#AtoZChallenge, A to Z Challenge 2016, A-Z Blogging Challenge, African Fae, African Folklore, African legends, Faerie, folklore, folklore creatures, Harry Potter, ogres, Publius Papinius Statius, vampires, writing
S is for Sasabonsam.
Vampires and Ogres are prevalent in all folklore. The Sasabonsam from African folklore can either be a Vampire or an Ogre.
The Asanbosam, Asasabonsam or more commonly Sasabonsam  is a vampire-like folkloric being from West Africa. It belongs to the folklore of the Ashanti of southern Ghana, as well as Côte d’Ivoire and Togo. It is said to have iron teeth and iron hooks for feet and to live in trees, attacking from above.
In mythology, it is usually portrayed as an archetypical ogre; according to A Dictionary of World Mythology:
…the hairy Sasabonsam has large blood-shot eyes, long legs, and feet pointing both ways. Its favourite trick is to sit on the high branches of a tree and dangle its legs so as to entangle the unwary hunter.
Both the ogre and vampire versions have iron teeth.
In popular culture, the Sasabonsam can even be a cute monster.
Sasabonsams are vampiric, spindle-legged creatures native to Nigeria. They are used as mascots for the Nigerian National Quidditch team. During the mascot attacks at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, the Sasabonsams became crazed due to the amount of blood being spilled and started to attack as well.
- The Sasabonsam is a creature from West African folkfore. Alternatively depicted as either a vampire or an ogre, the creature has iron teeth and lives in trees, perched on its spindly legs.
- Sasabonsams are not mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s possible that they weren’t discovered until after 1991. Another possibility is that, like vampires, they are classified as beings.
SASABONSAM (Sa-so-BUN-sum) Variations: Kongamato The Ashanti people of Africa have in their lore a vampiric creature called sasabonsam. This bearded man-faced creature that stands about five feet tall has a mouth full of fanged teeth, a row of scaly ridges over its bloodshot eyes, and a small horn that protrudes from the top of its head. Its very long arms are like gigantic bat wings that have a twenty-foot wingspan, its torso is skeletally thin, its legs are permanently bent, and there are three toes on each of its feet. The sasabon-sam’s body is covered with black and white spots, adding to its camouflage as it sits in the cotton tree, dangling its stringy legs below. When a person walks underneath and brushes against the legs, it snatches up the person, pulling him into the tree and biting off his head, then drinking up the blood. The belief that the sasabonsam lives in cotton trees is prevailing, as can be proven by the great height that these trees grow to—everyone is afraid to cut them down. Sasabonsam can cause sickness in a person just by looking at him and are oftentimes used as a servant by an OBAYIFO. There is an article that was written in 1939 forThe West African Review that reported that a sasabonsam had been successfully hunted down and killed. Source: Jahoda, Psychology of Superstition, 12; Rattray, Ashanti Proverbs, 48; Shuker, Beasts That Hide from Man, 1035; Williams, Psychic Phenomena of Jamaica, 1 6 18
Of course, my version of the Sasabonsam is an Ogre. (This can also be found on the page Origin of the Fae.)
Ogres, guardians of the forest.
They sing in the language of trees; usually melancholy songs.
They are usually peaceful, though when provoked they won’t hesitate to kill.
They keep to themselves.
They do not do things in haste. Like it takes time for a forest to grow, they take time to do what they must.
They can be found in all the forests in all of the world, though they have a special connection to forests in Africa.
“Allow time and moderate delay; haste manages all things badly.” – Publius Papinius Statius
I hope you liked this instalment in my series about African Fae. Anything you’d like to add?
Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free ebook. I won’t share your information and I’ll only email you once a month with updates on new releases, special offers, and a bit of news.