, Southern Africa
, and in the African diaspora
in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America. Mami Wata spirits are usually female, but are sometimes male.
Mami Wata possesses African beauty. The appearance of her hair ranges from straight, curly to kinky black and combed straight back. In many parts of West and Central Africa, "Mami Wata" serves as a slang term for a gorgeous woman.
Mami Wata is often described as a mermaid-like figure, with a woman's upper body (often nude) and the hindquarters of a fish or serpent.
Papa, Nago, Arada and other slaves who commonly are brought here under the name Fida [Ouidah] slaves, have introduced certain devilish practices into their dancing, which they have transposed to all other slaves; when a certain rhythm is played . . . they are possessed by their god, which is generally called Watramama.