Star Lore (Working List)

Astronomical objectPeopleWords/Translation/LoreReference
Achernar/XamStar-digging-stick’s-stone or the Digging-stick’s stone of CanopusBleek 1875:10
Achernar/Xam“stone of the digging stick”Snedegar 1995b:17
AchernarSotho, TswanaSenakane “the little horn .. the dawn rising of this star was ill-omened.”Snedegar 1995b:16,17
AchernarVendaTshinanga “the little horn”Snedegar 1995b:17
Achernar, Canopus, Pleiades, Sirius//GanaThe Pleiades are the wives of Canopus and Sirius. Achernar is Younger Brother (of Canopus and Sirius)Marshall 1986:188
Aldebaran/XamMale HartebeestBleek 1875:10
Aldebaran/Xammale hartebeest (mate of Betelgeuse)Snedegar 1995b:13
AldebaranLobeduKohamasiuSnedegar 1995b:13
AldebaranZuluuCwazibe “shining; sparkling” … the very first star of the group that make up the PleiadesSnedegar 1995b:13
Aldebaran & PleiadesIbibio (Nigeria)The Fowl Mother of chicksWarner 1996:9
Aldebaran, M45, Orion’s Belt and SwordKhoikhoiThe Khunuseti were the daughters of Tsui //Goab, the Dawn or Sky God. IT is related of them that they once said to their husband, “Go and shoot those three Zebras for us, but if you fail to shoot, do not return!” The husband went with one arrow, and shot with his bow. He did not hit and sat because his arrow had missed the Zebras. On the other side sat the Lion, and watched the Zebras and prevented the man from picking up his arrow, and because his wives had cursed him he could not return, and then he sat in the cold night shivering and suffering from thirst and hunger. And the Khunuseti said to the other men: “Ye men, do you think that you can compare yourselves to us and to our equals? There now! We defy our husband to come home because he had not killed game.”Hammond-Tooke 1893:307
Aldebaran, M45, Orion’s Belt and SwordKhoikhoithe hunter Aob is sent out by his wives, the Pleiades, stalks the zebras. Aob is alpha Tau; his bow is pi-1, pi-2? Ori; eps and delta Tau are his sandals; gamma and theta Tau form his kaross. The arrow is “l, d, c” Ori. [In 1995Sb(535) this is “theta, iota and 42 Ori” ie the Sword]Snedegar 1995b:13
Aldebaran, M45, Orion’s Belt and SwordKhoikhoi (Namaqua)This legend has been pictured in the sky by the Namaqua. The husband of the Khunuseti or Pleiads is Aldebaran; his bow is pi, pi-2, pi-3 Ori; his arrow three other stars in the same constellation, probably the sword; his sandals are eps and delta of the Hyades, his kaross is gamma and theta Hyadum; the Zebras are delta, eps, zeta Ori, or the three Stars in the Belt and the Lion is alpha Ori (Betelgeuse) or in another version Sirius.Hammond-Tooke 1893:307
alpha/beta Cen/XamMale lions. .. were formerly men, and at the same time, lions. One of them became a star, because a girl looked at him; and the other lion also became a star. They now stand silent, not far from the lionesses, who sit silent. … [names given]Bleek 1875:10, 11
alpha/beta CenKhoikhoimura “the eyes”Snedegar 1995b:19
alpha/beta CenNyae Nyae !Kung=/Toma (alpha Cen) and |Gaishay (beta Cen) [male first names]Marshall 1986:190
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta CruSothoDithutlwa “giraffes” alpha & beta Cru = males, alpha and beta Cen = femaleSnedegar 1995b:17
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta CruSothoWhen the giraffe stars are seen close to the SW horison just after sunset, they indicate the beginning of cultivating season. Snedegar 1995b:17
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta CruTswanaDithutlwa “giraffes”. alpha & beta Cen = males, alpha and beta Cru = femaleSnedegar 1995b:17
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta CruVendagiraffe stars; the month Khubvhumedzi rightly begins with the crescent Moon when the lower two stars of Thuda are just below the horison and the upper two are just visible.Snedegar 1995b:17
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta CruVendaThuda “giraffes” alpha & beta Cru = males, alpha and beta Cen = femaleSnedegar 1995b:17
alpha/beta Cen & alpha/beta/gamma Cru/Xamalpha/beta Cen = male lions; alpha/beta/gamma Cru = female lionsSnedegar 1995b:18
alpha/beta Cen; CruxNyae Nyae !KungThe ||Gana and the |Gwi call these stars “Giraffe Eyes”. The Pointers are said to be male giraffes. The four stars of the Cross are female – alpha and beta Cru are mother giraffes; delta and gamma Cru are the daughters.Marshall 1986:190
alpha/beta/gamma Cru/XamLionessesBleek 1875:10
alpha/gamma CruNyae Nyae !Kung|Kxoma (alpha Cru) and Khan||a (gamma Cru) [male first names]. “The two stars in the Cross are named for two sons of =/Gao N!a [Old /Gao] …”Marshall 1986:190
Altair/Gwig=eikxaoma “the male steenbok”Snedegar 1995b:19
Altair, Vega|GwiThe |Gwi pair Altair and Vega and call them the Steenboks. Vega is the male, Altair the female.Marshall 1986:188
Antares!Xuthe fire-finishing star, which only sets when the firewood has been exhaustedSnedegar 1995b:19
Arcturus/Gwi/edzinig/wa “the fire-finisher child”Snedegar 1995b:19
ArcturusNyae Nyae !KungArcturus is the Finish Fire of the !Xo, |Gwi, and the //Gana.Marshall 1986:189
Arcturus?SwaziLweti “cicada” a star visible in the morning sky before sunrise; when women begin work around NovemberSnedegar 1995b:19
Betelgeuse/XamFemale HartebeestBleek 1875:10
Betelgeuse/Xamfemale hartebeest (mate of Aldebaran)Snedegar 1995b:13
Betelgeuse, Procyon, Rigel & SiriusBasutoMa-gakgalaSnedegar 1995b:13
Betelgeuse, Procyon, Rigel & SiriusLobeduMahakala [compare Magakgala], which follows Kohamasiu (= Aldebaran)Snedegar 1995b:13
Betelgeuse, Procyon, Rigel & SiriusNorthern SothoAfter threshing time in June, the Magakgala stars despoil all green plants; this is in keeping with the action of caterpillars as well as the winter browning of the veld.Snedegar 1995b:13
Betelgeuse, Procyon, Rigel & SiriusTswanaMagakgalaSnedegar 1995b:13
Betelgeuse, Procyon, Rigel & SiriusTswanaMagakgala, “corn should be harvested when Magakgala is visible in the early evening.”Snedegar 1995b:13
Canopus!Kung//xonaSnedegar 1995b:17
Canopus/XamCanopus has the ability to influence favourably both the gathering of ants’ chrysalids and the abundance of game. A ceremony was also performed on the appearance of Canopus which was followed by a search for ants’ chrysalids.Hammond-Tooke 1893:92
Canopus/Xam“the grandchild of Sirius”Snedegar 1995b:12
Canopus/Xam“the digging stick” & “ant egg star”Snedegar 1995b:17
CanopusJu/Wasi“the horns of tshxum”Snedegar 1995b:12
CanopusLobeduNaka, Nanga “horn”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusLobeduThe first person to view Naka before sunrise will have good luck. Upon learning that Naka had been spotted, the people would say “Naka has come out, the boy has come out”. The star’s dawn rising was a signal for rainmaking ceremonies to proceedSnedegar 1995b:15
