Mischievous, and sometimes malevolent, tokoloshes and tagati, are a part of Zulu mythology. At its least harmful, a tokoloshe can be used to scare children, but its power extends to causing illness or even the death of the victim.
The creature can be banished by a n’anga (witch doctor), and, according to legend, to keep a tokoloshe away at night, you need to put a brick beneath each leg of your bed.
A tagati, meanwhile, is a wizard, witch or spiteful person who operates in secret to harm others or who uses poisons and familiar spirits to carry out harmful deeds. The term was first recorded in 1836 and derives from the Zulu word umthakathi, which means someone who mixes medicine.
These mythological creatures have been given a physical form young artists from Ardmore Ceramic Art’s Winter School for an exhibition, Tokkies and Tagies, which will be taking place at the Ebony Gallery in Franschhoek, from Saturday October 22.
The style used to create these new ceramics harks backs to the work of Ardmore’s legendary sculptor, Bonnie Ntshalinthshali.
For more information on the exhibition , call 021 876 4477.