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Modimo's Homes in the Sky and Earth


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(Sotho/Lesotho, South Africa)

Modimo, the creator god, the supreme being, is also called Ralabepa. Of the various gods, perhaps twelve of them, Ralabepa, the father of all might and power, stands as their head. He is feared for his vengefulness and power of fire. He lives behind the land of Sewase, where he is called Ralawimpa. The god of water is Ramochasoa. He lives on the bottom, whence the fountains rise. Ramaepa watches the field, that the enemy may not cross the boundary. Other gods are Makofatsiloe, Maseletsoane, Manakisoe, Ngoalenkalo. A god who is generally known and feared is Sedatyane. Toona is the god of revenge. The god of dance is Lotiloe. Of the celestial bodies, a large comet called Modudutsa is honored. Modimo, invisible, intangible, is remote, inscrutable. Modimo is mother, is light, is in the sky. But he is also associated with the earth. The thunderbolt, appearing to enter the earth, is interpreted as Modimo returning to himself.

To an evil being known as Moremo, many misfortunes were attributed. At death, men and animals did not cease to exist; they merely left their earthly homes and went to Mosima, the home from which they all came. Mosima was another world, with pleasant green valleys, where they would live an existence similar to that followed on earth. They would cultivate the same crops and herd the same cattle.

Modimo lives in a hole, but it is not inferior to a place in the sky. Both derive their importance from Modimo's presence. This hole is the abode of the dead, where they find again the company of their kin. The earth is the place where, in Modimo, men have their beginning and meet their end.

Some say that the creator, with one leg, left his footprints on certain rocks when they were soft.

Subjects: Religion.


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