Dikithi Creates a Community by Tearing a Stomach

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(Mbukushu/Angola, Botswana, Namibia)

Dikithi is a creator.

Old Dikithi, with one leg and one arm, leads people to a new residence. He steals cattle, comes to a river, has the water beaten with a guinea fowl: the water parts and the cattle move to the other side. He slaughters the cattle, and that night eats all the meat in the pots. He steals more cattle, and again eats the meat himself, so that in the morning the people find the pots empty. Kadimba, a trickster hare, puts fireflies on his trousers, and the next night when Dikithi attempts to steal the meat he thinks that Kadimba's eyes are on him. This goes on for some time, Dikithi denied his food because Kadimba is apparently watching. In the end, he decides to return to his original home, killing Kakurukati, his mother-in-law, before setting out. But the mother-in-law comes to life and gives chase, threatening to cut off Dikithi's testicles. He kills her, or has her killed, a number of times—by fire, locust, a lion, a bird that burns her to death. Dikithi comes down from the tree in which he has sought shelter and makes a whistle of the foreleg of Kakurukathi. His father, the very old Dikithi, demands that his son give him the whistle, but Dikithi kills his insistent father. Then he has a red bird tear open the stomach of the old man, and people and animals emerge to form the nucleus of a community.

Subjects: Religion.

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