CanopusNdebeleNaka “horn”Snedegar 1995b:16
CanopusNyae Nyae !Kung“Big Star” (by the Chimbaranda, !Kung, Naro, //Gana), “Star of Stars” (by the |Gwi)Marshall 1986:188
CanopusNyae Nyae !Kungmale Horn [of Tshxum] .. “In !Kung culture the right side is associated with maleness, the left side with femaleness. The remark invokes the image of a great celestial beast with a right and left horn, facing eastward..”Marshall 1986:202
CanopusPediNaka “horn”Snedegar 1995b:16
CanopusPedi, NdebeleThe sighting of the star before sunrise [in May] was the most important method of rectifying the Mapeli calendar. [account from Jackson 1969]Snedegar 1995b:16
CanopusSothoCarefully watched for Naka about the end of May. Sotho chiefs awarded a cow for Naka’s earliest sighting. The day of the sighting the chief would call his medicince-men together. Throwing their bone dice, the doctors would judge whether the new season would be good or bad. Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusSothoNaka, Nanga “horn”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusSotho, TswanaNaka, “break up the year,” “burn up anything green in nature”. heralds coming of winter and browning of the veld. When Naka appeared before sunrise, the Tswana new it was time to put the sheep to the ram. Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusTsongaKhwekheti “the brilliant star”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusTswanaNaka, Nanga “horn”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusTswanaFirst observed rising of Canopus (in May) to denote the beginning of winter.Warner 1996:5
CanopusVendaMhobo “a large male animal, boar, bull or stallion” heralds the beginning of winter and said to rise before the Pleiades. The first to see Nanga in the morning sky would climb a hill and blow the phalaphala horn (black sable antelope horn). He would receive a cow as a prize.Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusVendaNaka, Nanga “horn” & Mhobo “a large male animal, boar, bull or stallion”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusXhosaU-Canzibe “shining; sparkling”Snedegar 1995a:531
CanopusZuluinKhwenkwezi “the brilliant star”Snedegar 1995b:15
CanopusZuluisAndulela “harbinger”Snedegar 1995b:16
CanopusZuluisAndulela, “harbinger.. a bright star appearing at the end of Autumn [at harvest time] ; may be connected to the Redchested CuckooSnedegar 1995b:16
Canopus, CapellaNyae Nyae !Kung‘Horns of Tshxum’Marshall 1986:194
Canopus, Siriusnot specifiedSirius = Isoka lasekunene “the suitor on the right hand”; Canopus = Isoka lasekohlo “the suitor on the left hand”Snedegar 1995b:16
Canopus, SiriusXhosaTwo heavenly suitors, and perhaps rivals, but we cannot say for whose affections. Snedegar 1995b:15
Canopus, SiriusZuluinKhwenkwezi, one of the morning stars which help determine time.Snedegar 1995b:15
CapellaJu/Wasi“the horns of tshxum”; “the green leaf horn”Snedegar 1995b:12
CapellaManyikaNgavi “bullock star”Snedegar 1995b:18
CapellaNyae Nyae !Kung‘Green Leaf Horn’; “[it] is a barra thing , the !Kung said; it comes when the first flowers bloom (barra is the season of the rains).”Marshall 1986:194
CapellaNyae Nyae !Kungfemale Horn [of Tshxum]Marshall 1986:202
CapellaZuluiQubankomo, iQhubankomo “that which drives the cattle”, preceding the morning star about September. & iNtshola “cattle thief”Snedegar 1995b:18
Castor/Xamfemale eland, wife of ProcyonSnedegar 1995b:18
Castor & Pollux/XamEland’s wivesBleek 1875:10
Castor and PolluxSothoMa-selatheko “thief bird” which steals cattle; fork-tailed DrongoSnedegar 1995b:18
Coal SackNyae Nyae !KungOld Bag of Night (old in the sense of worn out)Marshall 1986:184
cometgeneral African viewcomets were usually considered to portend disaster.Warner 1996:13
cometMasai (Kenya/Tanzania)consider comets to be the embodiment of important gods.Warner 1996:13
cometSothomotshotshonono “a row, as of cattle, trees, stars” & naledi tsha mesela “stars with tails”Snedegar 1995b:21
cometTsongashimusana & nyeleti ya musana “stars of dust”Snedegar 1995b:21
cometTswanamotshotshonono “a row, as of cattle, trees, stars”Snedegar 1995b:21
cometVendamotshotshonono “a row, as of cattle, trees, stars”Snedegar 1995b:21
cometXhosaUZatshoba, a comet is associated with bad luck, calamity, wars and death. Once a comet is sighted, people expected such mishaps. There was also a strong belief that comets predicted the death of a king or chief, they were not a welcome sight for the Xhosas.Fairall & Matomela 2003
cometZuluinkanyezi enobaqa & inkanyezi enomsile “star with tail [?]”Snedegar 1995b:21
comet Halley in 1910XhosaUzathoba “bushy tail”Snedegar 1995b:22
Corona Australis/XamA girl, when men should not have been looked upon by her for fear of harm to them, saw some people eating together at a rock-rabbit’s house of branches. In consequence of this, they and the house, fixed by her looks, became stars in the sky, and are now to be seen there as the Corona Australis. Bleek 1875:10
Corona Australis/Xama group of people who gathered around a “rock-rabbit’s house of branches” and were turned into stars when they looked upon a bewitched girl.Snedegar 1995b:19
Crux“bushmen in the central Kalahari”n//abedzi “the giraffes, because ‘they are big, like giraffes’ ”Snedegar 1995b:18
CruxSothoSefapano “the cross” may be a recent coinage. & Morotlwa “that which strikes hard”Snedegar 1995b:18
CruxTswanaSefapano “the cross” may be a recent coinage. & Morotlwa “that which strikes hard”Snedegar 1995b:18
Crux, PleiadesSotho, Tswanathe rule for finding direction at night: to travel west, keep Sefapano on the left hand, and Selemela on the right.Snedegar 1995b:17
DelphinusSetswanagakgala “caterpillars, Mopane worm”Snedegar 1995b:13
Evening StarXhosaU-cel’izapolo “one who asks for milk at the teat”Snedegar 1995b:10
Evening StarXhosa“Madingeni” The very star that is known or used for milking time, was also perceived for a totally different concept. Lovers know Venus as the ‘dating-star’. In the olden days, boys and girls were not allowed to date each other in public. So the only way they could meet would be to rendevous at the fountain from where the girls fetched water. Having no clocks or watches, they relied on natural events to keep time. The appearance of Venus was one of these. A boy would say to his girl to meet when ‘Madingeni’ – the evening star – is visible. ‘Dinga’ means an appointment, so this planet was known as the star of appointments or the dating star.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Evening StarXhosaThe appearance of Venus in the evening sky, when it was called ‘Celizapholo’ (one who asks for milk from a teat) is associated with the time when the boys milked the cows. Even boys playing in the fields would rush home to milk the cows once they saw Venus.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Fomalhaut?ShonaNdemara “sweetheart star”Snedegar 1995b:19
