Tikoloshe: African Dwarves, Sprites, and Fairies

Tikoloshe sketch Photo courtesy of The Mythical Creatures Guide

The Tikoloshe, found in Zulu mythology are said to be small, imp-like creatures that possess various forms of magical powers.  The Zulus describe the Tikoloshe as being about as tall as a typical Gnome or Gremlin. Their heads are similar in appearance to that of a teddy bear’s head which has a large, bony protrusion running from the forehead to the back of the skull.   They use this protrusion to “head butt” other creatures if necessary. Still, others believe that the Tikoloshe appears more like a large man-like bear who possesses immense physical strength. They are able to become invisible by swallowing a pebble and are said to favor sour milk, “snuff”, and women.

Tikoloshe are mischievous beings that often enjoy targeting schoolchildren.  When the Tikoloshe attack, they usually leave the children with long, itchy scratches on their backs, arms and legs.  One such attack of this sort was said to have occurred near Johannesburg, South Africa in a town called Soweto. A creature resembling the Tikoloshe terrorized an entire school for an unspecified period of time.  It became so prevalent however that the children in the area eventually nicknamed the Tikoloshe, “Pinky-Pinky”.

Tikoloshe Pendent Photo Courtesy of Africagold.co.za

Most often, Tikoloshe is said to be seen only by those that have been cursed in some way by a Shaman.  Zulus typically state that they have never seen the Tikoloshe. Many others however believe that is not true.  They believe that many people actually do see the Tikoloshe but will never state it publically for fear that the Tikoloshe will eventually return to seek retribution.  People fear them so much that they will go to extreme measures to prevent any additional attacks or retribution by the Tikoloshe. They will stack bricks under their bedposts so that their beds are raised at least three feet off of the floor.  By doing this, their hope is that the Tikoloshe will be unable to reach them while they are asleep. Once the Tikoloshe has been discovered a witch doctor must be summoned and use his magic to banish them from the area. 

Bantu Tokoloshe masks Photo courtesy of: Surfersvillage.com

Similar sightings of the Tikoloshe have been reported by the Bantu tribe in neighboring Zimbabwe.  The Tokoloshe, as the Bantu know them, have the same general appearances as those given by the Zulus but with one big difference.  The Tokoloshe, according to the Bantu, also has a large penis in which the Tokoloshe slings over one of their shoulders. The Tokoloshe’s primary activities remain the same though according to Bantu folklore.  They carry out mischievous attacks against children or can even be summoned to cause trouble for others. They can also be used to simply scare someone or to even cause death. When the Tokoloshe is not otherwise occupied they make love to their witch mistress who afterward provides them with milk and food.

For more, please check out this video by Monstrom https://youtu.be/vTdIwEg5niQ




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