Tumbuka mythology

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The Tumbuka are an ethnic group living in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania. In Tumbuka mythology, Chiuta (meaning "Great Bow") is the Supreme Creator and is symbolised in the sky by the rainbow.

Tumbuka has many myths that constitute part of the Tumbuka cultural heritage. These myths, told around fires at night, often to the accompaniment of drumming and choral responses, aim to teach children moral behavior and to entertain.

Most of these myths have been weakened or lost over time, but many still remain; these vidokoni (stories) have a moral behind them.

There are three animals mentioned more than any others in Tumbuka mythology and these are fulu (tortoise), kalulu (hare), and chimbwi (hyena). Fulu is considered the wisest animal, chimbwe the villain, and kalulu the clever trickster and manipulator who can only be defeated by fulu.


  • Patricia Ann Lynch (2010). African Mythology, A to Z. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4381-3133-7.
  • Mphande, David (25 October 2014). Oral Literature and Moral Education among the Lakeside Tonga of Northern Malawi. Mzuni Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-99908-0-244-3.