Fomalhaut?TswanaNtshuna “kiss me star” said to indicate the time for lovers to part before their parents discovered them.Snedegar 1995b:19
gamma or delta CrucisVendathudana “little giraffe”Snedegar 1995b:17
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)Ju/Wasia part of the sky where soft thornless grass grows, such as is suitable for bedding. Their god Old /Gao climbed onto the LMC when he went hunting.Snedegar 1995b:21
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)Karanga of ZimbabweMaguta “Plenty”Snedegar 1995b:21
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)Nyae Nyae !Kung||Gali Ding, “||Gali is the soft, thornless, grayish-coloured grass which the !Kung gather to use for beds; ding means ‘spot’.”Marshall 1986:192
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)SothoSetlhako sa naka “the hoof of Canopus” or the spoor of the star.Snedegar 1995b:21
Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)TswanaKgoroSnedegar 1995b:21
LMC & SMC/XamSteinbokBleek 1875:10
LMC & SMC“some Bushman groups”male and female steinbokSnedegar 1995b:21
LMC & SMCTswana & Karanga of ZimbabweIf the SMC appeared more clearly than the LMC a drought would ensue.Snedegar 1995b:21
LMC, Orion’s Belt, Orion’s SwordNyae Nyae !Kung“… =|Gao N!a was hunting one evenings. When he stood up on the Great Magellan Cloud to look around, he saw the zebras and shot an arrow at the middle one. Just as human hunters often do, he missed. His arrow fell short. One sees it lying there pointing at the zebras. After his unsiccessful attempt he decided to send the zebras down to earth to that Bushmen could hunt them. Slowly, one following the other as on a game path, the zebras descended and one by one stepped onto the earth”Marshall 1986:192
meteors!Xua meteor is the devil racing across the sky to cause mischief among the people; meteors signify fighting.Snedegar 1995b:22
meteors/XamThe stars knew when a Bushman dies, and a falling star announces the death to those who are otherwise unaware of it.Snedegar 1995b:22
meteorsgeneral African viewalmost always regarded as ill omens, signifying the death of a chief (usually in the direction that the meteor was seen), war, disease or famine.Warner 1996:13
meteorsKaranga of ZimbabweUsed to shout “Li-i-I Thobela!” when they saw a meteor star, thinking that a god or ancient chief was shooting across the sky.Snedegar 1995b:22
meteorsNyae Nyae !Kung“.. they call them moving stars .. [and] are seen as fiery objects with fiery tails that have powerful n|um [supernatural potency]. They can kill people and at the times of the meteor showers, when many are moving about and falling, the sky is very bad. People know that somewhere many people are dying. The other quite different belief about the moving stars is that they are ant lions. From wehre they are in the skuy, looking down, their big eyes shining, the moving stars see ants. If they are hungry and want to eat the ants, they fall to earth. In another version, all the ant lions are said to fall to earth each morning and to go up into the sky again each night. We see them on earth as insects.Marshall 1986:186
meteorsSan (northern Namibia), Masai (Kenya/Tanzania)considered meteors to be favourable omens, foretelling good rains.Warner 1996:13
meteorsTswanaLIke most African peoples,believe that meteors signify great earthly events. A bolide is an indication of a good season ahead. Snedegar 1995b:22
meteorsVendaThe Venda are said to have pictured the stars as hanging from the sky on invisible cords. A falling star occuring when a cord broke.Snedegar 1995b:22
meteorsZande (Zaire)“heavenly smoke”Warner 1996:13
meteorsZulu“meteors resulted from celestial cattle hastening to new grazing in another part of the sky. When the cattle drag their hooves they break through the floor of the sky and create streaks which soon fill in with mud.”Snedegar 1995b:22
Milky Way!Xu“Sky’s spine” & “God’s back”Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky Way/XamA girl of the ancient race (preceding the Bushmen) wished for a little light, so that the people might see to return home by night. She, therefore, threw wood-ashes into the sky, which became the Milky Way. .. the same girl, who, being vexed with her mother for giving her too little of a certain red edible root, threw up portions of it into the sky, where they became stars.Bleek 1875:10
Milky WayBasongye of Zairemudiyanyino “the dividing line of wet and dry places”Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WayG/wiOne of the paths, maybe not the only one, along which their god, N!adimo, carried the Sun.Snedegar 1995b:21
Milky WaygeneralDuring the night the passage of time was visualized by the steady change in orientation of the Milky Way.Warner 1996:6
Milky WayKaranga of ZimbabweAt least four names: Gwara renzou “the elephant’s track” & Gwara ravavhimi “path of the hunter” & Gwara remwenye “the Muslim’s path” & Gwara raKurumbi “track of the ancestor spirits”Snedegar 1995b:21
Milky WayKhwe“the line”Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WayLuba of Zairekishipo ne kiyo “the dry season and the wet season” & mukalangano wa diyo ne bushipo “the separation of the two seasons”Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WayNyae Nyae !Kung.. Backbone of Night … the whiteness was like the white belly of a steenbok. … the Naro say the Backbone of Night separates the daylight from the darkness.Marshall 1986:184
Milky WayNyae Nyae !Kung//Gana: “God’s Path”Marshall 1986:184
Milky WaySan“Night’s backbone”Warner 1996:11
Milky WaySanMilky Way was created by a girl of an early race who threw a handful of wood ashes into the sky. The same girl threw bits of an edible root into the sky, the old (red) pieces creating red stars and the young (white) pieces creating white stars.Warner 1996:11
Milky WaySesothoTsika le maropo “wrinkled and ridged” a supernatural foot path across the sky.Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WaySetswanaMolalatladi Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WaySothoMolalatladi “the place where the lightning bird rests” & Molalakoko, Molawagodimo “the line of heaven”Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WaySotho, Tswanathe purpose of Molalatladi was two-fold: it keeps the sky from collapsing on the Earth, and it governs the day and night. It indicated the constant movement of time, and that it ‘turns the sun to the east’. Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WayTswanaMolalatladi “the place where the lightning bird rests” & Molalakoko, Molawagodimo “the line of heaven”Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WayVendaMulala-vhungu “the line of heaven”Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WayVenda, SetswanaThe rainbow and the Milky Way are related in that both have been described as “a path along which the ancestor spirits walk”Snedegar 1995b:20
