Flood Myths - Africa

Komililo Nandi

Ilet, the spirit of lightning, came to live, in human form, in a cave high on the mountain named Tinderet. When he did so, it rained incessantly and killed most of the hunters living in the forest below. Some hunters, searching for the cause of the rain, found him and wounded him with poison arrows. Ilet fled and died in a neighboring country. When he died, the rain stopped.


A charitable man gave away everything he had. The God Ouende rewarded him with riches, advised him to leave the area, and sent six months of rain to destroy his selfish neighbors. The descendants of the rich man became the present human race.

"People of Mount Jefferson"

Twice, a great flood came. Afraid that another might come, the people made a giant canoe from a big cedar. When they saw a third flood coming, they put the bravest young men and young women in the canoe, with plenty of food. Then the flood, bigger and deeper than the earlier ones, swallowed the land. It rained for many days and nights, but when the clouds finally parted for the third time, the people saw land (Mount Jefferson) and landed on it. When the water receded, they made their home at the base of the mountain. The canoe was turned to stone and can be seen on Mount Jefferson today.

Masai (East Africa)

Tumbainot, a righteous man, had a wife named Naipande and three sons, Oshomo, Bartimaro, and Barmao. When his brother Lengerni died, Tumbainot, according to custom, married the widow Nahaba-logunja, who bore him three more sons, but they argued about her refusal to give him a drink of milk in the evening, and she set up her own homestead. The world was heavily populated in those days, but the people were sinful and not mindful of God. However, they refrained from murder, until at last a man named Nambija hit another named Suage on the head. At this, God resolved to destroy mankind, except Tumbainot found grace in His eyes. God commanded Tumbainot to build an ark of wood and enter it with his two wives, six sons and their wives, and some of animals of every sort. When they were all aboard and provisioned, God caused a great long rain which caused a flood, and all other men and beasts drowned. The ark drifted for a long time, and provisions began to run low. The rain finally stopped, and Tumbainot let loose a dove to ascertain the state of the flood. The dove returned tired, so Tumbainot knew it had found no place to rest. Several days later, he loosed a vulture, but first he attached an arrow to one of its tail feathers so that, if the bird landed, the arrow would hook on something and be lost. The vulture returned that evening without the arrow, so Tumbainot reasoned that it must have landed on carrion, and that the flood was receding. When the water ran away, the ark grounded on the steppe, and its occupants disembarked. Tumbainot saw four rainbows, one in each quarter of the sky, signifying that God's wrath was over.