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Unkulunkulu

Subject: Religion

Africa Literally, ‘chief’. The Zulu, once the most warlike nation in southern Africa, conceive of their sky god's omnipotence in political terms. He is uGuqabadele, ‘the ...

Unkulunkulu

Unkulunkulu (Africa)   Quick reference

A Dictionary of World Mythology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003

... Africa Literally, ‘chief’. The Zulu, once the most warlike nation in southern Africa, conceive of their sky god's omnipotence in political terms. He is uGuqabadele, ‘the irresistible’; uGobungqongqo, ‘he who bends down even majesties’; and uMabonga-kutuk-izizwe-zonke, ‘he who roars so that all nations are struck with terror’. Like their armies of old, the sky god tolerates no physical opposition. Unkulunkulu—sometimes called uKqili, ‘the wise one’—is a self-originating deity. The Zulu describe him as uZivelele, ‘he who is of himself’. Having ‘come...

Unkulunkulu

Unkulunkulu  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
AfricaLiterally, ‘chief’. The Zulu, once the most warlike nation in southern Africa, conceive of their sky god's omnipotence in political terms. He is uGuqabadele, ‘the irresistible’; uGobungqongqo, ...
Zulu Creation

Zulu Creation  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
Unkulunkulu, the Ancient One, is the Zulu creator. Nobody knows where he is now; he came originally—that is, he “broke off”—from some reeds, which play the role originally played by ...
Zulu Creation

Zulu Creation   Reference library

A Dictionary of Creation Myths

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009

...cattle, streams, snakes. He taught the Zulu how to hunt, how to make fire with sticks, and how to eat corn. He named the animals for them. The people say that Unkulunkulu is in everything; Unkulunkulu is the corn, the tree, the water. Some say that a woman followed him out of the original reeds, then a cow and a bull, then the other pairs of animals. Whatever the story, Unkulunkulu was the first man and there was nothing before him; yet he broke off from the source. Source: Leach,...

Sacred and Profane

Sacred and Profane   Reference library

The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Regional and National History, Philosophy
Length:
1,079 words

...of Africa. In so doing, he helped in challenging the often prevailing stereotypes that saw African religious thinking and beliefs as inherently primitive and “this”-worldly. Through the idea of the omnipotent sky or great God in African thought, be it the Zulu (South Africa) Unkulunkulu or the Bamum (Cameroon) Njinyi or Nnui , the reality of a profane world is also highlighted, and the complexity of African thought on the sacred and profane is evident. For the omnipotent God is not necessarily involved in everyday human activities that, although not always...

African mythology

African mythology   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to World Mythology

...elements of their monotheistic concept of God to African high gods, thus obliterating earlier stories of those gods. In any case, more important to most Bantus than the supreme deity concept seems to be the first man–culture hero figure. The Zulus, for instance, have Unkulunkulu, made in the image of the supreme being, who was born miraculously from the earth—that is from the goddess associated with earth—and who teaches humans what they need to know. Like many Native North American trickster–culture heroes— Raven and Coyote , for example—he also...

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