Saturday, January 17, 2015

100 years since John Chilembwe ‘finished his work’ (originally published in newspapers on Jan 15)

“The Death of Jesus
“Jesus knew that by now everything had been completed; and in order to make the scripture come true, he said, “I am thirsty.”
A bowl was there, full of cheap wine; so a sponge was soaked in the wine, put on a stalk of hyssop, and lifted up to his lips. 30 Jesus drank the wine and said, “It is finished!”
Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19:28-30 Good News Translation (GNT)

Rev Kingsley Kaliati, PIM Vice President Photo by Agnes Mizere
Rev Kingsley Kaliati, PIM Vice President
Photo by Agnes Mizere
It is now 100 years since Rev. John Chilembwe’s 1915 uprising and death but his name will never be forgotten or erased from Malawi’s history because of the contributions he made to the struggle for freedom and African independence.
In a nutshell that is when Chilembwe finished his work and began a path towards freedom by freeing his people from the cages of horror.
Chilembwe, during the time Africa was fighting for the right to be free from the clutches of colonialists and he was one of the most educated black African leaders.
He is also known as a brave African nationalist who challenged Europeans without fear or favour at a time when many viewed whites as gods who could not be challenged.
And by dying in the struggle, Chilembwe’s bravery inspired others to continue from where he left on so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.
Sanjika Rock where John Chilembwe spent time.  Kamuzu's Sanjika Palace also has the same name. Photo by Agnes Mizere
Sanjika Rock where John Chilembwe spent time. Kamuzu’s Sanjika Palace also has the same name.
Photo by Agnes Mizere
This is why Providence Industrial Mission (PIM)’s Rev Syford Chimwaza says there is every reason to celebrate 100 years after Chilembwe “finished his work”.
“Jesus Christ said it is finished when he died and this is something to remember Chilembwe by…in the fruits of his work.  Why did he die?  For the freedom of worship and the freedom of blacks,” he says.
However like others in the church he is not satisfied that some promises made over the years have never been fulfilled by various governments which ruled Malawi.
Amongst these are promises of a tarmarc road to replace the dusty one which gets muddy and not easily accessible during rainy seasons, a technical college to continue Chilembwe’s passion for education and an improved PIM health centre.
But he is happy for other efforts that have been made over the year to recognize and appreciate the contributions Chilembwe made to the existence of Malawi today.
Chilembwe was born near Chiradzulu in the south of what became Nyasaland, probably in 1870 or 1871, and attended a Church of Scotland mission from around 1890. In 1892 he became a house servant of Joseph Booth, a radical and independently-minded missionary.
Booth had arrived Africa in 1892 as a Baptist to establish the Zambezi Industrial Mission near Blantyre. Booth was critical of the reluctance of Scottish Presbyterian missions to admit Africans as full church members, and later founded seven more independent missions in Nyasaland which, like the Zambezi Industrial Mission, focused on the equality of all worshipers.
The dusty road to Malawi Hero John Chilembwe's PIM church.  We had to turn back and get there via Nguludi because it was muddy and could not risk tyres getting stuck in that.
The dusty road to Malawi Hero John Chilembwe’s PIM church. We had to turn back and get there via Nguludi because it was muddy and could not risk tyres getting stuck in that.
In Booth’s household and mission where he was closely associated with Booth, Chilembwe became acquainted with Booth’s radical religious ideas and egalitarian feelings. Booth returned to Nyasaland in 1899 but left permanently in 1902, although he continued to correspond with Chilembwe.
In 1897 Booth and Chilembwe traveled together to the United States. Here, after parting amicably from Booth, Chilembwe attended the Virginia Theological Seminary and College, (now Virginia University of Lynchburg), a small Baptist institution at Lynchburg, Virginia. The principal was a militantly-independent Negro, Gregory Hayes and Chilembwe both experienced the contemporary prejudice against negroes and was exposed to radical American Negro ideas and the works of John Brown, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey and others.
