Mami Wata

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Mami Wata (also known by variant spellings and by many other names), is known by its adherents in Togo, Benin and in the USA, as a pantheon of ancient water spirits or deities of the African diaspora who is worshiped in West, Central, and Southern Africa, and in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America.

Sourced[edit]

  • It sometimes happens that one or the other of the black slaves either imagines truthfully, or out of rascality pretends to have seen and heard an apparition or ghost which they call water mama, which ghost would have ordered them not to work on such or such a day, but to spend it as a holy day for offering with the blood of a white hen, to sprinkle this or that at the water-side and more of that monkey-business, adding in such cases that if they do not obey this order, shortly Watermama will make their child or husband etc. die or harm them otherwise.
    • Ontwerp tot een beschryving van Surinaamen, c. 1744. Quoted in van Stipriaan 327.
  • Papa, Nago, Arada and other slaves who commonly are brought here under the name Fida [Ouidah] slaves, have introduced certain devilish practices into their dancing, which they have transposed to all other slaves; when a certain rhythm is played... they are possessed by their god, which is generally called Watramama.
    • J. Nepveu (c. 1775), "Annotaties op het boek van J. D. Herlein 'Beschryvinge van de volkplantinge Zuriname'". Quoted in van Stipriaan 327-8. Emphasis in original.

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