Mami Wata
Mami Wata is venerated in West
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, Central
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

, Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

, and in the African diaspora
African diaspora
The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

 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.

J. Nepveu (c. 1775), "Annotaties op het boek van J. D. Herlein 'Beschryvinge van de volkplantinge Zuriname'". Quoted in van Stipriaan 327-8. Emphasis in original.