Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa – The bushmen

The bushmen are the oldest inhabitants of southern Africa where they have lived for at least 20 000 years. Their home is the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert. Historically, the bushmen lived in clans and loosely-connected family groups and spend their lives wandering in hunting parties in a continuous search for food.

The bushmen are famous for their rock art, ancient paintings and carvings depicting hunters, animals and half human half animal hybrids. Only expert bushmen artists could exercise their talent and these artists were also the invokers of spirits and the tellers of stories and tales.

God and the afterlife
The bushmen traditionally believe in a greater and a lesser Supreme Being or God.
The greater God first created himself and then the land and the food it produces, the air and water. He is generally a positive power and protects, wards off disease and teaches skills to people. When angered, however, he can send bad fortune.

The lesser god is seen to be bad or evil, a destroyer rather than builder, and a bearer of bad luck and disease. The bushmen believed that bad luck and disease was caused by the spirits of the dead, because they want to bring the living to the same place they are.

Cagn is the name the bushmen gave their god. They attributed human characteristics to him as well as many charms and magical powers.

The bushmen believed in the afterlife and a dead man’s weapons were buried with him. They turned the face of the dead towards the rising sun, as they believed that if he was faced to the west the sun would take longer to rise the next day.

The wind
The bushmen believed that the wind was once a person who, by some mischance, sprouted feathers which enabled him to fly like a bird. He was a hunter and, his bird form enabled him to fly to seek his prey. The bird-man flew into the mountains and found a cave for himself, high up on the cliff face. People can now feel him coming and going in his search for food, his wings swishing. The bird-man has a short temper and flies into rages when provoked. He throws himself down on the ground like a naughty child and kicks and screams. Peace is restored when he recovers and stands up again.

The bushmen heritage includes a deep belief in witchcraft and charms. They have a dread of violating them and bringing bad luck upon themselves. The hunters believe that if their shadows fall on dying game it will bring disaster upon them. No matter how thirsty a bushman is, he will not dig a hole in the bed of a dried-up stream until he has made an offering to appease the spirit of the stream. The spirit is thought to take the form of an enormous man with either red or green skin and white hair. The spirit can make himself visible or invisible at will.

African bushmen
Roaming the hot, dry desert
An ancient people

About the author

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Find and follow Roberta Eaton

Roberta Writes Blog     Twitter    Facebook

While the Bombs Fell

TSL Publications     Lulu

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Robbie also writes as Robbie  Cheadle

Robbie’s Inspiration Blog      Goodreads    Facebook    YouTube

Amazon author page   Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery

… a perfect recipe for sharing with children.  Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon    TSL Books

or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at

Tell me a story…

If you are a writer, artist or photographer…If you have a poem, story or memoirs to share… If you have a book to promote, a character to introduce, an exhibition or event to publicise… If you have advice for writers, artists or bloggers…

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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52 Responses to Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa – The bushmen

  1. Ritu says:

    I always love Robbie’s old folklore tales!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for hosting me with this post today, Sue. I do enjoy giving people some insights into the wonderful world of African mythology and beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Fascinating post, Robbie. I used to see devotees go into a trance at Sufi shrines in Pakistan. The drumming and chanting is truly hypnotic.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Enjoyed this post, Robbie. Their beliefs have stood them in good stead for many generations, maybe we should take heed 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This was so fascinating. I really enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing this history, Robbie 😊 And thank you, Sue for sharing Robbie! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Roberta Writes and commented:
    I am over at Sue Vincent’s lovely blog with a post about the historical beliefs and ancient myths of the bushmen or Saan people of the Kalahari desert. Thank you, Sue!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the educational content – I love posts like this one! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Reblogged this on DSM Publications and commented:
    Meet Guest author: Roberta Eaton, in this post from Sue Vincent’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa II – The Khoikhoi (Hottentots) | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  10. Pingback: Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa V: The Venda | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  11. Pingback: Guest author: Roberta Eaton ~ Beliefs and myths of southern Africa – The bushmen

  12. Interesting reading, Robbie. I read a lot about primitive (using that term denotatively) tribes to inform me on my people. There is a lot to be said about how well their lifestyle and culture worked for their beliefs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jacqui, you are right. The San people had adapted their lifestyles perfectly to their desert surroundings. Unfortunately, many of them haven’t thrived in the modern world and there is a lot of alcoholism among them now. Those who have managed to retain their traditional lifestyles are much better off.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Said it before and I’ll say it again.., you always share the best stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I missed this series when it first came out. So glad to catch it this time. Very interesting learning about the bushmen. Thanks, Robbie and Sue!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Daniel Kemp says:

    My mother and father would have marvelled at how today we can learn so much about other races from people living all over this world of ours. The strange thing is though no matter how much easier knowledge becomes accessible, common sense remains an incomprehensible concept for so many.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It’s fascinating to me how much similarity there is in the beliefs of different cultures. I love the animation of natural elements into mythologies and the sacredness of the Earth. So glad Robbie reshared this post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Jim Borden says:

    fascinating to see and read about a culture so different than mine. I loved the story of the bird man and having child-like fits. And that is scary to think that dancing could cause a near death experience…

    Liked by 2 people

  18. The bushmen of Africa are a people and a culture I know nothing about. I am glad I had the opporutnity to read Robbie’s post to begin rectifying that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • HI Liz, I have always been interested in all the various people who live in my country. As a little girl when we lived on a farm, I would go and visit the workers in their village and listen to their stories. I even gave away one of my dolls to my friend, the daughter of a farm worker, and my mother was hopping mad because it had been sent to me from my grandmother in England.

      Liked by 2 people

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