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Anansi

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Anansi (Spider)

Pronounced as Anansee is an intelligent and mischievous spider of many Nigerian and Ghanaian folktales. Otherwise mostly people recognize the name Anansi and associate it with the continent of Africa. Many folktales are told about this popular character. For those who don't know him, Anansi is a favorite hero, especially in the countries of Nigeria and Ghana. Anansi has two sons - elder son   Ntikuma or Kuma, and the younger son named Kweku Tsin or Kwaku Tsin.

In fact Anansi means spider.

--In Ashanti or Ghanaian folktales, hero of Ghanaian folktales, he is known as Kwaku Anansi.
--In one West African story "Why Spiders Hide in Corners?", a spider is mentioned with the name of Egya Anansi.
--In Hausa Tribe in Northern Nigerian stories he is known as Gizo and his wife's name is Asso.
--Sometimes he is found in West Indian (Native Indians of America) folktales also. There  he is known as West Indian Annency

Originally his stories were originated from Ashanti people in Ghana, West Africa. Since he is a shape shifter, Anansi is sometimes perceived as a man and at other times he appears in the shape of a spider. Whatever his shape, all Anansi stories describe Anansi as greedy and lazy - but also very intelligent and terribly clever. The problem with Anansi is that his cleverness sometimes backfires and causes him problems.

He has taught mankind how to sow grain and how to use the shovel on the fields. He set himself up as the first king of the human beings and even managed to marry Nyame's daughter. He was beaten only in his encounter with the wax girl, to whom he stuck fast, having struck her with his legs when she refused to talk to him. The people then rushed forwards and beat the tricky Anansi.

The Jamaican versions of his stories are the most well preserved, because Jamaica had the largest concentration of Ashanti as slaves in the Americas. All Anansi stories in Jamaica have a proverb at the end. At the end of the story "Anansi and Brah Dead", there is a proverb that suggests even in times of slavery,  The proverb is: "If yuh cyaan ketch Kwaku, yuh ketch him shut", which refers to when Brah Dead (brother death or dry bones), a personification of Death, was chasing Anansi to kill him. Meaning: The target of revenge and destruction even killing will be anyone very close to the intended such as loved ones and family members.

We have adapted many stories of Anansi in Hindi. They are under "Anansi Makada", "Anansi Makade Ke Kaarnaame", "Anansi Jamaica Mein" - 3 books.

 

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on November 27, 2013
Contact:  touchread@yahoo.com
Modified on 09/11/15