We’ve seen many different variations of the Nephilim myth in fringe history—everything from fallen angels to aliens to Bigfoot—so it isn’t surprising that there’s also an Afrocentric interpretation of the Nephilim. This one comes to us from L. M. Leteane, a writer in Botswana who earlier this year claimed to have “uniquely” determined that the Minotaur is related to Yahweh through astrological and phony philological arguments about a presumed Mesopotamian origin for Hebrew and Greek myths. Leteane, in part 1 of a three-part series running on a Botswanan news website, tried tracing the origins of the Nephilim, and it led to some strange ideas.
Leteane believes that the Nephilim take their name from the same root word as napalm, and thus are the same as the Anunnaki:
It was dropped from the sky and quickly spread out to overwhelm the enemy. Knowing that l and r are often interchanged in Bantu languages, even from Setswana we can determine that “napalm” is made up of na means “towards” (as in nanabela : creep/sneak forward, and namela: move towards) and pharama (fall down untidily or all over the place). The f in Nefilim is the same Anglicization of ph that afflicts “pharaoh”, which is actually phara-aho (Great House). Indeed, the Sanskrit (proto-European) term param means “great” or “widespread” – just like bo-phara in Setswana; and both appropriately describe the Nephilim.
Napalm, for those of you keeping score, is a portmanteau, and can’t be etymologized that way. It’s a contraction of naphthenic and palmitic acid, and naphthenic derives from a Greek word for oil. Though this Greek word is of uncertain origin, it is cognate with a very different Hebrew word than any proposed as an origin for the Nephilim. Note, though, his use of African language groups (particularly Setswana, which he believes to be closely related to the first language) to connect the dots and develop his strange philological rules.
From this, he adopts Zecharia Sitchin’s views of the Anunnaki and their etymology, and proposes that the Anunnaki-Nephilim were once the inhabitants of Planet Tiamat, which exploded to form what is now the asteroid belt between Earth and Mars. They came to Earth only late in the game, after first inhabiting Mars. He says that the Nephilim were mistaken for giants because it is a “fact” that astronauts gain an inch in height for every week they’re in space. (Funny how the fellows up on the International Space Station don’t return 10 feet tall.) He also etymologizes some other words through African tongues, including the Greek terms gigantes and titan.
In part 2, Leteane tells us that that Anakim of the Bible are really the Anannaki and thus Nephilim, and further, the world is currently controlled by their descendants, the Illuminati. His evidence is unclear but derives in large measure from Sitchin’s fake translations of Near Eastern languages; he takes the shem = rocket ship equation from Sitchin at face value but posits that African languages are the root of the Near Eastern. These rockets, he says, were launched from hidden silos within Mt. Sinai, Mt. Lebanon, and others. “Naturally, astronauts were ‘hero-worshipped’ in those times, just like today.”
Part 3 (mislabeled as Part 2) begins with the author apologizing for not warning his readers that his views on the Bible are unconventional and potentially offensive, after he received criticism for these views. But nevertheless, he goes on to imply the existence of a vast scientific conspiracy to suppress the truth about giants, whom he identifies as red-headed Caucasians and cannibals—from obvious fringe history sources. It seems weird to connect all language to sub-Saharan African languages but to make the “gods” white, until you see that these white giants raped and murdered and cannibalized their way across the world, and indeed remain the (white) Illuminati elite. In other words, they are closely aligned with and a distorted reflection of post-colonial African perspectives on Euro-American relations with Africa.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.