07 May 1816
ANANSI stories – which Mathew Lewis(1) calls Nancy stories – originated in West Africa. They were brought to Jamaica and other parts of the New World by enslaved Ashanti people, and were handed down orally through generations. Anansi is sometimes a spider, sometimes takes human form, and is sometimes a combination of the two. Anansi is a complex figure: he (or she) is an inventive trickster, cunning and smart in the extreme and was an important character to generations of enslaved people, demonstrating the ability of the weak and the downtrodden to use brains, wit and cunning to triumph over the oppressor.