Monday, June 22, 2015

Of ancient Malawi mermaid's wrath, ululation and Napolo landslides tale

Hans Christen Andersen writes in ‘The Little Mermaid’, “But a mermaid has no tears.”

This line directly contradicts other fanciful writers and dreamers who say that mermaid tears become pearls, or that the green pebbles found on the Floridan Iona shoreline are the tears of a mermaid.
And maybe so. Like the legend that mermaids are guardians and avengers of women, perhaps any remaining mermaid of legend cries unmercifully over the condition of the seas – Mermaid Tears — Another Nautical Disaster
“Ululululululu” a village woman near Michiru Mountain in Blantyre hears early in the morning after a night of heavy rainfall and chilly weather.
She’s out earlier figuring the rains have reduced and is on her way to draw water from the nearest “river” which in actually sense is a water body.
But as she approaches she sees a woman with long dreadlocks dressed in a white robe coming out of the water and ululating as she sinks back below again as if swimming in a straigh line.
Stunned the woman stares into the water and suddenly sees the woman rise up again and the rocks before her move as if clearing a straight path for something to pass through. Noticing the strange events before her the woman concludes that Napolo, the mythical serpent spirit is about to locate from the hills to the waters and the mermaids ululations is a warning for every being in its path to move away.
This is an actual story told by a village woman to this blog about the half woman and half fish spirit she claims she saw in the water before a landslide hit the area some years ago which might have been in the 1990s.
In Malawi people rejoice with loud ululations during weddings or when dancing and it’s locally known a kululuta hence ntungululu.
That sound is also the ones some villagers in Mulanje claim they hear before Napolo landslides hit the area some five minutes or so before to give people enough time to run uphill.

Woman not mermaid and python drawing from
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from

“Ndine Nyangu ”, a woman says after dipping her head into a big red clay pot full of water goes a SapiTWA oracle this blog told late last year about ancient Malawi’s mermaid spirits (mizimu).
This Nyangu known as Malira (“you have cried”) is a water spirit known by different names.
She proudly wears a “phande” also locally known as “ngale’ as a necklace which in English is a “pearl” but this blog is talking about the actual shell whose scientific name remains a mystery.
This blog does not know what exactly is found inside the Phande shell but some healers claim some thorn looking things and a secret as in Chinsinsi which sounds like Isis with chinsinsi the Chinyanja word for secret.
And when angry, Nyangu would say in a code “Muzalira ndine mkazi” which in English can be summed up as the Wrath of a Woman. So literally she was saying an enemy would cry because she is a woman who can be ruthless.
All genuine male healers admit that when the MALIYA spirit “comes out” it’s powerful and at times dangerous in that it’s the most powerful and close to all the male spirits they tap into. This spirit is also known as one of the many Nyangus of ancient Malawi but in the African water spirit world of mermaids.
The MALIYA spirit is Intersex and has both male and female sexual organs so it reproduced. She is also very dramatic and fierce.
When trainee African priestesses (nsembe) got a shell like this one from Sapitwa as it was sourced in the Indian Ocean it symbolized the spirit world opening up to them especially MALIYA.
According to a Sapitwa healer such mythical spirits are half woman and half fish so priestesses who follow their teachings are not supposed to eat fish.

Lake Malawi sea shells
Lake Malawi sea shells

Nyangu means “manthongo” like the crust mucous stuff around the eyes and another rude version only for this oral story.
It also means “wopepera” like in foolish, a fool or someone lacking intelligence in relation to the ancient Nyangu spirit (mizimu) who was misunderstood and not the many royal official ones.
The clay pot she used like others were always broken into pieces to be disposed of in thick forests of hills and mountains whenever they were not needed. She was the last female to use it for that specific purpose and passed on some teachings to her priestesses.
Once upon a time in this ancient land of Malawi as this blog continues repeating oral tales about the creation of gods and goddesses which were locally known as mizimu as in winged spirits, there lived a powerful female one known as Malira Tapalia of the North.
These spirits were different from ancestral ones which are locally known as mizimu yamakolo. This woman also known as one of the Nyangus of ancient times did not bath and only dipped her head in water because she used a lot of nyanga involving charms and horns which are easily diluted by water.
And since this Nyangu was from water hence her name also sounding like Tilapia fish with the most common species in Malawi being chambo….Malira was believed to appear as a mermaid because she could not get her lower body wet which was the source of her powers.
Some healers claimed such beings would also put snails in their forbidden areas to protect themselves from water there or they had the body of a fish to keep the water out.
That is why Malira was believed to be of the sea or ocean and some healers use the name Dr Maliya or Dr Maria to mean Malira whose salty tears where like the ocean.
This blog is not saying all Dr Marias sourced their name from Malira but that some of them whom this blog interviewed did.
Malira who also specialized in magic (matsenga) like in Disney films is said to have always appeared crying and weeping with a baby on her back and her colour was blue like the ocean.

