logo anansi big

"This funny fellow is a rogue, a wise and lovable trickster. He is a shrewd and cunning figure who triumphs over large foes"

What is Anansi?

Anansi is a traditional story, mythology, a people’s legends, folklore...from Africa.

Mythology transforms, making the ordinary into the magical. It brings beauty to the ways of man, giving him dignity and expressing his joy in life. Folklore prepares man for adult life. It places him within his culture. With oral traditions, retold through generations, the social group maintains its continuity, handing down its culture.

This story is from a long-established culture, the Ashanti of West Africa, in the country of Ghana.  Ghana is a green stronghold of dense rain forests between the ocean and the desert. This home of the Ashanti have had a federation,  highly organized society, for over four hundred years. Still, today as long ago, the Ashanti are superb artisans. They excel as makers of fine metal work an das weavers of beautiful silk fabric. Into this fabric they weave the rich symbols of their art and folklore- Sun, Moon, Creation, Universe, the Web of the Cosmos, and Anansi, The Spider.

Anansi is a folk-hero to the Ashanti. This funny fellow is a rogue, a wise and lovable trickster. He is a shrewd and cunning figure who triumphs over large foes. An animal with human qualities, Anansi is a mischief maker. He tumbles into many troubles. Here is one of his adventures.

Image from the cover of Martha Warren Beckwith’s book on Anansi Tales from Jamaica.
Image from the cover of Martha Warren Beckwith’s book on Anansi Tales from Jamaica.