African names for God?
Yes, theres quite the few actually. Now this topic could easily have been formed into a comprehensible book, not to say books, as there are (obviously) no shortage of names for the Almighty God of Ancient Israel, in the modern languages as well as the ancient ones.
On the left you see Ol Doinyo Lengai, which the Maasai name for Mountain of God, in East Africa. Now, using titles such as these God or even Uthixo (Xhosa word for God), is okay - I guess. If you dont know any better that is. However, when I pray, I use His real name: `So NiNi na NiNi`, which is incommunicable in Xhosa and a real grammatical mind bender. Why? Because its the Name of the one who made the earth, He made you and me, and everything in between really The Great `I am that I am...` His Names is to be revered, not necessarily understood. That being said, and you know what Name to use and call upon, lets go through the names of deities (angels and such) you should not even make mention of in your prayers or everyday speech. It truly is surprising how many of these deities are present in everyday speech, beit English or Arabic, Hebrew or even Xhosa (Ex. 23,13, Jos. 23,7).
Now most African Cultures (if not all of them) believe in a Supreme Creator of all things, they believe this in specific monotheistic form or another one close by. But when you look closer, its not that close at all. The theme a God behind the gods, so to speak, a Supreme being that created everything, is nothing new i Africa, although the similarities with The Almighty from the pages of the Bible, seems stop there as we delve into strange and murky waters, with lesser gods in the form of the earthly elements (wind, fire, water, etc), a god beyond sex (both male and female) a direct contradiction from So NiNi, who most certainly is a He, with a physical body like you and me, able to sit down and walk, among other things.
Africans in general do not easily accept concepts like these, but refer to a more abstract way of thinking, inherited in for instance Hindu philosophies no doubt, a divine being no less, within all animate and inanimate things, although not in the form described in The Biblical scriptures.
Naturally these descriptions from the Bible gets to much for people to ponder, how can He be all these things? I dont know how to explain it to you specifically as I dont know how you perceive the world in general - but I do know that He simply is and that wisdom is His `companion`. The `permeating wisdom, present from the Creation of the world, and readily available for all who ask of her. Just read the Book of Proverbs (1,20) - OR read the whole of Ben Sira or Wisdom of Solomon, she will be there waiting for you. Giving you sound instruction and prolonging your life. The female wisdom companion described in the Wisdom Books of Solomon and Ben Sira are also found in other African attempts in explaining Creation and religious beliefs of those unfavourable of the Biblical narrative.
The names of some deities
Leza (Central Africa)
Nyambe (West Tropics)
The above are generally parallel to titles and descriptions such as the Molder, Giver of Breath and Souls, God of Destiny, One Who Exists of Himself, God of Pity and Comfort, the Inexplicable, Ancient of Days, the One Who Bends Even Kings, the One You Meet Everywhere, etc. Among many tribes, the creation of the Earth took four days. The fifth day was reserved for worshipping the was also given the task of creating bodies out of clay (Very Biblical). When this was complete the Supreme Creator secretly placed the spark of life within the forms. These newly created humans were then placed on the Earth to live. Orisha Nla (Chief of the Deities) in one African language - OR simply means `go hungry` in Zulu and Xhosa. Beit the descriptions fit somewhat with the descriptions given in the Wisdom Books of the Bible, the names have obviously been changed, but the relationship has survived. The whole scene is borrowed, is what I am trying to say. This wisdom did create the earth with the instruction and aid of the Supreme Creator.
The gods and goddesses
Other names: "God in the sky", God on Earth", Creator God, River God. Location: The Lugbara of Zaire and Uganda. Description: He is pictured as tall and white with only half of his body visible. Rules Over: Social order, law, death.
Akuj Location: The Turkana of Kenya. Rules Over: Divination.
Ala Other Names: Ale, Ane. Location: The Ibo of Nigeria. Description: Extremely popular Goddess and Earth Mother. She is a Creator Goddess and Queen of the Dead. Rules Over: Community laws, morality, oaths, harvest.
Anayaroli Location: The Temne. Description: River demon. Rules Over: Wealth.