Ancient Malawi's Phande shell also known as Ngale (Pearls) associated with female water spirits like mermaids
Ancient Malawi’s Phande shell also known as Ngale (Pearls) associated with female water spirits like mermaids

According to a Sapitwa healer this Malira whose name meant the way a woman cries during childbirth like in mwana amalira (the child cries) lived in what is today known as the Mandala area and the word “Mandala” was a Mang’anja nickname for a female autonomy.
The Mandala Nyangu acted like a Mangadzi (berothed maiden) because of the “oracle’s spirit marriage to the python (serpent spirit) or god, whose bow was the rainbow.
Now this serpent spirit was Tomasi Bona (Atom) also known as Napolo of the North Wind.
This is the winged spirit the ancestors would look for whenever they wanted rains and it is the one Mbona (the Seer) would point his kandalanga two-edged sword besides Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom they believed was further North up in the Universe and beyond the Sun.
They also believed that when the South met the North that would symbolize floods and they would calculate where it would happen. This is where the Malira spirit would come in together with Tomasi Bona. This Malira spirit of the North was the opposite of Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, Keep the Child) of the South who was her sister.
Now when this blog uses the term Mangadzi or Mang’adzi it’s not confirming if the Nyangu mentioned was one and neither is this Nyangu the one of many in ancient Malawi’s history.
In the official version which are a different story, Mang’adzi was similar to Makewana (mother of the children) but of the Mang’anja belief system.
A “chosen” priestess carried the Tomas Bona spirit on their backs as a mother and it was through Malira where some belief systems originated that salt can cure many illnesses or problems.
Mermaids in ancient history are not unique to Malawi with other mother figures like “Mami Wata” (Mammy Water) being venerated in West, Central, Southern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America.

In December 2012 37thSTATE presented 'LADY IN THE WATER'- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavies
In December 2012 37thSTATE presented ‘LADY IN THE WATER’- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavies

“Mami Wata” where “Mami” is the Pidgin English spelling of mammy (mother) “Wata” is the Pidgin English spelling of water is essentially a mermaid or humanistic water entity.
“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. In other tales, Mami Wata is fully human in appearance (though never human).
“The existence and spiritual importance of Mami Wata is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of the coastal southeastern Nigerians (Efik, Ibibio and Annang people). Mami Wata often carries expensive baubles such as combs, mirrors, and watches.
A large snake (symbol of divination and divinity) frequently accompanies her, wrapping itself around her and laying its head between her breasts,” further reads the unofficial Wikipedia about Mami Wata.
In the West, tales by Hans Christian Anderson including ‘Little Mermaid’ were very popular.
And as a divine healer, Isis shared the secrets of healing and preparation of medical potions to her priestesses. Isis is also credited for bringing the secrets of law and agriculture.
The Temple of Aset, or Isis as she is known to most, at Philae was a jewel within a jewel and built on two tiny yet beautiful islands in the midst of the Nile waters.
The island itself was called the “Pearl of Egypt” by many, and was thought to be one of the burial places of Osiris – the husband of Isis, in ancient Egyptian mythology.
Pearls were prized by rulers and royalty with Julius Caesar limiting the wearing of pearl jewelry to the rulers of the Roman Empire during the first century BC In the glory days of the British Empire, only royalty were allowed to wear these lustrous gems.
Daughters of Isis
Online sources also show that until fairly recently, pearls were still worn exclusively by royalty and wealthy nobility, as they were far too expensive for anyone else to afford.
According to Stephen Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, real pearls grow in oysters and mussels, which are incredibly adept at filtering sand out of their systems.
“What happens is that a tiny piece of coral or an unfortunate tiny living organism attaches itself to the meat of the oyster and, in order to protect itself from the irritation, the oyster covers the invader with layers of nacre, the smooth, luminous substance that makes up the pearl. Now this is how natural pearls are created, but it’s extremely rare to find a natural pearl.
“Almost all pearls today are cultured or cultivated pearls. In oysters, they’re grown by inserting a small bead — which is made of a piece of clam shell from the Mississippi River Delta — and a piece of oyster tissue into the mollusk; in Chinese mussels there are no beads, just tissue inserted.
“The shells are returned to the water, turned regularly, and harvested. Oysters produce one pearl, like an egg and a yolk, while a mussel can produce as many as 60 pearls of all different shapes and colors.
China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, French Polynesia, Australia, Mexico, and the Phillippines are producers. Pearls from Japanese oysters made up the largest portion of the market for many years. In the 1970s, the Chinese started producing freshwater pearls in mussels, and today, 99% of freshwater pearls come from China. Most people involved in crafts use Chinese pearls,” he said in a 2010 article titled ‘Tears of Mermaids: The Secret Story of Pearls.
In 1493, sailing off the coast of Hispaniola, Christopher Columbus reported seeing three “female forms” which “rose high out of the sea, but were not as beautiful as they are represented”.
The logbook of Blackbeard, an English pirate, records that he instructed his crew on several voyages to steer away from charted waters which he called “enchanted” for fear of merfolk or mermaids, which Blackbeard himself and members of his crew reported seeing.
“The shells of fresh water sea life were used to craft bracelets and necklaces for both men and women. The cowrie shell, which has an indented lip, looks like the slit of an eye. Egyptians believed this shell to be a prophylactic against the evil eye. This belief is still head true in parts of Africa and the Mediterranean.”

