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Africa's Ant Riders

By Bronwyn Katzke

Astride his ‘[steed]’ he majestically sits; chest puffed, shoulders back and head held proud. He is of the Abatwa and he would look down on you even though his ‘stead’ is an ant and his height is matched with that of a fat pea. Some would group him with the realm of faery, but the Abatwa are proud little warriors and you would caution to ever call an Abatwa small.

Found in Zulu mythology, the Abatwa are humans who look just like the Zulu peoples, with one exception- they are so small they can ride ants and hide under a blade of grass. In Zulu folklore it is believed that when the nature spirit Vash’Nok cried, his tears fell to the earth; and at the moment those tears touched the ground, they erupted into the Abatwa peoples.

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