“He was ordained as a Baptist minister at Lynchburg in 1899. After his return to Nyasaland, Chilembwe developed close contacts with independent, African-controlled churches, including Seventh Day Baptist and Churches of Christ congregations, with the aim of uniting some or all of these African churches with his own mission church at the centre.
Chilembwe was ahead of his time.  Photo by Agnes Mizere
Chilembwe was ahead of his time. Photo by Agnes Mizere
“Chilembwe also had some contact with Watchtower followers, but the extent of these and the influence of Watchtower’s millennial beliefs on him is minimised by most authors except the Lindens. Although the vast majority of those found guilty of rebellion and sentenced to death or to long terms of imprisonment were members of Chilembwe’s church, a few other members of the Churches of Christ in Zomba were also found guilty”, partly reads online sources.
In 1900 Chilembwe returned to Nyasaland, in his own words, “to labour amongst his benighted race”. Backed financially the National Baptist Convention of America who also provided two American Baptist helpers until 1906, Chilembwe started his Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Chiradzulu district. In its first decade, the mission developed slowly, assisted by regular small donations from his American backers, and Chilembwe founded several schools, which by 1912 had 1,000 pupils and 800 adult students.
The work of our Hero John Chilembwe's hands. Photo by Agnes Mizere
The work of our Hero John Chilembwe’s hands. Photo by Agnes Mizere
He preached the values of hard-work, self-respect and self-help to his congregation and, although as early as 1905 he used his church position to deplore the condition of Africans in the protectorate, he initially avoided specific criticism of the government that might be thought subversive. However, by 1912 or 1913, Chilembwe had become more politically militant and openly voiced criticism over the state of African land rights in the Shire Highlands and of the conditions of labour tenants there, particularly on the A. L. Bruce Estates.
However, the aims of the rising remain unclear, partly because Chilembwe and many of his leading supporters were killed, and also because many documents were destroyed in a fire in 1919.
However, use of the theme of “Africa for the Africans” suggests a political motive rather than a purely millennial religious one. Chilembwe is believed to have drawn parallels between his rising and that of John Brown, and stated his wish to “strike a blow and die” immediately before the rising started further reads the Wikipedia.
Providence Industrial Mission (PIM)’s Rev Syford Chimwaza telling Chilembwe's story.  Photo by Agnes Mizere
Providence Industrial Mission (PIM)’s Rev Syford Chimwaza telling Chilembwe’s story. Photo by Agnes Mizere
The first part of Chilembwe’s plan was to attack European centres in the Shire Highlands on the night if 23–24 January 1915, to obtain arms and ammunition, and the second was to attack European estates in the same area simultaneously. Most of Chilembwe’s force of about 200 men were from his PIM congregations in Chiradzulu and Mulanje, with some support from other independent African churches in the Shire Highlands.
In the third part of the plan, the forces of the Ntcheu revolt based on the local independent Seventh Day Baptists would move south to link up with Chilembwe.
He hoped that discontented Africans on European estates, relatives of soldiers killed in the war and others would join as the rising progressed. It is uncertain if Chilembwe had definite plans in the event of failure; some suggest he would seek a symbolic death, others that he planned to escape to Mozambique.
The first and third parts of the plan failed almost completely: some of his lieutenants did not carry out their attacks, so few arms were obtained, the group had failed to form and move south, and there was no mass support for the rising.
PIM 100 years after Chilembwe finished his work. -  Photo by Agnes Mizere
PIM 100 years after Chilembwe finished his work