Asa Other Names: Father God, "the strong lord." Location: Akamba of Kenya. Rules Over: Mercy, help, surviving the impossible.
Asase Other Names: Yaa, Aberewa, Efua, "Old Woman Earth." Location: The Ashanti of West Africa. Description: Goddess of creation of humans and receiver of them at death. Rules Over: Cultivation, harvest.
Behanzin Location: West Africa. Description: Fish God.
Cagn Location: South Central Africa among the Bushman. Description: Creator God. Rules Over: Sorcery and Shape-Shifting.
Chiuta Other Names: Mulengi, Mwenco, Wamtatakuya Tumbuka. Description: Creator God, Rain God. Is self-created and omniscient. Rules Over: Rain, help, plant growth, food.
Chuku Other Names: Chineke. Location: The Ibo of East Nigeria. Description: "The first great cause", "Creator", Father of Ale, The Earth Goddess. Offerings and sacrifices were done for him in groves. Rules Over: Help, goodness.
Danh Location: Dahomey. Description: Snake God. Rainbow Snake shown with tail in his mouth. Rules Over: Wholeness, unity.
En-Kai Other Names: Parsai, Emayian. Location: Masai. Description: Sky God. Grass is used in rituals for him. Rules Over: Rain, vegetation, blessings.
Fa Location: Dahomey. Rules Over: Destiny.
Famian Location: Guinea. Rules Over: Protection, health, fertility.
Gauna Other Names: Gawa, Gawama. Location: Among the Bushmen. Description: Leads the spirits of the deceased. Rules Over: Disruption, harassment, death.
Ge Location: Dahomey. Description: Moon God.
Gu Location: The Fon of West Africa. Rules Over: War, smiths.
Guruhi Location: Gambia. Description: Evil God. Meteors are his sign. Rules Over: Power and death over enemies.
Heitsi-Eibib Location: The Hottentots. Description: Sorcerer God. Rules Over: Shape-shifting, magick.
Imana Other Names: Hategekimana, Hashakimana, Habyarimana, Ndagijimana, Bigirimana, "Almighty God." Location: The Banyarwands. Rules Over: Power, goodness, children, planning.
Ison Other Names: Eka Obasi, Obasi Nsi, Ibibio, Ekoi. Location: West Africa. Description: Tortoise-shelled Goddess. Rules Over: Fertility of the Earth.
Jok Other Names: Jok Odudu, Alur. Location: Uganda and Zaire. Description: Black goats were to be sacrificed to him when rain was needed. Rules Over: Rain.
Juok Other Names: Shilluk, Supreme God. Location: White Nile. Description: Created all men on Earth.
Kaka-Guia Other Names: Nyami. Location: The Volta areas. Description: He brought souls to the Supreme God.
Katonda Other Names: Lissoddene, Kagingo, Ssewannaku, Lugaba, Ssebintu, Nnyiniggulu, Namuginga, Ssewaunaku, Gguluddene, Namugereka. Location: The Ganda of East Africa. Descriptiojn: Creator God. Rules Over: Help, Judgment, aid when the odds are against you, control over spirits, divination, oracles.
Kwoth Location: The Nuer of South Sudan. Description: Great Spirit God. Rules Over: Nature, help, compassion, judgement.
Leza Location: Dahomey. Description: Chameleon God/dess. Rules Over: Protection, divination.
Mbaba Mwana Waresa Location: The Zulu of Natal. Description: Goddess of what she rules over. Rules Over: Rainbows, rain, crops, cultivation, beer.
Mawu Location: Dahomey. Description: Supreme Goddess, creator of all things. Mawu is worshipped by The Fon of Benin in West Africa as a Moon Goddess and creatrix of everything.
Mukuru Location: Macouas of Zambesi, Banayis. Description: Supreme God, creator of everything. Rules Over: Agriculture, architecture, the harvest.
Mungo Location: Giryama of Kenya. Description: Rain God. Rules Over: Rain.
