Astronomy in Africa- News and Updates

Satellite in Kuntunse to be converted for radio astronomy Credit: SKA Africa

  • Last week, Ghana launched a Space Science and Technology Centre in Kuntunse to develop projects and programs in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and more. The South African Department of Science and Technology and Vodafone have supported the establishment of this center and the development of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Project, which would collect data through the Kuntunse station as part of a network of antennas around the world.

Celestial Folklore

Our guest post this week has been canceled, so we thought we would share two condensed versions of African folklore that explore the origins of the sun, moon, and stars.

This Yoruba tale is adapted from Mike Omoleye’s Great Tales of the Yoruba.

Imola and the Moon

There was a young girl named Imola who was preparing to marry her beloved boyfriend. According to custom, before a girl could be married, a pot of walnuts would be cooked overnight and shared with the relatives of the would-be groom. If the walnuts were bad, unhappiness would plague the marriage.  The jealous second wife of Imola’s father burned the walnuts in secret overnight; when Imola discovered this, she climbed up toward the heavens in search of good walnuts and became the moon. Her suitor then followed her up into the sky and became the North Star.

This tale from Ghana is adapted from Emmanuel Asihene’s Traditional Folktales of Ghana.

Ananse and the Sun

Ananse the spider and his son Ntikuma went out in search of food, when suddenly they were captured by a dragon and put into a cave with other people and animals held as prisoners. Ananse devised a plan with the prisoners to create a ladder out of the bones of previous prey in order to escape through a secret hole once the dragon left the cave. As the prisoners climbed the completed ladder, the dragon returned to the cave. When Ananse was almost at the top, he cut the ladder under his feet, which caused the angry dragon to fall to his death. Out of admiration, the animals changed Ananse into the sun, Ntikuma into the moon, and they themselves into the stars.

Do you know any stories of the moon, sun, and stars?