Theshira helps us navigate the world of South African river deities, serpentine cryptids and black magick!

As the host of Legendary Africa Podcast, and resident South African, Theshira researches folklore and legends from all across the African continent, stories which throughout the centuries have most often been lost to history or irreparably warped by colonial influence.

Today we present our collaborative research into the Mamlambo, a figure which has assumed many forms throughout the years: serpent goddess, witch’s familiar, brain-sucking river monster, even wealthy and seductive white foreigners!

But with the advent of Western capitalism in South Africa, we are also bearing witness to a bizarre cultural transformation, where figures of traditional belief are molded and repurposed into embodiments of modern globalization and capitalistic greed!


Huge THANK YOU!!! to Theshira from Legendary Africa for sharing so many important insights, allowing us to frame our conversation within its proper cultural and social context! ❤️

Check out her podcasts:

Legendary AfricaHERE⁠

The Asian Tapestry HERE

Once Upon a Daydream HERE

Follow Theshira on Instagram ⁠@legendarypod⁠ and Twitter @Legendarypod1


Send us suggestions and comments to ⁠⁠

Follow us on Instagram ⁠@tracingowls⁠ or Twitter ⁠@TracingOwls⁠

Check our Linktree: ⁠⁠

Intro sampled from “⁠Something strange lurks in the shadows⁠” by Francisco Sánchez (⁠@fanchisanchez⁠)

Sound effects obtained from ⁠



Mamlambo Cryptid Wiki

Woman opens up about Mamlambo snake that loves S.e.x


Niehaus, Mohlala & Shokaneo (2001), Witchcraft, Power and Politics: Exploring the Occult in the South African Lowveld. Pluto Press

Karl Bell (2019), Supernatural Cities: Enchantment, Anxiety and Spectrality. Boydell Press

Isak Niehaus (2012), Witchcraft and a Life in the New South Africa. Cambridge University Press

Bähre, Erik. (2002). Witchcraft and the Exchange of Sex, Blood, and Money among Africans in Cape Town, South Africa. Journal of Religion in Africa. 32. 300-334. 10.1163/157006602760599935.

Wood, F. (2015). “Wealth-Giving Mermaid Women and the Malign Magic of the Market: Contemporary Oral Accounts of the South African mamlambo”. In Vernacular Worlds, Cosmopolitan Imagination. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

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Vuk/Darwin, host of Tracing Owls Podcast. All-around trickster weirdo discussing biology, forteana, the paranormal and their intricate cultural nuances!