Apr 26

Tokoloshe / Tikoloshe (evil spirit)

by in Culture & Heritage

Hall at Ohlange

Hall at Ohlange

I know little about Tokoloshe or Tikoloshe dependence on the pronunciation, what I know is that tokoloshe is an evil spirit. I have never seen tokoloshe nor have friends who have seen it, but when we were at primary school we would hear a lot of stories of it and fairy-tales. I went to Indian schools, I don’t remember hearing cases of learners screaming that they have seen a tokoloshe. But I would hear that from the children who go to African primary school especially the primary school next to Ohlange Institute, Amandlakayise Primary School. The children in our neighbourhood will come back from school and tell us that someone saw a tokoloshe in school asking him or her for Amaas (sour milk) and there was a place that they used to tell us that’s where the tokoloshe live and that place is still there inside the Ohlange Institute it an underground hole.


The hole where some believe a tokoloshe is hiding

They are a lot of stories and fairy-tales one have heard of tokoloshe which some of them I have forgot them but I remember one fairy-tale which says  “The story of the tokoloshe originates from a few hundred years ago, when an extremely naughty boy in a rural village was said to have caused trouble with the village’s traditional leader. In order to stop the boy’s disobedient behaviour, the leader led him down to the beach, where he threw salt at the boy.  This is said to have turned the boy into the ugliest creature imaginable, but made him angry and naughtier, until eventually the villagers had no choice but to kill him. Another one is that tokoloshe is a very short thing more a dwarf who appears on little kids it has long nails with rag cloths and will ask you for Amaas if you don’t give it; it will give you a smack across your face.”

My opinion as a Christian is that tokoloshe is used as an evil spirit by the witch doctors (Inyanga) to protest or use against someone. Examples when a certain family want to perform a ritual to strengthen their house so that it can be protected for the evil spirits they would call a (Inyanga) witch doctor, the witch doctor will put this tokoloshe so that it will protect the family from other evil spirit, basically fighting evil spirit with evil spirit. The problem comes when these tokoloshe  or security guides get used to this house and  start to become more comfortable and stop doing there work. And the family will call another (Inyanga) witch doctor because they think the first Inyanga didn’t work, the second Inyanga will put his tokoloshe; that will work a year or two and they will get also feel comfortable and become friends with the other tokoloshes they find in this family  house. These tokoloshe become families in this family and they will bear children and trouble the children of the owner of the house and the whole family.

Nkanyiso Dlamini, 26 April 2013

For more information on certain aspects of this article click on one of the links below:

Amasi (sour milk)

Difference between an Inyanga and a Sangoma – Ulwazi Programme 



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