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Strange Myths of South Africa

Were leopards at one time spotless?
Were leopards at one time spotless?

Myths and legends are what make different countries special. South Africa is no exception to this rule as it has its own share of myths. While many people feel that these stories are merely urban legends, there are always people who believe with their heart of hearts that these stories and myths are in fact true.

Were leopards at one time spotless?


Did you know that Africans believe that leopards were not originally spotted?

Legend has it that these animals originally were a dirty orange color.

Animals such as the zebra and giraffe apparently teased the leopard for not having any distinguishing markings. This upset the leopard so much that he left the area and went to be alone. A baboon encountered the leopard and asked what the problem was. The leopard revealed his dilemma to the baboon. The baboon responded by splashing the leopard with mud, thereby creating spots on the leopard that this is why leopards have spots today.


The tablecloth of Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa.
The "tablecloth" of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town Slow Because of a 'Tablecloth' of Pure Marijuana


Table Mountain in Cape Town is often covered with a cloud referred to as the 'table cloth'. The devil and one Jan Van Hunks have a lot to do with this according to South African mythology.

Van Hunks was apparently a retired pirate who retired to live on Devil's Peak, which is adjacent to Table Mountain. Legend has it that Van Hunks and the devil had a competition to see who could smoke the most amount of marijuana. Van Hunks won the competition after a number of days at which time a gust of the smoke blew both satan and Van Hunks away. The remaining smoke is believed to be the tablecloth that is often seen on Table Mountain.

Don't Mess with the Witch Doctor as He Will Wend His Friend the Tokoloshe


Depiction of a tokoloshe (talk-awe-losh-ee) from African mythology.
Depiction of a tokoloshe (talk-awe-losh-ee) from African mythology.

The tokoloshe (talk-awe-losh-ee) comes from African mythology. This is believed to be a small creature that grows no more than 5' tall. The tokoloshe is a short hairy creature and is said to work for a witch doctor to perform evil deeds on unsuspecting people.

In days gone by, African folk used to raise their beds on bricks so that the tokoloshe could not gain access to his intended victim. A more believable story is that some people died of asphyxiation in their beds due to poor air circulation in their homes. Many poor African people used gas to cook and heat their homes and it's believed that this gas would kill the people. Many people at the time chose to believe that someone had set the tokoloshe on the dead person as part of some vendetta.

Thankfully, no tourist has ever been negatively affected by any of these myths and Cape Town in particular remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Does the tablecloth myth have anything to do with that? We'll never know!

by Content Cafe