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The story behind "Anansi"?

Updated: Mar 10, 2022

Once upon a time and to be very precise, in April 2019, there was a festival in an African desert. Thousands of people happily strolled around in the heat, wearing arty outfits, hugging and giggling due to the high vibrations of the place. And I was one of them. Continue reading to find out what this has to do with my nickname Anansi!

Anouk Anansi with a big smile. Photograph by George Qua-Enoo
Happy me. Photograph by George Qua-Enoo

You might have guessed: I’m talking about the Africa Burn, a yearly festival in Tankwa Karoo Desert, a few hours north of Cape Town, driving over dusty and bumpy roads. Now, 2,5 years down the line and many more adventures have passed I can still say: it was the best week of my life. Feeling the total allowance and even appreciation of totally expressing myself felt fantastic, and at this Burn, I felt so free and so allowed to tap into my creativity, into my open heart and wild spirit. Have a look here at the Africa Burn photography series from back then.

Days went pass, and the people at the camp I had joined, had hardly seen me. The quote they had for me at the end of the Burn was “Hi and Bye”. I was busy strolling through the desert, making new friends, capture the scenes in day, night and sunsets with my camera, dance on magnificent music at arty stages. I hardly gave myself time to eat and drink – there was so much amazing distraction! I was constantly high on the energy of the desert, sun and people around me.

He found that people could be easily fooled by my looks, not realizing what is underneath

Though, not really knowing the people of my camp, at my very last evening when I did join them to explore this last evening, I got a name given by one them. Anansi. He found that people could be easily fooled by my looks, not realizing what is underneath. Anansi is a famous West African folktale character and it literally means spider. Anansi is known to be a trickster, creative, and ability to transform his apparent weaknesses into virtues, which I obviously like to think about myself ;) I liked the name Anansi and added it to my Facebook name, mainly so I would be more foundable (believe it or not, there are many Dutch ladies with my first and last name! ;)

Anansi the Spider
Anansi the Spider

Life continued, and since one year I find myself living in a bus and caravan on top of a hill in the Western Cape, South Africa. Carry, my caravan, is beautifully parked between trees and it turned out a great place for, guess what… Rain spiders. They aren’t little. Grown up in The Netherlands, spiders are creatures we are really scared for. Without any reason really, as most of our spiders are super tiny and anything but harmful. Either way, I have never been a fan of them but what you resist, persist, and over this last year, I’ve been much more used of these big hairy ‘friends’. I still definitely don’t take them out of Carry by hand, but I dare to catch them with a Tupperware instead of just screaming and asking my partner Tristan to please take it for a long walk.

But I believe there is meaning to having things coming on your path, especially as persistence as these Rain Spiders kept coming back. I started a little research on spiders and found the spiritual meaning of spiders is actually very beautiful. They stand for birth, growth, spiritual transformation and creativity.

All of these experiences over the last few years, spiders have kept coming on my path and that’s why I changed my ‘business’ name from Flying Fox to Anouk Anansi. I find it suits with my authentic view on the world and the spirit I intent to put into my work, from photography to meditations, mentoring and art. May it work for you too and remember… Every time you see a spider, don’t just be scared! Tap into that fear, overcome and grow… Enjoy the process.

With a loving spider touch...

Anouk Anansi

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