A Baobab Myth: all Hyena’s fault

While on the road in the Southern African region with my motorbike I discovered that various explanations or myths exist in the different countries of why the Baobab looks the way it does.

I came across the following myth while travelling in Namibia:

People say that at the beginning of time the Creator gathered all the animals around him. He wanted to allocate a different tree to each animal. As more and more animals came the space became crowded and things a bit confusing. The creator made all animals queue up in a long line which reached up to the horizon.

The hyena, known for being careless in following instructions, was late. Therefore she had to queue at the end of the row in the sweltering sun. Meanwhile the Creator was busy handing out tree saplings which the animals should plant into the soil.

After a long time he reached the end of the queue and only the Baobab sapling was left for the hyena. She was not amused at all. Hyena nurtured a great dislike for the little tree for its strange appearance, its grotesquely shaped trunk and the bizarre-looking branches: simply repulsive and ugly!

The Hyena was so upset and frustrated – as soon as she held the seedling she tossed it away in disgust. The Little Baobab landed on the ground with its branches facing down. Because his roots still grow towards heaven it is known as the “Upside Down Tree”.

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