In August 2009, after dozens of people reported seeing a mermaid leaping out of the water and doing aerial tricks, the Israeli coastal town of Kiryat Yam reportedly offered a $1 million award for proof of its existence.
In February 2012, work on two reservoirs near Gokwe and Mutarke in Zimbabwe stopped when workers refused to continue, stating that mermaids had hounded them away from the sites. It was reported by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the water resources minister according to a report in The Herald.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Did some of Malawi's ancestors come from Kema as in Kerma, Sudan or not?

M'manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi believed to be the place where Mlauli buried Mbona - Sapitwa priestess
M’manga Mudzi, Mpolowoni anthill tree/mound in Malawi believed to be the place where Mlauli buried Mbona – Sapitwa priestess

Malawi is a beautiful land and country rich in ancient history and tales about spiritual beings (mizimu) which were close to chosen women who were given the gift of ancient African prophecy (ulosi wakale).
This blog attempts to update an oral story told by the only Sapitwa priestess in Mulanje of a time many centuries ago before floods when creation began on a mound by spirits which she says existed way before that.
It comes at a time some women of Sapitwa are monitoring the movements of meteorites and asteroid which they call (nyenyezi) as they claim to have somehow seen some heading for earth.  For centuries meteorites and asteroids have been studied.
Once again, this blog is not endorsing this oral story and names used here are not the same ones used in other ancient Malawi stories.
Although some Malawi officials have reportedly rebuffed a Sapitwa priestess and this blog after some researchers and tourists queried Sapitwa Myths and Tales captured here and the ancient roles of Makewana and Mang’adzi in Malawi’s history, this blog will continue telling her story and those of the many voiceless elderly women of Malawi who have been silenced for a long time.
This is yet another update of a myth and ‘bush’ science told to this blog:
Beyond the concept of time, there was a kingdom existing of winged spirits (mizimu) with the Hidden One in the Universe according to an ancient Malawi oral tale told by a Sapitwa priestess who continues to tell oral stories without fear or favour.
The Hidden One also has another name this blog is not allowed to reveal but it’s a word ancient priests and priestesses (responsible for nsembe) would use when sending their “African prayers” or “requests” to the Creator through the 4 winds while using incense.

Representing 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) of North, South, West and East
Representing 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) of North, South, West and East

In their ancient beliefs, the winds carried sounds and words straight up to the One they worshipped and for those who weren’t of royal blood, they would go through winged spirits (mizimu) whom some researchers refer to as “gods” or “goddesses” to send requests to the spirit world.
Others would go through their ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo) believing that the mizimu always went through their bloodline so in the case of ancient kings those spirits were believed to only go through their descendants.
Now in ancient times a king was also like a priest or traditional healer who are today known as asing’anga or nganga and they had rituals for communicating with their Creator whom some called Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) and the spirit world.
The current unknown Sapitwa priestess (responsible for nsembe) keeps talking about an ancient land of triangular graves called Kema which she says was an ancient land of asing’anga (nganga healers) wozama (experts).
According to Mayi Emma Jarden, whose ancestor was Medisini, in ancient times there were the Nganga responsible for nsembe hence her being a priestess in English but not able to function in the way her ancestors did since most ancient Malawi shrines (kachisi) were destroyed.
She told this blog that the term “sing’anga weniweni” (real traditional healer or priesthood) included those who had a nsengwa small basket and a mibawa staff when doing their “sacred” oracles.
Now some South African online researchers talk of Sudan origins because of a Zuma village and burial ground “several kilometres downstream from Jebel Barkal in what is now Sudan which lies about 10 kilometres south of El-Kurru, in the Napatan Region, on the right side of the Nile”.