`Nenaunir Other Names: The Rainbow Snake. Location: Masai of Kenya. Description: An Evil Storm God who was linked to the rainbow. Resided in the clouds and was a dreaded spirit. Rules Over: Storms.
`Ngai Location: Masai. Description: Creator God. Rules Over: Life and Death.
Ngami Description: Moon Goddess.
Njambi Location: Lele. Description: Creator God. Rules Over: Protection, justice, help, forests, fertility.
Nyambe Location: Koko of Nigeria. Description: God. Rules Over: Restoring Life.
Nyambi Other Names: Nyambe. Location: The Barotse of Upper Zambesi. Description: Gread God. Creator of everything.
Nyame Location: The Twi of West Africa. Description: Great God who prepared the soul to be reborn on the physical plane and gave out its fate. Rules Over: Fate.
Nyamia Ama Location: Senegal. Description: God of storms, rain and lightning. A sky god. Rules Over: Storms, rain, lightning.
Nzambi Location: The Bankongo of the Congo. Description: Great Goddess who created everything. She played the role of Justice and rewarded and punished according to the deeds of man. Rules Over: Justice.
Oba Description: Santeria river goddess.
Ochumare Location: Yoruba. Description: Santeria Goddess of the rainbow.
Oddudua Location: Yoruba. Description: Primary Mother Goddess.
Ogun Other Names: Ogoun. Location: The Nago and Yoruba of West Africa. Description: God of iron and warfare. Rules Over: Iron, warfare, removing difficulties, smoothing the path to a desired result, Justice, Smiths, Hunters, Barbers, Goldsmiths, Steel.
Olorun Other Names: Olofin-Orun, Olodumare. Location: Yoruba. Description: Sky God. Rules Over: Truth, control of the Elements, Forsight, Victory when the odds are against you, Destiny.
Pan Location: Agni. Description: Son of the Earth. Rules Over: Cultivation.
Rock-Sens Location: The Serer of Gambia. Description: Sky god, controlled the weather. Rules Over: Rain, Thunder, Lightning.
Rugaba Other Names: Ruhanga, Kazooba, Mukameiguru. Location: Ankore of Uganda. Description: Creator God, Sun God, Sky God. Rules Over: Life, healing, death, sickness, judgement.
Ruhanga Location: Banyoro. Description: Great God. Rules Over: Fertility, abundance, children, animals, harvest, health, sickness, death, judgement, rebirth.
Sakarabru Location: Agni of Guinea. Description: God who is strongest during the main phases of the Moon. Swift to punish wrongful deeds. Rules Over: Medicine, justice, retribution.
Shango Other Names: Schango. Location: Yoruba of Nigeria. Description: Carries a double-headed axe much like the nordic Thorr. Rules Over: Thunder, Storm, War, Magick.
Soko Location: Nupe of north Nigeria. Description: Creator God. Rules Over: Control of the Elements, Witchcraft, Communication with the Deceased.
Tilo Location: Mozambique. Description: Sky God. Rules Over: Sky, Thunder, Rain.
Unkulunkulu Other Names: Nkulnkulu. Location: The Amazulu and Ndebele of Zimbabwe. Description: Great God, Earth God. Rules Over: Fertility, organization, order.
Utixo Location: The Hottentots and Xhosa people Description: Among many, but most fitting is the : Sky God who speaks with a voice of thunder. Rules Over: Rain, Storms, Thunder, Harvest, Rebirth.
Wele Other Names: Khakaba, Isaywa. Location: Abaluyia, Bantu. Description: "The High One". Sky God, Creator God. Rules Over: Rain, storms, lightning, creation, prosperity, harvest, celestial phenomena.
Were Location: Luo of Kenya. Description: Great God, Father God, Creator God. Rules Over: Birth, Death, Nature, Judgement.
White Lady Location: Tassali of the Sahara. Description: Agricultural Goddess. Rules Over: Agriculture, fertility.
Xevioso Location: West Africa. Description: He used a thunder axe. Rules Over: Thunder, rain, fertility.
Ymoja Location: Yoruba. Description: River Goddess. Rules Over: Women, children.