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Title: Qamata  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Xhosa culture, African gods, Nelson Mandela
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Qamatha is the most prominent god in the Xhosa people of south-eastern Africa. Qamatha is the child of the sun god, Thixo, and the earth goddess, Jobela.

There are few certain beliefs about Qamatha other than that he is omnipresent and that there is no other being like him. One act that may signify worship of or respect for him involves small artificial heaps of stones or cairns scattered about the land. A traveller may often be seen adding a stone to such cairns "for Qamatha," in hopes of being granted luck or good fortune in whatever he happens to be thinking of at the time.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain, as seen from the Cape Town harbour

Prominent Zulu sangoma and writer Credo Mutwa has recounted a legend of how, when Qamatha wanted to create dry land, the sea dragon Nkanyamba interfered. Qamatha's mother, Jobela, created four giants to help him in work and battle Nkanyamba.

When Qamatha's task was completed and enough dry land had been recovered, the giants were turned to stone so they could continue to keep watch over the land. The southernmost of them, Umlindi Wemingizimu ("Watcher of the South") became Table Mountain near Cape Town, South Africa.


  • Table Mountain Activity Guide: Storytelling
  • . 1886: London.Kaffir Folk-lore: A Selection from the Traditional TalesTheal, George McCall.
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