Kerma, Sudan, Meroe pyramids closer steps view
Kerma, Sudan, Meroe pyramids closer steps view

This blog asks what the meaning of Zuma is and if it is similar to wozama or ozama as in experts in things?
This blog asks because it’s very important to connect ancient kings to those who might be descendants and the descendants must acknowledge that connection so that there are facts and not only similarities in words.
Has anyone using the “Zuma” name claimed to be a descendant of kings or those living in Sudan today?
However Jarden told this blog that one ancient Malawi king (name withheld for now) was from “Kema” which sounds like “Kerma” in Sudan.
Various online sources state that the pre-Kerma society, named after “the area of Kerma in the Dongola Reach, forms one of the oldest civilized cultures in the world beside that of Egypt and Mesopotamia.”
According to the British Museum website, the ancient town of Kerma, located a little upstream of the Third Cataract, was occupied continuously from about 2500 to 1500 BC, and was one of the earliest urbanized communities in tropical Africa.

Mayi Jarden in Mulanje still talks although some fellow Africans try to silence her
“The local economy was based on agriculture and animal husbandry, but it is likely that the special importance of the rulers of the area developed because of their ability to control the important north-south trade on the Nile. There is little doubt that Kerma was the capital of the kingdom of Kush, which features prominently in the records of the Eighteenth Dynasty (about 1550-1295 BC).
“The site has been (and continues to be) extensively excavated. The most prominent landmark is a massive mud-brick structure known as the ‘Western Defuffa’, which was probably the main religious building at Kerma. Around this structure were grouped workshops, public buildings and houses. These buildings ranged from simple huts to houses with two or three rooms and a walled courtyard with animal pens and granaries.
“Extensive cemeteries have been located at Kerma and other sites in Kush. The richest graves uncovered were those of the last rulers of Kush of the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries BC. These took the form of large tumuli, with the main burial on a bed in a small chamber beneath the mound,” further reads
Some elders in ancient Malawi had their own M’manga Mudzi termite mound which was a tomb among other things and a “home” for the Tomasi Bona (Atom) spirit of the North wind and the Sapitwa version of Mbona of the West wind.

"Black pharaohs" photo taken from
“Black pharaohs” photo taken from

They believed some kings were like reincarnated spirits (mizimu) in that the spirit of a “god” or “goddess” would be born as a human being hence the sing’anga saying “mwana wa munthu”  to mean a child of a human being.
In fact such ancient kings are believed to have said that they got their gold from a mizimu or the Creator.
According to this blog’s Sapitwa mythology, in the beginning there was a world of spirits for an unknown time maybe millions of years including the winged ones which have never been human and those who went on to occupy other “worlds” including earth.
On earth the spirit (mizimu) said to have existed in the beginning was Tomasi Bona (atom) or a word which sounds like atomic mass.
He’s said to have originated elsewhere into a primordial mound/anthill as electrical energy with water bodies below since in the beginning they believed there was water and spirits which lived in water because for them termite mounds are a good indicator of ground water.
From there he is said to have exploded like lightning into other spirits in twos and this lightning was throughout the new created world.
Under the M’manga mudzi anthill tree or mound there was said to be several water bodies which healers refer to as Nyanja and inside that mound the Tomasi Bona spirit is believed to look like an elderly man (munthu) who evolved from a serpent spirit in oral tales.
The Primordial Mound locally known as the M’manga Mudzi anthill tree (chulu) somewhere in a remote village of Malawi stands out in the bush with three distinct trees growing out of it, mainly mpolowoni, m’manga mudzi, and msamba mwana.
Now mpolowoni is the main tree and udindo (responsibility of ancient Malawi’s first winged spirit called Tomasi Bona (atom). M’manga mudzi is the one used for kusilika grounds before some sacred dances by digging it into the dirt they say while msamba mwana is used during childbirth.

Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from
Mpolowoni (Steganotaenia Araliacea tree) photo taken from

According to a plant expert, mpolowoni in English is known as the Steganotaenia Araliacea tree and its family name is Umbelliferae.
So the Tomasi Bona meteorite or asteroid which created a crater somewhere is believed to have fallen in the EAST which is Mulanje. Other names given to this spirit are Napolo, Mbewula as in run away so fast or get away from me when landslides and floods happen and Robert which some online sources claim is Azriel in Hebrew but this blog does not know why the spirit also has an English name.
Other meteorites or asteroids included the nameless one of the NORTH falling in Kumbasa, Tagoneka Mbona falling in Dima or Midima and Chinsinsi Sungamwana (ChInSInSi sounds like Isis) in the SOUTH which is South Africa but this blog is not sure about the crater or the presence of gold there since ancestors claimed such falling stars brought gold.
There was also Mbona Ostiriza (sounds like Osiris) as in the last one with the word “Mbona” or “M’bona” meaning a Seer like in to see – ona.

Western side of Mulanje Mountain in Sunset, seen from Likubula Falls
Western side of Mulanje Mountain in Sunset, seen from Likubula Falls

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dziwe la Nkhalamba: Secrets of ancient Malawi priestesses and Mibawa staff (ndodo)

This blog is once again only sharing an oral story as told by a SapiTWA priestess the type of asing’anga (traditional healers) who were responsible for nsembe (offerings) in ancient times.
In ancient times such a priestess would have a walking stick or cane made from Mbawa, an indigenous tree scientifically grouped as Khaya nyasica and known as Mibawa when many.
Today they lost their shrines including one believed to be near Dziwe la Nkhalamba in Mulanje and are grouped together with other healers who don’t make offerings at ancient shrines hidden in mountains. 
In ancient times such priestesses only worked with royal families who gave many of their offerings to an ancient spirit known as Nyangu in the same way some Malawians today freely make offerings elsewhere including donations.
In ancient times some of our ancestors made offerings whenever they wanted something from the spirit world and would go through ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo) or winged spirits which have never been human (mizimu) which some call angels in English to get to Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom they believed was in the Universe hence ABOVE.