Milky WayXhosaUm-nyele “the raised bristles along the back of the sky, as on an angry dog”Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WayXhosaThe Milky Way (umnNyele/umThala) has been likened to the bristles standing up on an angry dog’s back. Children, and people at large in the olden days, used to be told that if they persist in pointing up to the heavens with their stretched fingers, the God ‘Qamata’ would be angry and Umthala would stand up. He would also send his lightening and thunderstorm to strike the culprit down. This was good deterrence, and the people and children would always remember to point upwards with a bent finger to show respect for Qamata and avoid being struck down by lightning.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Milky WayXhosa, ZuluThe idea that the Milky Way held up the sky, or maybe held it together, is strongly implied.Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky WayZuluumTala, umThala “a kind of hairy rib-vault across the night sky.Snedegar 1995b:19
Milky Way, stars/XamA girl being angry with her mother, because the latter asked her for a certain kind of food which she had put to roast in the fire, threw it with the wood-ashes that were upon it, into the air. The food was changed into stars, and the ashes became the Milky Way.Lloyd 1889:8
Moon/XamThe Moon becomes angry if people laugh at it, and goes into the sky (ie becomes eclipsed). When its anger has cooled, and its heart is ‘comfortable’ again, it comes out.Bleek 1875:10
Moon/XamA Bushman child is warned by its father not to look at the Moon as it rises behind the mountain, for fear of arousing its anger and causing it to become obscured. Bleek 1875:10
Moon/XamThe words of derision sometimes addressed, by Bushman children, to the Moon as it rises, makes it angry.Bleek 1875:10
Moon/XamThe Moon is a piece of leather, a shoe of the Mantis /kaggen; The Moon has the ability to talk, because he belongs to the Mantis, all of whose things talk.Bleek 1875:9
Moon/XamThe Moon is a man, who incurs the wrath of the Sun, and is consequently pierced by the knife (ie rays) of the latter. This process is repeated until almost the whole of the Moon si cut away, and only one little piece left; which the Moon piteously implores the Sun to spare for his (the Moon’s) children. From this little piece, the Moon gradually grows again until it becomes a full moon, when the Sun’s stabbing and cutting processes recommence.Bleek 1875:9
Moon/Xamis involved in the legend of the Origin of DeathBleek 1875:9, 10
Moon/XamThe Mantis (/kaggen) makes and brings up a young eland. His son-in-law, /kwammana, kills it .. having pierced the gall of the dead eland, takes an ostrich feather to wipe it from his eyes; which feather he then throws up into the sky, ordering it to become the Moon. Lloyd 1889:5
Moon/XamThe Moon is not to be looked at, when game has been shot, for fear of evil consequences.Lloyd 1889
Moon/XamA certain white substance found upon a bush, formerly said to proceed from the Moon.Lloyd 1889
Moon/XamOrigin of the Moon as /Kaggen’s shoe.Hammond-Tooke 1893:217
Moon/XamThe New Moon was regarded as capable of favourable influencing hunting and the gathering of ants’ chrysalids. There prayers were only made on the appearance of a new moon. Once the moon began to grow large it became more a figure of ridicule than of respect. Its growth was conceived of as an enlarging stomach and children would call to it in a derisive manner.Hammond-Tooke 1893:92
MoonKhoikhoi“The Lord of Light and Life”, dancing and singing all the night at times of New and Full Moon.Warner 1996:8
MoonKhoiKhoi (Kora)Kham, “the returner”Hammond-Tooke 1893:306
MoonKhoiKhoi (Nama)Khab, “the returner”Hammond-Tooke 1893:306
MoonKikuyu (Kenya)The Moon was suspended from the nearest star to itWarner 1996:8
Moonmany African traditionssee a man or woman carrying a bundle of sticks, in the Moon.Warner 1996:8
MoonNyae Nyae !KungThe moon, unlike the sun, is not thought to be destructive or dangerous. …Marshall 1986:180
MoonNyae Nyae !KungWhen the Moon is very red, the redness is said to be caused by the blood of a person who has died, or by the blood of some big animal that a hunter has killed. … In Naro lore, when the crescent moon slopes downard, it is said to be looking into a grave and this is a sign that many people will die in that season. A crescent pointing upward is a favourable sign. The round full moon is a sign of satisfaction: people will find plenty of food. To the |Gwi a ring around the moon is a sign that food will be plentiful.Marshall 1986:180
MoonNyae Nyae !Kungis involved in the legend of the Origin of DeathMarshall 1986:182
MoonShonaMwedzi, NwedziSnedegar 1995b:6
MoonSothoNgwediSnedegar 1995b:6
MoonTswanaNgwediSnedegar 1995b:6
MoonVendaMwedzi, NwedziSnedegar 1995b:6
MoonXhosaThe time of New Moon was considered a time of inaction. The reappearance of the Moon in the evening sky was cause for celebration, while major events typically took place around the time of Full Moon. Full Moon (iNyanga ezeeleyo) was also the time that the Xhosa community de-wormed their children, believing that at this time, the worms collected in one place. Fairall & Matomela 2003
MoonZuluiNyangaSnedegar 1995b:6
Moon, lunar eclipseNyae Nyae !Kung.. the lion putting his paw over the moon to darken the night so he could have better huntingMarshall 1986:183
Moon, lunar eclipseXhosaA total eclipse of the Moon was seen as the need to offer sacrifices to appease ancestors. Its dull reddish appearance suggested their anger at the sinful ways of the people. A diviner would be called “normally the one who is used to bring the rain during dry seasons” and he would perform the relevant ceremony for the appeasement of ancestors.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Moon, phasesNyae Nyae !KungFive phases .. crescent phases with sharp points is said to be male; the full round moon is said to be female. Marshall 1986:180
Moon, set/riseNyae Nyae !Kung… the moon falls onto the earth as the sun does when it sets …Marshall 1986:181
Morning StarHereroo’hingoutuku, “chaser of the night” & okanumaihi, “little drinker of sweet milk”, on account of its appearance at milking time.Hammond-Tooke 1893:311
