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Matsieng, Emerging from a Hole, Leaves a Permanent Footprint


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(Hurutshe/South Africa)

Matsieng is the creator god.

The first human beings and animals came out of Lowe, near Mochudi, in Botswana, emerging from a hole nine to twelve feet deep in a rock in a dry riverbed. On the rock, surrounding the hole, can be found engravings of footprints of men and wild animals. These are the footprints of the first creatures; one of them, pointing toward the hole, is the footprint of Matsieng, the one-legged creator, who retired into the hole when he was disappointed with his creatures.

In some versions of the creation myth, Lowe was the creator God and Matsieng his servant; Matsieng was ordered to open the hole and make the first creatures. Later, Lowe imprisoned Matsieng in the hole and became the first Tswana chief.

In another version of the myth, Matsieng was God, and Thobega was the servant and one-legged creator. Matsieng left another footprint in another place, on a rock near the hill, Powe. The first human being to come out of the hole was a girl, Matoomyane, who had two brothers, both named Matoome and who were also created there. This girl had orders regarding the cattle. She was appointed to herd them, but her brother, Matoome, came out, and without permission he led the cattle around the end of a mountain. This so enraged his sister, who possessed medicine for the preservation of life and health, that she returned to the hole, carrying with her the precious medicine; because of this, diseases and death came into the world and prevail in it to this day.

Subjects: Religion.


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