Rivers and Streams

Rivers and streams are linked to the theme of water, which, as the primordial matter of the universe, plays a central role in African understanding of the source of life.

All over Africa, rivers, streams, creeks, lakes, and lagoons are regarded as the habitat of deities and ancestors. Thus, they are viewed as the sacred space of spirits and are subsequently treated with great reverence.

The sacred nature of rivers and streams is explicated in various creation myths. In Yoruba cosmology, for instance, in the beginning was Olodumare the supreme God who sent the orishas (divinities), under the supervision of Obatala, to create the world from the primordial watery matter. After the creation of the world, the spirits did not return to the sky. It is believed ...

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