Morning StarNyae Nyae !Kung.. the morning star crosses the sky with the sun during the day. It is said to herd the sun. People do not see it after sunrise because the sun’s light is so bright. … they pity the star. They think that when the sun scorches the people far away on the earth, the morning star, so close to the sun, must suffer painfully from the heat.Marshall 1986:185
Morning StarNyae Nyae !KungThe morning star has two names. Before the sun rises, it is called ‘Old Star’. When it begins to “herd” the sun, it is called Kuli //Gashay. An exact translation of the latter name eluded us. The idea expressed in the name is that the star tries to save itself, it tries to escape the sun’s heat. Marshall 1986:186
Morning StarXhosaIkhwezi lokusa, “first morning star”Snedegar 1995b:9
Morning StarXhosaWhen seen in the morning sky, before dusk and sunrise, iKhwezi Iokusa (Venus) is associated with diligence. Travellers, who sleep out in the open, would look at this planet and know that it is time to resume their journey. Young women and girls also wake up during this time to start doing their daily chores. Girls are often named after Venus and called nomaKhwezi, with the hope that they will assume such character when they grow up.Fairall & Matomela 2003
mu-1 & mu-2 ScoKhoikhoixami di mura “the eyes of the lion”Snedegar 1995b:19
night; SunBasutoEach day has its own Sun, the previous one having merely disappearedWarner 1996:7
night; SunLuyia (Kenya)At night the Sun returns to the east, under the EarthWarner 1996:7
night; SunTsonga, Zuluthe Sun rises from the seaWarner 1996:7
night; SunZuluAt night the Sun returns to the east, above the solid skyWarner 1996:7
OrionG/wistars of Orion are the “man who shoots steenbok” khwe g=ei /uiSnedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s Belt!Xua man, a dog, and a buck.Snedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s Belt/XamThree female Tortoises (hung upon a stick)Bleek 1875:10
Orion’s Belt/Xam“male tortoises hung on a stick”Snedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s BeltKaranga of ZimbabweNguruve “the wild pigs”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltMasaithree old men pursued by lonesome widowsSnedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s BeltNyae Nyae !KungThree zebras. “Some informants said the middle zebra is male, the outside two are female. Old Demi said no, that the middle zebra is a mare between two stallions.”Marshall 1986:192
Orion’s BeltRozi“Three Travellers”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltShonaChimutatu “group of 3 stars”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltSongye of Zaireaspibwe na mbwa na nyama “a hunter with a dog and an animal”Snedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s BeltSothoMakolobe “pigs”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltTswanaDikolobe “pigs”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltXhosaamaRoza “three stars in a row”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s BeltXhosaThe three stars of Orion’s Belt are known as the ‘Amakroza’, which means to queue in a line. These stars are known to represent three holy places. These are the graves where all ancestors rest peacefully, the starry heavens where their spirits roam, and the most holy place beyond the starry heavens, where the supreme God ‘Qamata’ dwells. The lowest of the three stars represents the graves, the highest the most holy place.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Orion’s BeltZuluImpanbana, “the Crossing” Observed the heliacal rising of Impanbana in July, after which cultivation would begin.Snedegar 1995a:534
Orion’s BeltZuluImpanbana “the Crossing”Snedegar 1995a:534
Orion’s BeltZuluimPhambano “a group of things close together”Snedegar 1995b:11-13
Orion’s Belt, Orion’s SwordJu/WasiTheir god, Old/Gao, was hunting in the skies. He spotted three zebras (Orion’s Belt) and shot an arrow at them. But it missed, falling short. The arrow is Orion’s Sword. All three zebras escaped onto the Earth, as can be seen when they set in the west. There were either 2 male and 1 female, or 2 female and 1 male zebra. (Marshall 1975)Snedegar 1995b:12
Orion’s Belt, Orion’s SwordNyae Nyae !Kung||Kanosi “which we could not translate”Marshall 1986:192
Orion’s Belt, Orion’s SwordVendaMakhali, “a rhinoceros, iota & theta Ori = the horn”Snedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s Sword/XamMale Tortoises (hung upon a stick)Bleek 1875:10
Orion’s Sword/Xam“female tortoises hung on a stick”Snedegar 1995b:13
Orion’s SwordNyae Nyae !KungAn arrow.Marshall 1986:192
Orion’s SwordSothoDintshwa “the three dogs are chasing the three pigs”Snedegar 1995b:12
Orion’s SwordTswanadintsa le Dikolobe “the three dogs are chasing the three pigs”Snedegar 1995b:12
Orion’s SwordZuluoNdwenjana; either “a tall object, a man or tree” or “varieties of long-stemmed flowers such as lillies”Snedegar 1995b:12
Peacock (alpha Pavonis)/Gwig=eisa “the female steenbok”Snedegar 1995b:19
Pleiades!Ko!xweSnedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiades!Kung!xwe, tshxumSnedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiades!XuKanandura [a group of stars thrown into the sky by God]Snedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiades/Gwi!xwe, or xwedzi [a crowded bunch of stars]Snedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiades/Xam//xwhai [group of small stars]Snedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiades/Xam“.. the Pleiades are summer’s things, summer’s stars”Hollmann 2000:120
PleiadesKaranga of ZimbabweChirimera, ChimutanhatuSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesKhoikhoi!Khunuseti, “Stars of the budding season or spring” .. “those who spring or shoot off from one stem, a cluster”Hammond-Tooke 1893:306
PleiadesKhoikhoi!KhunusetiWarner 1996:5
PleiadesKhoikhoiUsed the Pleiades, !Khunuseti, to forecast the start of the rainy season.Warner 1996:5
PleiadesKiswahili (East Africa & Zanzibar)Kilimia “the ploughing stars” or “the digging stars”Snedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesKongoza lunda emvula “storehouse or gathering place of rain”Hammond-Tooke 1893:311
PleiadesNaron!xweSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesNyabungu (Ruanda)kelemeraWarner 1996:5
PleiadesNyae Nyae !KungTshxum [a first name]Marshall 1986:194
PleiadesNyasa (Malawi)Lemila Snedegar 1995b:11,12
Pleiadespastoralist groups of southern Africathe first visibility (in Aug or early Sep) of the Pleiades in morning twilight heralded the imminence of the planting season, and usually denoted the beginning of the year.Warner 1996:4
