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Lofokefoke: The Waters Part for Him


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(Mbole/DRCongo)

Lofokefoke is a mythic hero who appears in both animal and human form.

A hunter comes to a tree filled with women. He cannot get to them, so he sends for Bakese Bonyonga, who lives in the land of the spirits of the dead. Bakese succeeds, and also, with the help of his wife, overcomes animal foes. Bakese fights the people of Bosunga and is killed. Bosunga takes Bakese's wife. She becomes pregnant, and will eat only certain foods that Bosunga must gather. In the process, Bosunga is killed by the spirits of the dead. The wife laments the death of her first husband, and soon all who were killed by Bakese come to life. She gives birth to seven children, including Lofokefoke, the last born, miraculously born. He asks about the place where his father has died. He performs deeds that reveal his invulnerability. He kills an elephant, but it comes to life and escapes him. Lofokefoke and his brothers pursue it, until it is found dead in his village. Lofokefoke plays a game with elephants, using a tree as a bat, throwing the ball as high as the sun. When he returns home, he destroys many people. When he comes to the Lomami River, the waters part for him. He arrives in the villages of his brothers, fighting with them. He fights his senior brother, Basele, kills his sister Mangana, resumes his battle against Basele, engages in many other fights, hunts, killings, and extraordinary feats. When he attempts to destroy all hippopotamuses in the Lomami River, Lofokefoke and all of his children are killed. See also: Kudukese.

Subjects: Religion.


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