Tutwa, The Legend


The Giraffe in the Sky – an ancient Bushman legend.

At the very beginning of time, say the Bushmen, the Sun did not know it’s way around the heavens. Giraffe had a habit of staring curiously at everything, and so the Creator thought that it would be a good idea to give Giraffe the task of watching over the Sun, so that it didn’t go astray. Giraffe took his job very seriously. (Indeed, he was so good at it that the Sun never again took a wrong turn.) The Creator was very proud of Giraffe, and He decided to honour him. He rearranged a few stars so that they made a giraffe shape in the sky. The Bushmen call the pattern Tutwa (Giraffe), and use it to guide them when they travel at night. English-speaking people call Tutwa the Southern Cross, and use it as a guide too. We call Tutwa an oasis of tranquil luxury.

From When Hippo was Hairy – And Other Tales from Africa, by Nick Greaves and Rod Clement.