Previous | Vèvè Home Page | Next Vèvè

Zaka Mede

Zaka, or Azaka, is the patron lwa of farmers, but he is also known as a lwa travay, the lwa of work. He is also known as Azaka Mede or Minis, as a minister of agriculture. He good natured and enjoys the simple things in life. He is popular in Haiti. He acts quickly to accomplish what is asked of him. Familiar in his broad brimmed straw hat, Zaka carries a djakout or straw sack, a sickle or machete. He wears karabel (clothing and a red mushwa. Zaka is also a master at treating illnesses using leaves and herbs, and is known to keep his most important herbs in his djakout. Zaka is a lively dancer, and often rolls up one pant leg to the knee. He will sing that he doesn't steal, he'd rather ask for charity, and then steals! Azaka has many children, and sees them as protection for the future.

"Of all Voodoo divinities it is Zaka, the peasant god, who most often reveals himself in concrete form. He appears abruptly in the guise of a rough countrymant, clad in a deep blue shirt, trousers rolled up to his knees, a big straw hat and carrying the alfo (basketwork bag) which is an indispensable item of the countryman. Often he limps...With the awkwardness and tone of voice that is attributed to people of the hills, he begs a glass of rum or a piece of cassava. Woe to those that refuse him..." Alfred Métraux. Voodoo in Haiti. Schoken Books, New York: 1959 (Trans. Hugo Chateris)

"Zaka is characterized as a crude and ignorant loa. Inarticulate, his speech is the bleating of a goat. Identified with St. Gérard, Gede is his brother. "L.G. Desmangles. The Faces of The Gods. UNCP: 1992)

Notes compiled by Gethin James