PleiadesShonaChimutanhatu “the six” or Chinyamunomwe “the seven” or chirema “lame or abnormal”Snedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesSothoSelemelaSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesSwahiliProverb: “If the Digging Stars set in sunny weather they rise in rain, if they set in rain they rise in sunny weather”Snedegar 1995a:533
PleiadesTsongaXirimelo, shirimelaSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesTswanaSelemelaSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesVendaTshilimelaSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesXhosaWatched for the first appearance of the isiLimela in June. It is said that the month of the Digging Stars, Eyesilimela, symbolized new life in man for the time of the coming-out ceremony of the abakwetha circumcision school was determined by the appearance of this constellation. It has always been custom for Xhosa men to count their years of manhood from this date.Snedegar 1995a:534
PleiadesXhosaEyesilimelaSnedegar 1995b:11,12
PleiadesXhosaThe key for the start of the digging season was the helical sighting of the distinctive pattern of stars known as ‘Isilimela’ (the Pleiades).Fairall & Matomela 2003
PleiadesZuluLinked the Pleiades’ evening visibility with agricultural activitySnedegar 1995a:534
PleiadesZuluisiLimela “the digging stars”Snedegar 1995b:11,12
Pollux/Xamfemale eland, wife of ProcyonSnedegar 1995b:18
Procyon/XamMale ElandBleek 1875:10
Procyon/Xammale eland with 2 wivesSnedegar 1995b:18
Regulus/Gwi/edzini “the fire-finisher” which only sets when the firewood has been exhaustedSnedegar 1995b:19
Regulus?TswanaMakgala “a star visible on July evenings”Snedegar 1995b:19
Rigel or Sirius/Xam“he who calls the springbok and they come to him”Snedegar 1995b:13
seasonSotho (North)Lehlabula “the time of plenty”. xxx – April; when people reap what they have sown.Snedegar 1995a:530
seasonSotho (North)Marega “when things dry up”. May to AugustSnedegar 1995a:530
seasonSotho (North)Selemo “the digging season”. Commencing with the spring rains, time for cultivation, planting and weeding.Snedegar 1995a:530
seasonTswanawinter. First observed rising of Canopus (in May) to denote the beginning of winter.Warner 1996:5
seasonTswanathe Southern Cross ‘moves with the year’Warner 1996:7
Sirius/Xam“the grandmother of Canopus”Snedegar 1995b:12
SiriusJu/Wasi“the hip bone”Snedegar 1995b:12
SiriusNyae Nyae !KungHipbone, “Thigh” to the Naro, “Water Star” to the !Xo, “Side Star [to Canopus]” to the !Gwi.Marshall 1986:188
SiriusSothoKgogamashego “drawer up of the night”Snedegar 1995b:14
SiriusSotho, Tswana, Venda, Zulu[see Kgogamashego etc.] “a conspicuous object, high in the sky, perhaps culminating, at dawn. … Sirius dominates the morning sky in July and in late winter it rises early enough to fit the Zulu description. [for which see p14, Callaway 1970] ”Snedegar 1995b:14
SiriusTswanaKgogamasigo “pulls the night across”Snedegar 1995b:14
SiriusVendaKhohamutsho “pulling out the dawn”Snedegar 1995b:14
SiriusVendaTshilimo “visible in the hoeing season but to be distinguished from the Pleiades”Snedegar 1995b:15
SiriusXhosaSirius is known as ‘iQhawe’ which means the ‘champion’, presumably because it is the brightest of the (fixed) stars in the night sky.Fairall & Matomela 2003
SiriusZuluinDosa, inDonsakusa, inDonsemasuku, inDonsa, Insansa “straining, or pulling”Snedegar 1995b:14
Sirius and Canopus/XamSirius is the “the grandmother of Canopus”; the elderly following behind more agile youths, Sirius rises after Canopus.Snedegar 1995b:14
skyNyae Nyae !Kung“The sky is the dwelling place of all the divine beings and spirits in !Kung belief. Those beings are the gods, their divine wives and children, and the spirits of the dead. These beings are believed to live in a sky that cannot be seen from Earth. It is above the sky that holds the Sun, Moon and stars.”Marshall 1986:171
skyNyae Nyae !Kung“.. there are two gods .. one, the great god, is the all powerful creator of all things. He lives where the sun rises in the eastern sky .. Old Gao … The other, the lesser god, whose name is //Gauwa, lives in the western sky where the sun sets.”Marshall 1986:171
skyNyae Nyae !Kung“.. the celestial bodies (with minor exceptions to be mentioned) do not influence or reflect the affairs of man nor do they affect the weather, the growth of vegetation, or other conditions of the earth. The celestial bodies, these ‘things of the sky’, are in a realm of their own apart from the Earth and man.”Marshall 1986:173
skywidespread African conceptthe sky is a solid (eg blue rock) concave vault resting on the Earth, upon which the Sun movesWarner 1996:7
Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)Karanga of ZimbabweMazhara “Famine”Snedegar 1995b:21
Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)SothoSetlhako sa senakane “the hoof of Achernar” or the spoor of the star.Snedegar 1995b:21
Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC)TswanaTlalaSnedegar 1995b:21
solsticeNyae Nyae !Kung“.. the !Kung have not noticed the solstices..” … “Among the other Bushman groups we visited, only the Naro .. observerd the solstices. They mentioned the sun’s changing position along the horizon in its yearly motion. They spoke of the longer nights of winter…”Marshall 1986:175
solsticeXhosainjikolanga “the turning back of the Sun”Snedegar 1995b:5
solsticeZuluimpenduka-langa “the turning back of the Sun”Snedegar 1995b:5
Spica//GanaPigMarshall 1986:188
SpicaZuluiNqonqoli, iNonqoyi “wildebeest star … the appearance of Spica coincides with the calving season of the wildebeest.Snedegar 1995b:17
SpicaZuluiNqonqoli, iNonqoyi “wildebeest star”Snedegar 1995b:17
starHereroomyoseHammond-Tooke 1893:310
starShonanyeredzi, nyenyedziSnedegar 1995b:2
starSothodinalediSnedegar 1995b:2
starTsongatinyeletiSnedegar 1995b:2
starVendamaledziSnedegar 1995b:2
starXhosainkwenkweziSnedegar 1995b:2
starZuluinkanyeziSnedegar 1995b:2
stars/XamSome stars possess several Bushman names, for instance Canopus, which has at least five.Bleek 1875:10
stars/XamThe stars were formerly people … The opening of flowers from their buds compared with the former ways of the stars.Lloyd 1889:8
stars/XamThe great star, !gaunu, which, singing, named the stars. Lloyd 1889:8
starsIbibio (Nigeria)“Sand of the Moon”Warner 1996:9
starsNyae Nyae !KungThe stars are little things .. as one sees them on earth, they look like tiny porcupines. They have little legs, ears, teeth and are covered with tiny spines.Marshall 1986:187
starsSetswanalinaleriHammond-Tooke 1893:310
starsSwahilinyotaHammond-Tooke 1893:310
starsTswanaStars are holes in the rocky vault that is the skyWarner 1996:7