Sapitwa healers say this image of "Makewana" with a nsengwa small basket and cane is accurate.  But this blog is not writing about this official "Makewana" and doesn't know if she used a mibawa cane. Photo – © 2013 Max Dashu – image created for [Malawi] Woman Shaman: the Ancients taken from
Sapitwa healers say this image of “Makewana” with a staff is accurate.
But this blog is not writing about this official “Makewana” and doesn’t know if she used a mibawa cane.
Photo – © 2013 Max Dashu – from
The four winds of Sapitwa blow from the deep waters across the oceans and through the hilltops of Mulanje Mountain to announce the arrival of a priestess into a “village” led by the mythical but invisible spirit of Nyangu hitting the ground with a mbawa walking stick (ndodo) three times.
The ancient staff hits the ground as if waking up the world of the spirits believed to be in water throughout the world and under most land including the mythical ones globally known as mermaids.
Her eyes wide and staring in front and around, the elderly scary looking woman keeps walking in front of the one she chose to protect and clear her path to her destination.
Those who have the misfortune of seeing the elderly Nyangu would face her wrath because she only revealed herself to those who tried to harm the priestess she protects and creates a straight path for her to walk in to reach her destination like a Queen.
The one walking behind her was expected to hold their right hand towards the chest to symbolize holding the heart and not losing one’s temper but remaining calm as the ancient elderly spirit led the way.
The elderly spirit (nkhalamba) would move the head and eyes like a chameleon (nanzikambe) until it reached its destiny with a hunched back and face sometimes looking towards the ground meaning the area is a sacred place for mwala wam’nkhalamba (the rock of the elderly or elders).
This was in line with an ancient sacred place called Dziwe la Nkhalamba where elderly spirits and white robes were said to appear to lucky ones but it no longer happens because the place has been defiled and is no longer considered holy and pure according to the priestess who still follows the ways of her ancestors.
Dziwe la Nkhalamba (sacred ancient swimming pool for the elderly) is below like in WATER
Dziwe la Nkhalamba (sacred ancient swimming pool for the elderly) is below like in WATER
This spirit was also believed to appear like a witch (mfiti) with a pointed chin when fighting battles in the astral realm because the elders believed it sometimes took a witch to fight a witch in the same way some in the West claim there is so-called “white magic” which they say is good and “black magic” which they say is evil.
The pointed chin is also part of the upside triangle of ancient Malawi which symbolized ziwanda (demons) and that the evil one of this ancient land now called Malawi turned everything of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) upside down so go oral tales.
However some would tap into the powers of ziwanda during battles but in a different way from Christian and other beliefs.
Upside triangle of the star
Upside triangle of the star
In Malawi black magic is associated with kutamba as in witchcraft involving flying to harm innocent people and to graveyards in the spiritual form and white magic is viewed as kukhwima protection rituals which don’t involve harming innocent people but protecting oneself from harm.
When such problems arise, some elders do a primitive exorcism to get the possessing spirit out which was different from the banned ancient mwabvi poison concoction ritual to rid villages of suspected witches (afiti).
Now the elderly spirit known as the first Nyangu of this ancient land fell from grace and she’s said to walk with a cane and at times appear as a beautiful young woman but a Sapitwa oracle shows all her wrongs are being correct by her descendant chosen to the ancient priesthood but with no one to serve.
This elderly spirit was the Queen of Magic and is said to possess a certain innocent village woman in Malawi who is expected to live over the age of 100 because of her.
Elders have been trying to tame this spirit which has become her shadow in order to dilute its kukhwima powers so that it can only do good and get back to her husband is what the priestess told this blog.
She has almond eyes, high cheekbones but white hair which in ancient times was also a symbol of royalty which would be the equivalent of a Traditional Authority who has land named after their name.
Ancient Malawi's Nyangu spirit was called Sungamwana (keep the child) and resembled this statue of ancient Egypt's Isis whom a healer nicknamed Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, Keep the Child)
Ancient Malawi’s Nyangu spirit was called Sungamwana (keep the child) and resembled this statue of ancient Egypt’s Isis whom a healer nicknamed Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, Keep the Child)
You see this elderly female spirit is said to have two hidden symbolic horns which resemble the one of some statues online described as being of ancient Egypt’s Isis.
She’s also said to have some magical (matsenga) words which only worked when she or those she possessed used them.
But this blog is not claiming that statue of Isis is definitely ancient Malawi’s Nyangu but just making an observation and would like to hear from those familiar with the ancient story of Isis to explain all her symbols.
It’s because of this ancient belief that elders would gather at Dziwe la Nkhalamba (swimming pool for the elderly) and start singing a sacred song as they called the spirit of Nyangu who also used the name Sungamwana (Keep the Child).
Inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee, Sungamwana ee, uzamudalise ee….inu mayi ee, bwera, bwera ee” (oh you our mother yes, come, come yes, Keep the Child yes, bless this one yes….).
The elderly men and women would hold suspected Mibawa canes or walking sticks which might be a type of African Mahogany in English and tap on the ground three times while moving their feet in rhythm with the sacred music.
Online Mibawa is defined as Mbawa when it’s a single tree while others are Muwawa and Bulamwiko listed as Khaya nyasica scientifically.
Internet photo showing the tree locally known as M'Mbawa
Internet photo not connected to this blog showing the tree locally known as M’Mbawa
The sceptre or staff is said to be one of the most ancient symbols of authority.
In ancient Egypt the words “nobleman” and “official” both included the hieroglyph of a staff, so at an early stage the staff seems to have represented the authority of any person with significant power, not just the king.
“One of the oldest staffs discovered in Egypt was recovered from a pre-dynastic grave in El Omari Lower Egypt (a neolithic site now absorbed by the suburbs of Cairo). We do not know whether the owner of this staff was a local chief, or priest, but it is generally agreed that the staff was an emblem of his authority. The staff soon became associated with pharaonic authority.
“An early scepter carved from wood to resemble a bundle of reeds was recovered from a First Dynasy mastaba in Saqqara. Similar fragments were found in royal tombs at Abydos and the pharaoh Den is depicted on an ivory label holding a long staff. A beautiful gold and sard ceremonial sceptre was recovered from the tomb of Khasekhemwy partly reads
And Horus the Elder, from his flat-share temple at Kom Ombo as in Heru wer, known to the Greeks as Haroeris, Horus the Elder orHorusthe Great had in the second half of the god’s name a stooping old man leaning on a stick.
“This is usually the determinative for an old man but it can also be used for a chief or great man, as the village headman would probably be a wise elder – or so one would hope, anyway,” according to

"The sceptre or staff is one of the most ancient symbols of authority."
“The sceptre or staff is one of the most ancient symbols of authority.”

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Of Ancient Malawi Wild Grape Vine (Mpesa Or Nthudza?) and Tomasi Bona (Atom) Tales

Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M'manga Mudzi mound photo?
Is that an Orb or dust spot on the left side of the M’manga Mudzi mound photo?

