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5 Interesting African Folklore You Should Read

Interesting African Folklore and more you should read

African tradition and stories go hand in hand. This is more prevalent due to the fact that most traditions or practices in Africa are passed down orally, from generation to generation. 

Folktales make up for a majority of our childhood memories. The days back when we could gather around a spot in groups and tell stories among ourselves trying to see the one who could make their friends laugh the hardest. As we grow, most things fade away as we leave the past behind and move onwards to brave the storms of life. However, we never forget the past and what gave us the most joy in our childhood.

Below we share 5 out of Many Interesting African folklore that made our childhood great!


Jabu and the Lion

Interesting African folklore

This is a story about a young boy who found a lion trapped in a cage. The Lion convinced Jabu to release it and promised not to eat him. Jabu went ahead and the Lion failed to keep it’s promise. However a jackal managed to trick the Lion back into the trap. 

There’s a moral lesson to this story, and that is to always try to keep your promises, else people won’t help you when you’re back in a similar situation.


Why The Cheetah’s Cheeks Are Stained

This one is about a hunter who was so lazy that he decided to steal a Cheetah’s cubs so he could raise them to hunt for him. Well the cheetah found her cubs missing and panicked, she cried so hard that it drew marks down her face. She did get her cubs back in the end. 

This story teaches us to empathize with people and not be lazy. As kids we would feel sorry for the cheetah, and view the hunter as the bad person because of his laziness. So we would all aspire to be productive people in society so that mommy cheetah doesn’t cry again.

There are many versions of why the Cheetah’s Cheeks are Stained. They all have lessons to be learnt from it. 


Three Hairs Of A Lion

This story is an interesting African folklore. It is about a boy who lost his mom and his dad got remarried. Well he didn’t get along with his new mother, however she did love him. Sad and frustrated, she went to the wise man for advice and he asked her to get three hairs from a lion. This seemingly impossible task was completed by her then she went back to the wise man and wanted the answer to her situation. The wise man simply told her to have patience and take things easy. The little boy will eventually grow to like her, just like how the Lion did and allowed her to get close enough to pluck three of its hair. 

This teaches patience and perseverance. You may not be able to achieve something right away, but always have heart and be patient. Also always give someone time to warm up to you. Everyone is different, sometimes all they need is a little space.


Greedy Ananse 

Ananse is known pretty much everywhere. He takes the persona of a little spider in the corner of your room listening in on all your secrets and causing mischief. 

However, in this story, he takes the role of a young boy in an impoverished family during a famine. Well, Ananse chances upon an encounter and manages to obtain a pot from an old man that magically produces food.

As you would have imagined, Ananse didn’t share at all, till he lost the pot to his family. 

Surprisingly he goes back to complain to the old man and is then given a stick. This stick magically beats him instead. This quickly made him change his selfish habits. 

What a way to teach young children how to share. It did work quite well though. So it was quite worth it.

Last but not least on the list of interesting African Folklore is


House in the sky

This is about a person that everyone practically hates. A king deliberately comes to find an excuse to end him off by giving him the task of building a house in the sky for him. 

This man agrees to the task and “completes” it by attaching a bell to a kite, then goes to ask the king for wood to start building the house in the sky. Claiming the workers were in the sky ringing the bell to start working. 

The king then proceeds to send his soldiers to deliver wood for the mansion. Well, the man tells the soldiers to climb the kite string and send the wood up to the “workers” in the air. The soldiers find this impossible and then go to find the King. The king then agrees that it really is impossible and the man is let go. 

You would think everyone there was quite stupid. 

However, there’s always something to learn from these stories. Maybe next time don’t become so hated that someone would set you up for failure. Not everyone has the ability to think their way out of a difficult situation that fast. Sometimes it’s best to just lay low and mind your own business.


Read our African Proverbs and Their Meanings

There’s many more interesting African folklore out there, both funny and entertaining but with different moral lessons to be learnt from them.

What’s your favourite one from this list? Comment below in the comments section and we will reply asap. 


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