Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How Tribal Marks Came To Be Used African Folktale

How tribal marks came to be used is a priceless African folktale. 



African folktale

How tribal marks came to be used is a story forming part of an oral storytelling tradition shaped by the tongues of African elders passed down from one generation to the next.



How Tribal Marks Came To Be Used


A King named Sango sent two slaves to a distant country on an important mission.

How Tribal Marks Came To Be Used African Folktale
How Tribal Marks Came To Be Used African Folktale
Photo by Dietmar Temps Flickr
In due course they returned, and he found that one slave had achieved successfully what he had been sent to do, while the other had accomplished nothing. The King therefore rewarded the first with high honors, and commanded the second to receive a hundred and twenty-two razor cuts all over his body.

This was a severe punishment, but when the scars healed, they gave to the slave a very remarkable appearance, which greatly took the fancy of the King’s wives.


Sango therefore decided that cuts should in future be given, not as punishment, but as a sign of royalty, and he placed himself at once in the hands of the markers. However, he could only bear two cuts, and so from that day two cuts on the arm have been the sign of royalty, and various other cuts came to be the marks of different tribes.


African Folktale

African Folktale three facts

African folktales usually have sly animals and spirits as the main characters.

Anansi is one of the most beloved African folktale characters. He often takes the shape of a spider and is considered to be the spirit of all knowledge of stories.

Reading African folktales will help kids make connections to their cultural heritage.


Have you ever wondered about...
The Boa-Constrictor an African folktale

Share this page

Trending Now

Did you know?

The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb