So basically, I want to learn more about Zulu (or possibly some other South African culture) polytheism, among other things. Trouble is, it's hard to find a lot information about it, even from ye olde Google and some stub pages on Wikipedia. I can find some basic stuff, sure; but nothing really in-depth like you can find with even Slavic mythology. It's not clear if the small number of gods' names I'm finding is because they only had a handful of gods or because there's such scant information available. This sucks because I'm compiling information on a lot of mythologies for use in a novel some years down the road.

Obviously, a StackExchange board may not be the best place to ask about how to solve this problem, but I don't really know where to turn here. I'm also plagued by the fact that there's some other mythologies that aren't quite as hard to find information on (i.e. Inuit mythology), but which I still can't find a whole lot about. To clarify, I'm looking for definitive lists of all the most significant and/or widespread deities (as well as heroes and creatures) and noteworthy myths.

Thus, I turn to you guys to ask how I can most effectively look for detailed, reliable sources about mythologies that Wikipedia and the first 10 pages of Google won't help me out with. If there just isn't a lot of information available, then that's fine; but I at least need to know that there is, in fact, a straight answer to the question of whether I can find the information I want at all.

  • 2
    Have you visited archive.org? Try typing in 'mythology' and see if any of those fit the bill. Then, 'mythology, African' ... keep doing that with 'folk lore or folktales', etc. 'Stories, African' has some interesting titles popping up. Also, a physical library database may be helpful.
    – tblue
    Sep 1, 2018 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


Because the internet hold a great deal of misinformation and disinformation, for obscure mythologies your best bet is scholarly work. (Folklorists and academic researchers.)

  • Books

You'll want to look for books on the subjects. Be cognizant of the author and their background, and the time period of the work. (Older anthropological work may not be current because methods have been continually refined.)

  • Bibliographies

This is important to 1) vet the book your are considering, and; 2) find additional books and papers. A robust bibliography, with references to both source material and academic publications is optimal.

  • Research Papers

Jstor can be annoying to deal with if you are not in an academic institution, but members of the general public can access a limited number of papers at any given time. (I think they restrict you to 4 at once.)

Research papers are going to be the ideal supplement to books because the scope tends to be more limited, and there may be more papers than full books.

  • Citations on wikipedia pages

Wikipedia can be a good place to start your research. The key to using Wikipedia effectively is to check the citation for any given content on the wiki. If there's no citation, the information should be considered unreliable. (Not all uncited info is incorrect, but without the citation, you can't validate that.) You can use wiki citations to find source material (research papers, articles, and books)

  • 1
    Academia.edu is another source you might want to try. It's a good addition to JSTOR, and easier to access. I would add that for African mythologies, your best chance might be to check out anthropology books and articles. (It works for Native American mythologies, so it might well work for African ones as well.)
    – solsdottir
    Oct 10, 2018 at 0:41

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