You Can’t Kill a Kianda: A Reading of Pepetela’s “Magias do Mar”

  • Anita de Melo University of Cape Town
Keywords: Angola, animism, eco-criticism, post-colonialism, mythology


In the present essay, I analyze “Magias do Mar,” a short story published in 2017 by Angolan writer Pepetela. Drawing from the Angolan myth of Kianda, a mythological creature believed to be the goddess of the ocean, Pepetela’s narrative evokes animism in a manner that parallels Harry Garuba’s observations on contemporary African thought. I reflect on Garuba’s work and examine how animism in “Magias do Mar” works to challenge colonial and modern Western epistemologies and practices. Of particular interest is the narrative’s reflection on the extermination of African wildlife through hunting. I conclude by arguing that Pepetela’s use of animism in “Magias do Mar” has significant implications for postcolonial ecocritical analysis.