Africa Leaders Magazine

AFRICAN FOLKLORE-LEGBA THE ROAMING TRICKSTER SPIRIT

Legba

Traditions are passed down  from generation to generation to ensure it doesn’t loose its relevance  in African culture and customs.

In most African cultures as Dahomey, tricksters and animals both  play important roles in their folklore and  most  stories are not only entertaining but they also convey  a lesson, sometimes of a moral value and other times of survival.

Children dressed up as warriors honoring legba in ancient day dahomey

 

   Ancient day Dahomey, Image Credit: ( Amazon photos)

Many stories in West Africa tell of a  roaming  trickster spirit who is associated with change and quarrels. In some legends , he is the messenger between the world and the supreme god.

Legba  is a deity who is revered in many cultures in West Africa and the African diaspora. Legba’s origins can be traced back to the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He was originally known as Eshu, a trickster god who was associated with misfortune and chaos. Eshu evolved into Legba in the Dahomey kingdom.

Among the Fon people of Dahomey (Benin), Legba is the guardian and trickster of crossroads and entrances. Papa Legba is the master linguist, the trickster, warrior, and the personal messenger of destiny. He speaks all languages and has the power to remove obstacles and provide opportunities. All ceremonies begin and end with Legba because no communication with the gods can exist without first consulting him.

Fon People of Dahomey at a ceremony performing some rites in honor of legba

   Fon People of Dahomey , Benin,  Image Credit:( Bing.com)

Not only is Eshu/Legba the guardian of the crossroads, but he is depicted as an old man with a limp because he has one foot in each realm. The devil at the crossroads is also depicted as an old man with a limp. In Dahomey’s folklore, Lebga is also a master musician, therefore there is also a connection between Legba and musical ability.

African cultures treasure their traditions, stories, and folklore, which are integral to the transmission of values, knowledge, and cultural identity. Trickster figures  serve as powerful vehicles for conveying lessons, insights, and survival strategies that continue to resonate across generations.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top