I have started a new feature on my blog, called Author Spotlight – Guest Posts. As you can see from the image above, I am looking for themed posts about fairies, myths, and magic. If you are an interested author and would like to be featured on my blog, please click HERE to find out more.
I am proud to introduce my first guest. Her name is Robbie Cheadle, author of the Sir Chocolate books written for children. During my International Fairy Day celebration last week, Robbie and I got into a discussion about the mystical beings in Africa. I thought it was intriguing that fairies didn’t figure into their mythology. Every country, or in this case, continent, is unique in the telling of their myths and fables. Robbie has done some amazing research. She also knows my love of poetry and wrote a poem about this mythical creature called the Tokoloshe. Enjoy!
In Africa, we don’t have fairies and elves, trolls and ogres. In Africa, we have the Tokoloshe, Tikoloshe or Hili.
Image courtesy of the Daily Sun newspaper
Various legends exist with regards to the Tokoloshe. In Zulu mythology, the Tokoloshe is a dwarf-like water sprite which can become invisible by drinking water. According to a Sangoma (a colloquial term used to describe all types of Southern African traditional healers) from the North West province of South Africa, the Tokoloshe is a powerful and evil creature and is made from all sorts of things like imvovo (leftovers from traditional beer), ipapa, needles, grave soil, dolls or even water used to wash a corpse.
A Tokoloshe can appear in many forms such as a dog, cat or even a baboon. The Tokoloshe of the Zimbabweans is large, covered in fur with long talons and a bony spine reaching all the way down its back from the top of its skull. It also has glowing red eyes, emits a foul stench and speaks in a rasping voice.
Yet another explanation is that the Tokoloshe resembles a zombie, poltergeist or gremlin and was created by South African Shamans (a person who is regarded as having access to, and influence on, the world of spirits and who practices divination and healing) who have been offended by someone. This version purports to have gouged out eyes. The Tokoloshe is said to have obtained its power from a hot poker thrust into the crown of its body during creation.
The Tokoloshe may come in various shapes and forms, but all the legends agree that the Tokoloshe is called up by people of bad intention to cause trouble for someone else. This trouble can take the form of scaring children, but the Tokoloshe also has the power to cause illness or even the death of its victim. Generally, the stories claim that the Tokoloshe will climb into a sleeping couple’s bed, biting off the sleeping man’s nose and having its wicked way with the wife.
The Sangoma from the North West province said that only a powerful Sangoma can face a Tokoloshe by making a muthi (a term for traditional medicine in Southern Africa) from a certain tree found only in the middle of some rivers. According to legend, the only way to keep the Tokoloshe away at night is to put a brick beneath each leg of one’s bed. This enables people to see a Tokoloshe hiding underneath the bed before they go to bed for the night. The brick beneath the leg of the bed also protects the bed and its occupants during the night.
The Western practical explanation for the mysterious overnight deaths that were historically attributed to the Tokoloshe is that the myth stems from many years ago when cattle dung was burned for warmth in the traditional Zulu mud huts. These Zulu huts had no ventilation, and when the opening was sealed during cold weather, carbon monoxide was released from the fire and would accumulate inside the hut. Carbon monoxide is heavier than air and would, therefore, gather just above the floor level. People sleeping higher up would be less at risk of death from asphyxiation than those sleeping on the floor, and this is where the myth originates from.
Sources: Wikipedia, Daily Sun newspaper, The story of the African Tokoloshe by Shona Taboos, The Citizen newspaper
Tokoloshe is a mythical man,
Whom every African fears,
The mention of his name,
Reduces the children to tears.
His eyes are gouged out,
Yet he’ll find you in a flash,
If you make him angry,
Your things he’ll savagely smash.
He’ll climb into your bed,
Make you sleep and never wake,
So don’t forget to raise it,
There is far too much at stake.
©2017 Robbie Cheadle
Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old, and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl.”
Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.
Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle, and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books. Robbie is also the author of the new Silly Willy series the first of which, Silly Willy goes to Cape Town, will be available in early July 2017.
“The adventures of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet in poetry form. Michael came up with the idea of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet and many of the characters contained in the books when he was ten years old. His ideas were such fun that Robbie decided to turn them into little verse books for his entertainment. The book contains recipes for children to make with adult assistance.”
“Book 2 of the Sir Chocolate series: Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.”
“A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.”
Robbie Cheadle – Amazon Author
Twitter: Robbie Cheadle @bakeandwrite
Facebook: Robbie Cheadle
Thanks for stopping by. ❤
“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”
Click: What is a Rhyme Scheme?
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Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Poet who loves crafting paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre flash fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and in “Hedgerow, a journal of small poems.” She’s won numerous awards from participating in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, a yearly flash fiction contest sponsored by carrotranch.com. In 2020, she won first place in the Carrot Ranch Folk Tale or Fable category, with her story called “Why Wolf Howls at the Moon.” Colleen is a Sister of the Fey, where she pursues a pagan path through her writing. When she is not writing, she is reading. She also loves gardening and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.