Sun/Xam“a man from whose armpit brightness proceeded, lived formerly on earth; but only gave light for a space around his house. Some children belonging to the First Bushmen were therefore sent to throw up the sleeping Sun into the sky; since then, he shines all over the earth.”Bleek 1875:9
Sun/XamThe Sun could be asked for nothing except warmth and light. … the sun is a hunter who is well fed and who can afford to leave to others his surplus game. Requests to the sun to steady the hunter’s arm when aiming at game… This type of prayer was made in the early morning before the day’s hunting took place. Hammond-Tooke 1893:92
SunNyae Nyae !Kung“.. think of the Sun in terms of searing heat, thirst, hunger, and exhaustion. They call the Sun a ‘death thing’.”Marshall 1986:174
SunNyae Nyae !KungThe Nyae Nyae !Kung and the !Xo have a lore that describes the sun’s setting and rising. The lore tells of a supernatural people who eat the sun when it sets…”Marshall 1986:176
SunSanthe Sun was once a man from whose armpits light was emitted. Having kept the illumination selfishly to himself, some children of the ancient race threw him into the sky, since when he shines over the entire Earth.Warner 1996:7
SunShonazuvaSnedegar 1995b:3
SunSothole-tjatju, letsatsiSnedegar 1995b:3
SunVendaduvhaSnedegar 1995b:3
SunXhosailangaSnedegar 1995b:3
SunZuluilangaSnedegar 1995b:3
Sun, solar eclipseSothofifalo ya letsatsi “darkening of the Sun”Snedegar 1995b:4
Sun, solar eclipseTswanafifalo ya letsatsi “darkening of the Sun”Snedegar 1995b:4
Sun, solar eclipseVendamutsha-kavhili “two dawns”Snedegar 1995b:4
Sun, solar eclipseXhosaA total eclipse of the Sun was not a welcome sight to the Xhosa. It was seen as an omen of calamity, diseases or death of livestock, or even the death of a king or chief.Fairall & Matomela 2003
Sun, solar eclipseZuluukufiphala kwelanga “darkening of the Sun”Snedegar 1995b:4
unknown starVendaYa-vhadinda “a star seen in the east some time before sunrise, preceding the morning star.”Snedegar 1995b:18
unknown starZuluIntsanta, “the star that is specially bright and scintillates numerous rays”Warner 1996:9
Venus as Evening StarNdebeleLykwela mkobe “asking for mealies”Snedegar 1995b:10
Venus as Evening StarSothoKopa-dilallo “asking for supper” or Se-falabogogo “crust scrapings”Snedegar 1995b:10
Venus as Evening StarTswanaKopadilelo“asking for supper”Snedegar 1995b:10
Venus as Evening StarVendaKhumbela tshilalelo “asking for supper”Snedegar 1995b:10
Venus as Evening StarZuluisi-celankobe “beggar for corn”Hammond-Tooke 1893:310
Venus as Evening StarZuluiCelankobe “asking for mealies”, or Piekankobe “boiled maize”Snedegar 1995b:10
Venus as Morning StarShonaMasase and Muronga, the two wives of the MoonSnedegar 1995b:9
Venus as Morning StarTsongaKhwezu (p.9), Ngongomela “towering in strength” (p.10)Snedegar 1995b:9
Venus as Morning StarTswananaledi ya masa, “the morning star”Snedegar 1995b:9
Venus as Morning StarVendaMusasiSnedegar 1995b:9
Venus as Morning StarZuluIkhweziSnedegar 1995b:9
Venus in daytimeXhosaThe challenge of finding iKhwezi Iesibini (Venus) in the daytime was given to boys by their peers. They would have to lie on their backs in the shade and point it out. If they could achieve this, and carry out various other tasks, then they were welcomed into the circle of true shepherds.Fairall & Matomela 2003
yearSetswanangwagaSnedegar 1995b:5
yearSiswatium-nyakaSnedegar 1995b:5
yearXhosaum-nyakaSnedegar 1995b:5
yearZuluunyakaSnedegar 1995b:5


Bleek, W.H.I. (1875) Second Report Concerning Bushman Researches with a Short Account of Bushman Folk-lore. Saul Solomon: Cape Town.
Lloyd, L. C. (1889) Short Account of further Bushman Material collected. David Nutt: London. [KGB: 398.208 996 1 LLO]
Hammond-Tooke, W. (1893) The star lore of the South African natives. Transactions of the S.African Philosophical Society, 5(2), 304-312.
Hewitt, R. L. (1986) Structure, meaning and ritual in the narratives of the Southern San. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung, 2. [KGB: 398.208 996 1 HEW]
Snedegar, K. V. (1995) Stars and seasons in southern Africa. Vistas in Astronomy, 39, 529-539.
Snedegar, K. V. (1995) Astronomical traditions of Southern Africa. Unpublished manuscript, deposited at SAAO.
Warner, B. (1996) Traditional astronomical knowledge in Africa. In: Walker, C. (ed) Astronomy Before the Telescope. British Museum Press: London. p 304-317.
Marshall, L. (1986) Some Bushman star lore. In: Vossen, R. & Keuthmann, K. (eds) Contemporary studies on Khoisan: in honour of Oswin Köhler on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung, 5, 169-204.
Hollmann, J. C. (2000) Customs and Beliefs of the /Xam Bushmen. Wits University Press/Ringing Rocks Press.
Fairall, A.P. & Matomela, T. (2003) Xhosa astronomical knowledge. Presented at IAU 25 General Assembly, Syndey, Australia. [unpublished manuscript]

Further reading

anon (1875) Bushman researches. Standard & Mail (Cape Town), 29 July, p 8. (Detailed review of “Second Report Concerning Bushman Researches with a Short Account of Bushman Folk-lore, by Dr. Bleek, Curator of the Grey Library. Blue book)
Atkins, K. E. (1988) ‘Kaffir time’: preindustrial temporal concepts and nineteenth-century colonial Natal. JAH, 29, 29-244.
Beaumont, P. (1973) Border Cave – a progress report. SAJS, 69, p 41+ (See also Bogoshi, Naidoo & Webb (1987))
Beyer, G. (1919) Suto astronomy. SAJS, 16(3), 201-210.
Bird, J. T. (1901) Astronomy with the South African Field Force. J.Brit. Astron. Assoc., 11, 344-350 (Deals in part with the Comet (alpha) 1901. Page 347: “Kaffir ideas about the comet”)
Bleek, D. F. (1923) The Mantis and his friends: Bushman folklore collected by Dr W.H.I. Bleek and the late Dr Lucy C. Lloyd. Maskew Miller: Cape Town. (KGB: 398.208 996 1 MAN)
Bleek, W.H.I. & Lloyd, L.C. (1911) Specimens of Bushman folklore. George Allen: London. (/Xam texts from the Bleek archive.)
Bleek, W.H.I. (1875) A brief account of Bushman folk-lore and other texts. J C Juta: Cape Town. (/Xam traditions concerning the Moon and the ‘Dawn’s Heart Star’, star names.)
Bogoshi, J., Naidoo, K. & Webb, J. (1987) The oldest mathematical artefact. Math Gazette, December 1987. (Describes a baboon fibula with a series of 29 notches incised along its length that was found during excavation of Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountain between South Africa and Swaziland. Very similar calendar sticks of wood are still in use today by some Bushman clans in South West Africa. (see also, Beaumont (1973)))
Breutz, P. K. (1969) Sotho-Tswana celestial concepts. In: Ethnological and linguistics studies in honour of N J Van Warmelo. Ethnological Publications No. 52, Department of Bantu Administration and Development, Government Printer, Pretoria.
