mankind. Anansi and Prometheus may both be viewed as benefactors and protectors of humanity. Anansi is presented as a source of wisdom, foresight and guidance for his people. Through his tricks he managed to convince the Sky-God to release the stories which he brought to his people.
Within Africa, tricksters which share similar traits with Anansi include: Eshu in Yoruba mythology; the Rabbit, Tortoise, Spider and Hare in some West, East, Southern and Central African communities. It is important to note that these animals are sometimes metaphors for human tricksters present in African communities and beyond.
Appiah, Peggy, Tales of an Ashanti Father, Beacon Press, 1988.
Haase, Donald, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008, 31.
James, Cynthia, Searching for Ananse: From Orature to Literature in the West Indian Children’s Folk Tradition—Jamaican and Traditional Trends, Trinidad University of the West Indes, 2004, available at shenjiva.com as RTF file (accessed: June 4, 2019).
Krensky, Stephen, Ananse and the Box of Stories: A West African Folktale, Millbrook Press, 2007
Zobel Marshall, Emily, Anansi's Journey: A Story of Jamaican Resistance, Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2012.
Researcher: Daniel A. Nkemleke