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Waga and the First Man


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(Konso/Ethiopia)

Waga is God; he is a deity of justice, the bringer of life-sustaining rain, the originator of morality, the initiator of social order. He withdrew from the world, but his presence is detected in certain natural phenomena, in the rainbow, for example. And, though he is now remote, he remains the source of morality and continues to intervene to punish sinners and to judge between those who have called on him by oath in a dispute. Waga is the creator, responsible for the life of humans. There are different explanations as to how man was born—some say that the first humans were born of snakes; others argue that they emerged from a gourd. But however humans were born, it was Waga who gave them breath. When man was born, he had all the familiar physical aspects of the human body, except for one thing: he did not move, he did not eat, he did not speak. Waga's wife, when she saw this, asked if Waga had a cure for this, if he had some speech medicine, and it is then that Waga provided humans with breath, and when he had done so man began to move, to speak, to eat. Then, when man died, the breath was returned to Waga.

Subjects: Religion.


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