Bruwer, J. P. (1959) Die Goue Mantel en ander verhale. (From PWG private collection)
Carnegie, D. (1894) Among the Matabele (2nd edition). Religious Tract Society: London. (Ndebele reaction to lunar eclipses.)
Clegg, A. (1986) Some aspects of Tswana cosmology. Botswana Notes and Records, 18, 33-37. (Mentioned in a News Note, “Astronomy in Botswana”, MNASSA, 1989, 48, p 53.)
Crommelin, A. C. D. (1901) Report on Comet (alpha) 1901 which was visible April/May of that year. Presented at the meeting of the Brit.Astron.Assoc., held May 29 1901, London. J. Brit.Astron.Assoc., 11, 305-308. (Reports of the comet from South Africa. Page 307, General Louis Botha considers comet a presage of peace and independence for the Boers)
De Heusch, L. (1980) Heat, physiology and cosmogony: rites of passage among the Thonga. In: Explorations in African Systems of Thought. Indiana University Press: Bloomington. (Sun and Moon symbolism.)
De Jong, C. (1982) Die indrukke wat die komeet van Viscara in Suid-Afrika gemaak het. Africana Notes and News, 25, 78-83. (Comet 1901 I; Great Comet of 1901. Comet appeared during the Anglo-Boer War, white, black and brown people gazed at the comet and speculated on its meanings. The author quotes contemporary accounts of the event)
Deacon, J. & Dowson, T.A. (1996) Voices from the Past: /Xam bushmen and the Bleek and Lloyd Collection. Witwatersrand University Press. The Khoisan Heritage Series. (KGB: 306.089 961 VOI)
Dornan, S. S. (1921) The heavenly bodies in South African mythology.
Dornan, S. S. (1927) Moon lore amongst the Bantu. NADA, 5, 29-35
Earthy, E. Dora (1924) On the significance of the body markings of some natives of Portuguese East Africa. SAJS, 21, 573-587. (Page 583 discusses representations of the Sun; p 584 discusses representations of the Moon)
EL: First published 1930. First novel in English by a black African. Based on tribal ferment and upheavel in the 1830s. Chapter 18, pp 119-124: Halley’s Comet, its influence on the native mind. This reprint in the African Fiction Library series features woodcut of comet by Cecil Skotnes. Star lore – African; Ethnoastronomy
Faye, C. (1923) Zulu references for interpreters and students. City Printing Works: Pietermaritzburg. (List of Zulu month names)
Fourie, C. (2001) Splinters Uit die Vuur. Protea Boekhuis: Pretoria. (From PWG private collection)
Fraser, B. (1995) Astronomy in the lives of the indigenous people of Southern Africa (Presidential Address). MNASSA, 54, 126-
Frick, C. & Hammerbeck, E. C. I. (1973) Catalogue of South African and South West African Meteorites. Department of Mines Bulltetin 57, Government Printers, Pretoria. (Transkei people distributing pieces of the Queen’s Mercy meteorite for muti.)
Gluckman, M. (1934?) Unpublished typescript. Wits University Historical Papers A 1119. (Zulu ethnography; possibly the source of astronomical information from Krige (1936))
Gray, R. (1965) Eclipse maps. JAH, 6(3), 251-262.
Gray, R. (1968) Annular eclipse maps. JAH, 9(1), 147-157.
Grobbelaar, P. W. & Van Reenen, J. (n.d.) Die Wit Pyl. Tafelberg. (From PWG private collection)
Helfman, E. S. (1971) The Bushmen and their stories. Seabury Press: New York. (KGB: 398.208 996 1 HEL)
Hromnik, C. A. (1996) Ancient Indian Religious Astronomy in the Stone Ruins of Komatiland, South Africa. MNASSA, 55, 69-77. (Archaeoastronomy; Religion and astronomy; Sun; Moon)
Hromnik, C. A.(1990) Exploring the possibilities of a Moon/Sun Shrine on the slopes of Lion’s Head or a Soma/Suriyan Koyil on !Guru !Goa. CABO (Historical Society of Cape Town), 5, no.1: 26-34. (Archaeoastronomy; Ethnoastronomy; Religion and astronomy; Sun; Moon)
Knight, I. (2000) The Sun turned black: the Isandlwana eclipse debate. Journal of the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society (London), June. (Annular solar eclipse of 1879; annular eclipse of the sun 1879; Battle of Isandlwana; Zulu mythology; ethnoastronomy; archaeoastronomy; Zululand; Natal)
Krige, E. (1931) Agricultural ceremonies and practices of the BaLobedu. Bantu Studies, 5(3), 207-239 (Calendar and heliacal rising of stars.)
Krige, E. J. (1936) The social system of the Zulus. Longmans Green: London. Appendix X: Conceptions of the Universe.
Krog, A. (2004) Die sterre sê ‘tsau’ Kwela Boeke: Cape Town. (From PWG private collection)
Lagercrantz, S. (1964) Traditional beliefs in Africa concerning meteors, comets and shooting stars. In: Festschrift fur Ad. E. Jensen. Klaus Renne Verlag: Munich. 319-329. (includes many references to book and journal articles, but date of publication, author, title and page numbers are ofen inadequate)
Langenhoven (1922) “Stille Waters”, Die dokter se viviseksie, Die Burger, 1922 December 25
Marshall, L. (1975) Two Ju/wa constellations. Botswana Notes and Records, 7, 153-159.
Marwick, B. A. (1940) The Swazi: An ethnographic account of the natives of Swaziland. Cambridge University Press. (Calendar and traditions concerning the Moon.)
McCosh, F. W. J. (1979) The African Sky. NADA, 12(1), 30-44.
McCrea, W.H. (1973) Sirius – a conjecture and an appeal. J. Brit. Astr. Soc., 84, 63-64.
Norton, Rev. Father (1909) Native star names. SAJS, 6, 306-309. (Also published as Report of the 7th Annual Meeting of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, Bloemfontein, 1909, August 27 – September 2)
Obenga, Theophile (1987) Notes sur les connaissances astronomiques bantu. Muntu No. 6.
Orpen, J. M. (1874) n.t. In: Cape Monthly Magazine, July 1874, pp 1-13. (Referenced in Bleek (1875:6))
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Thackeray, J. F. (1988) Comets, Meteors and Trance: were these conceptually associated in Southern African pre-history? MNASSA, 47, 49-52.
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Woodhouse, B. (1986) Centuries before Halley our Bushmen painted comets. Halley’s Comet Special Supplement to the Argus. 21 February.
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Woodhouse, H. C. Bert Comets in the rock art of Southern Africa. Papers for the Archaeological Society of New Mexico, 12, 55-60.
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Protecting South Africa’s astronomical heritage