The tale below is based on the artist's 1980's comic strip story "How Anansi Came to the
Americas". It is the first illustrated explanation of how Anansi came to the "New World".
...who came from their old homes on the
continent, the story of their journey often
...with slavery or ends with despair.
Or emotional outlets provided through
gospel, the blues, jazz, rock & roll,
salsa, calypso, reggae, rap, and more.
The art of storytelling is often over-
looked. Yet African storytelling survives
in many parts of the world today.
Sometimes we learn about the rich heritage
of African music.
One morning, before the cock-a-doodled,
Anansi picked up his machete and spear...
Some stories remain exactly as they were
told many centuries ago. The purpose
remains the same. They teach people how
to live in this world.
Some stories were brought by Kweku
Anansi the Spider. This tale is
How Anansi Came To America.
Anansi walked for many miles into the bush until he came upon some fresh tracks of a warthog. He followed the tracks
deep into the grassland. Sometime later he saw signs which indicated that the warthog was not too far away. His mouth
began to water. His stomach started to grumble. He dreamed of sinking his teeth into juicy roasted meat.
Upon reaching a patch of tall grass, Anansi saw the warthog lying on its side. The warthog had been killed by someone
else. However, there was nobody around to claim it.
"Ah, I wonder who was so kind to leave this meat for me? Maybe it was my father Nyame the Sky God. Nyame must
have seen that his son was tired and hungry", Anansi thought to himself. "He took pity on me and struck the beast down
with his lightening so that I would not have to do the hard work of killing it. I must thank Nyame." Anansi said.
Without giving thanks to Nyame, he quickly picked up some dry sticks and made a fire. Soon the warthog was roasting.
Before the roasted meat had time to cool, Anansi began to eat. He did not stop eating until he had eaten almost all of the
meat, except for a piece of the foot.
Suddenly, Osebo the Leopard appeared out of the bushes carrying some firewood, a large gourd filled with water, and a
cooking pot. He looked around for the warthog that he had killed. It was gone. However, in its place was Anansi the
Spider, stuffed and pleased.
The story continues when Osebo pursues Anansi who hides out in a medicine bag around the neck of a captive woman
on her wretched march into slavery. Anansi is unwittingly transported on to a slave ship bound for the Spanish Americas.
During his perilous journey in the hold of the ship, he has an encounter with Nyame. Anansi pleads with Nyame to return
him home to Asanti. However, Nyame has another plan for Anansi.
"I am sending you somewhere, Anansi, but not to Asanti. You must go with these captives to the place called the New
World." Nyame said.
"But, Nyame... These people are slaves! I did not have anything to do with them being here. They were the ones who
brought me here. It is their misfortune to fall into the hands of the slave traders. Oh, Nyame, punish the people who deal
in slavery... But send me back to my people." Anansi pleaded.
Anansi was not sent back to Asanti. Instead, he ended up in the New World. He arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619
against his will. There he became "The Comforter of the Enslaved".
Copyright 2007 by Michael Auld
|How Anansi Came to
By Michael Auld
|This is a tale of when and how Africans arrived
in the first permanent English colony in North
America. The story begins in the West Coast
of Africa. It ends with a new beginning on the
East Coast of North America in Jamestown,
Virginia in 1619.
When we read the history of people of
African descent in the Americas...