Many ancient civilizations (Greek, Norse, Roman, etc.) have an extensive mythological story that has an explanation for just about everything that goes on in the world. From the reasons why the seasons change to why humans feel emotion, mythology allowed ancient people to be at peace with the way things are.
It’s a fact that a lot of Malawi’s ancient history involving female priesthoods as in those responsible for nsembe (offerings) has been erased and most Malawians don’t bother researching or caring to know about it.
This blog therefore tries to fill that void for the few who might be interested in ancient history the way it is done in many countries globally including in Europe.
This blog is also still researching the English names for some fruits, plants and trees and appreciates all assistance to ensure information shared here is accurate especially the translations into Chichewa.
In Egyptian mythology, the world started out as a chaos of churning water, known as Nu or Nun.

Ancient Egypt mound photo taken from
Ancient Egypt mound photo taken from

“Out of Nu came Atum, the lord of Heliopolis. He stood on a single mound he created called ben-ben and this is where the temple of Heliopolis was built.
“The creation of ben-ben brought light into the world and Atum became known as Atum-Ra. Ra, the sun god that rises in the east and dies in the west. Ra then created the gods Shu (the air) and Tefnut (the moisture) through asexual reproduction. Together, Shu and Tefnut produced Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky).
“Geb and Nut conceived Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, and Seth (or Set). After conceiving, Geb and Nut were separated by their father, Shu.
“Now the sky is high above, while the earth is way below with air in the middle. Many ancient drawings of this show Geb the earth laying down with Nut the sky arched over him with Shu the air holding her up. Ra the sun is usually traveling along Nut’s body,” reads the 2013 Great Discoveries in Archaeology website at
Now this blog is not posting this 2014 information again to debate whether the ancient Egypt belief was right or wrong or to endorse any beliefs but just to document things posted online and some ancient Malawi oral stories never documented before.
Similar to some elements of the ancient Egypt creation myth in ancient Sapitwa mythology everything began with water and there was a spirit (mizimu) kingdom in the water led by the Dziwe la Nkhalamba elderly spirit and 7 others mainly Tomasi Bona of the North Wind, Tagoneka Mbona of the West, Chandiona Goneka of the South and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East.
Tomasi Bona also known as Napolo has never been human but is said to have mounted from one of the M’manga Mudzi anthill hill mounds somewhere in Mulanje near the mountain.
Tree vines
It’s not easy to get to the mound as some vines or something grab your hands and feet and trip you over so one has to be patient and untie themselves from the mess and make sure they don’t touch any buffalo bean (Chitedze) which causes extreme itching of the body.
This anthill locally known as chulu represented the triangular mountain above and all the water bodies underneath and healers familiar with the area call the vines surrounding it mpesa or nthudza which in English is Rhoicissus tomentosa but this blog failed to get a photo of them.
Could mpesa or mphesa be the vines and nthudza the fruit?
The name Rhoicissus is derived from the Greek rhoia, meaning pomegranate and kissos, ivy. Perhaps not the most accurate of names: like ivy, it is a climber, but it has tendrils; and the small fruits, although spherical, do not seem very like that of a pomegranate.
“The Latin species name tomentosa means felt-like, with a dense woolly covering, and alludes to the rust-coloured hairs that cover the young growth, the underside of the leaves, buds and tendrils. It has picked up an impressive number of common names, mostly regarding its resemblance to the cultivated grapevine, or its rope-like stems.

Rhoicissus tomentosa photo taken from
Rhoicissus tomentosa photo taken from

“The grape family (Vitaceae) is a large, with approximately 1000 species spread throughout the warm countries of the world and is famous for its most celebrated member, the grapevine, Vitis vinifera. In southern Africa this family is represented by five genera (Ampelocisssus, Cayratia, Cissus, Cypostemma and Rhoicissus) and 53 species.
“In southern Africa, the genus Rhoicissus is represented by 10 species that occur in all the provinces of South Africa except the Northern Cape and all other southern African countries except Namibia and Botswana.
“Rhoicissus tomentosa is relatively easy to tell apart from the others because it and only three of the other southern African species have simple or shallowly lobed leaves and it is the only canopy climber among them,” partly reads
According to online sources this wild grape occurs from the Cape Peninsula, where it is abundant in the kloofs of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, and along the coastline in a narrow strip all the way through the Eastern Cape up to northern KwaZulu-Natal and then inland through Mpumalanga into Limpopo Province, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
It is almost always associated with forest and grows in riverine fringes where it clambers over trees and bushes. This type of Mpesa is in the grape family and it’s common names include wild grape, bush grape, African grape, forest Grape, monkey rope, wild vine (Eng.); Bosdruif, Wildedruif, Bostou, Bobbejaantou (Afrikaans), isaQoni, iDiliya (Xhosa), isiNwazi (Zulu), Moaparo (Sotho); isiNwati (Swati) and Dyathoho, Makhulu-wa-khundwi (Venda).

Common Rhoicissus vine photo taken from
Common Rhoicissus vine photo taken from

“Rhoicissus tomentosa is a handsome, vigorous, evergreen tendril climber with ornamental, vine-like leaves and bunches of purple grape-like fruits which are edible and “pleasant tasting but acidic.”
“The juicy, pulpy ripe fruits boiled with plenty of sugar (7 grapes to 30 g sugar) make a brilliantly coloured and delicious jam or jelly. A reasonable wine can also be made from the fruits, described as sour with a pleasant fragrance. The fruits are also used to make vinegar. The pliant branches are split and used as rope for tying down thatch and also in basket-making.”
“The tuberous rootstock is poisonous and is used in traditional medicine The roots boiled in milk are given to calves to expel intestinal worms. They may also be used during pregnancy to facilitate delivery, although R. tridentata is the more commonly used species for that remedy,” further reads the same online source.
It’s role in pregnancy would connect it to a female spirit known as Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, Keep the Child) as in ancient times female healers were also experts in childbirth unlike today when azamba (traditional midwives) have been banned.
Now Tomasi Bona who is also the elderly spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba is born of women to make them powerful ancient priestesses of the Nyangu blood who no longer exist as they can no longer freely practice their ancient ways.
Oral stories talk of that spirit implanting itself in their wombs but disappearing before delivery to appear as a full-grown adult man.

Mother Earth and the Indian Ocean of her womb –  Photo borrowed from
Mother Earth and the Indian Ocean of her womb –
Photo borrowed from

The same is said of the Sapitwa version of Mbona on how his mother conceived him just like in other stories in Africa and Asia. This blog is only repeating what healers say and not endorsing any views.
Now Nyangu’s spirit is said to be an elderly woman who walks using a cane with a serpent head but like other spirits she is also believed to appear in the form of a young woman.
She stands with very bright presence, her veil covering her knotted black hair as her wide eyes stare blankly at those who visit her and seek guidance.
Her name is hidden but Chinsinsi Sungamwana and her title is Nyangu, the goddess of the mythical Sapitwa from the beginning of time and not any of the ones who have lived on earth including Mbona’s mother Nyangu.  Her colour is blue like the deep ocean and her origins, a sad mythical story about goddesses locally known as mizimu (spirits).
Sometimes she sits under the shade of a fig tree locally known as mkuyu to breastfed her baby.  The woman is dark-skinned with very smooth skin that makes her face look like she dipped it in a jar of cocoa-butter and milk further go oral stories.
Her black eye-lashes stand out together with her eyebrows which seem well drawn and her uncombed hair forms tidy knots but her hair is not necessarily dread-locked.
Also standing out on her beautiful face are beauty spots on her cheek. Her brown almond shaped eyes also stand out and piercing as if searching a person’s soul.
However, the strange thing with this woman is that whenever people see her she’s holding a small baby even when its months later….the baby does not seem to grow.
An elderly man suddenly calls out to her “makewana” (mother of the child) and she greets him politely but does not remove her eyes of her baby whom she sometimes carries on her back.
She wanders from place to place like a lost and mad person ever since she lost her husband, the elderly spirit of Dziwe la Nkhalamba. Her symbol is similar to one of the ancient Malawi female winged spirits known as Sungamwana (Keep the child) because that is who she is too.
The others are Tomasi Bona (world in one’s hands), Tagoneka Mbona (put to sleep Mbona), Chandiona Goneka (It’s seen me, put to sleep), Nthanda mwana wa mwezi (Child of the moon, Sirius), Dziwe Ntambawana (Magic pool) and Ife Zonse (All of us).

Woman not mermaid and python drawing from
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from

In ancient teachings these 7 pulled each other to create energy viewed as light like that of lightning which today will probably be called electricity. Now in physics there are two types of electric charges…positive and negative.
“Positively charged substances are repelled from other positively charged substances, but attracted to negatively charged substances; negatively charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. An object will be negatively charged if it has an excess of electrons, and will otherwise be positively charged or uncharged.
“The SI derived unit of electric charge is the coulomb (C), although in electrical engineering it is also common to use the ampere-hour (Ah), and in chemistry it is common to use the elementary charge (e) as a unit. The symbol Q is often used to denote charge.
“The early knowledge of how charged substances interact is now called classical electrodynamics, and is still very accurate if quantum effects do not need to be considered,” partly reads

Took this picture of children in Milange, Mozambique admiring visiting Malawian children

Tracing footsteps to lead me home

Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.

I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.

Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.

I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star. this space.