Of Ancient Malawi’s White Sapitwa rocks and oral tales & myths about them

An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the moon on January 26. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometers) in size. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027.
An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the moon on January 26. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometers) in size. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past Earth in 2027.   Photo:
This blog asks scientists if some asteroids are white and with sharp edges like a sword?  Why?  Because a Sapitwa priestess claims to have seen one in space yet she does not have the same instruments and tools like those in the West who spot these space rocks.
Instead she has oral stories and tales and what she refers to as oracles from Sapitwa which this blog is not endorsing but just repeating them as a messenger and voice for the voiceless.
A mythical entrance to the astral realm of Sapitwa in ancient oral stories is said to be a white hidden rock found at Dziwe la Nkhalamba and is the foundation of all the beliefs of ancient Sapitwa priestesses (nsembe).
They also claim the place was once known as a swimming pool for the elderly and those who saw an elderly man with white hair and wrinkles were said to be lucky and “blessed.” In ancient times clothes were also said to at times appear there on the rocks.
But it’s not know if this rock was formed part of particles from ancient asteroids that fell on earth.
Now a Sapitwa priestess claims a huge white rock with sharp edges has appeared and that is the reason why it’s not business as usual for them since they fled once spotting it.
According to them the white rock symbolizes fire just like a red mpolowani tree (the Steganotaenia Araliacea) growing somewhere in Mulanje. Red is also the colour of flames which is a nickname for Malawi.
Does the term "Malawi Flames" refer to the reddish orange flames of fire or something else? INTERNET PHOTO
Does the term “Malawi Flames” refer to the reddish orange flames of fire or something else?
This rock also appears at a time when the name Maliya as in Malira (to cry) has been revealed.  The other names of this ancient spirit are Tapalia and Tapacha and she was believed to be very powerful and a mermaid which also appeared as a huge fish as big as a room.
Malira’s colour was blue as she was from water but her headgear was said to be white to symbolize all that is pure and the Afterlife.
Visiting rural areas in many parts of Malawi one is bound to hear all sorts of myths and tales about so-called magic which could compete with Harry Potter like fiction stories and Two ways to the mythical Afterlife.
Rural Mulanje is also home to other tales about a mysterious Nthipe or Ntipe river, apparently a name of a bird and river or stream that flows from Sapitwa, the highest peak to Dziwe la Nkhalamba.
But it is not known if the so-called Great Black Cormorant of the Northern Hemisphere is also found in Malawi.
Internet photo of White-breasted Cormorant
Internet photo of White-breasted Cormorant
However, several tour guides did not know this stream or river when asked and instead spoke of Chisepu and Rua. But Sapitwa healers insist the ancient name of a stream on the mountain is Nthipe which is a bird known in English as Cormorant.
Bird experts say the word Nthipe or Ntipe refers to the White Breasted Cormorant, the Reed Cormorant and the African Darter.
Now in ancient Malawi myths tales, this river was the place where the soul was supposedly transported to the underworld which had two directions…one to the right which symbolized those from the east and those from the darkness which symbolized all those from the west.
In these “primitive” beliefs the soul would go through Sapitwa and a process involving a map through the rumoured underworld there.  However with the coming in of mainstream religions most Malawians don’t believe that and are known to be God-fearing so the myths and tales remain in ancient history.
However, in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries white is the colour of death and in some Asian cultures white is also considered to be a colour which represents death.
When this blog uses the word “white” or “black” it’s not referring to races but only to different colours also used in paintings and other works of art.
A Sapitwa rock which glows in the dark
White in ancient Malawi was also viewed as the colour of death because spirits (mizimu) were believed to appear as if they’re wearing white robes. In ancient Egypt white clothing reflected the white of mummification together.
“White also represented death in ancient Egypt, representing the lifeless desert that covered much of the country; black was held to be the colour of life, representing the mud-covered fertile lands created by the flooding of the Nile and giving the country its name (Kemet or “black land”) read various Internet sources.
Does this ancient Egypt drawing represent the dead or the living?
Now there is a mythical Sapitwa rock which is blackish in colour with a bit of white showing.  When it faded to become white, it was considered to represent the afterworld of which the owner would eventually join.
On the other hand black Egypt was said to be the colour of the life-giving silt left by the Nileinundation, which led to the ancient name for the country Kemet meaning the “black land”.
The colour black was seen as symbolizing fertility, new life, and resurrection as seen through the yearly agricultural cycle and it also was the colour of Osiris, the “black one” and the “resurrected god of the dead” and “Dweller in the Funeral Mountain” according to various internet sources.
It’s also a fact that some religious men in several traditional religions have for centuries worn black clothing without being labeled negative names.  Some beliefs pointed at black scientifically being the absence of colour and showing one’s lack of concern for the dictates of fashion.
In ancient African spiritual beliefs, black was the colour for rain and hence a black cloth, black goat or black cattle were sent to various deities as a price for rain during droughts among other things.
Rain clouds appear black and in some ancient Malawian beliefs they believed in Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) and went through royal spirits they believed to be close to the Creator when asking for rain among other things.
Black clouds before it rains
In what many online sources and authors call the “Mbona cult” a black cloth was also used and said to “cover the bed in the hut of Mbona” in the books Animals and Ancestors by Brian Morris and Rivers of Blood: The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi by J.M. Schoffeleers.
Travelling to Mulanje in the month of October or November along the Thyolo road one is bound to notice black clouds forming in the sky to indicate the beginning of the rainy season.
As the majestic Mulanje mountain appears in a distance, it’s Sapitwa peak appearing to beckoning chosen ones, one cannot help but notice what looks like clouds or fog surrounding it.
For some Mang’anja Sapitwa healers, the formation of black clouds are an indication the rains are near and they study the clouds to figure out where it’s raining and where it will rain next.
This is also done by studying the formation of black clouds on hill tops and activities in water bodies.  A specific black cloud which seems to glow with the sun is also believed to guide some healers to chosen places for what they call their spirits (mizimu).
The healers who tell myths that the astral realm of Sapitwa peak is home to ancestral spirits hence the dead claim to follow the greyish/black cloud to where their “royal spirit” takes them and stop where it stops.
Black for them is also the colour of their version of Mbona.  However, the official and accepted Mbona story by the valuable custodians of that culture is documented under Unesco’s Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines world heritage site.
“Khulubvi sacred shrine is located in Nsanje District, in the lower Shire Valley in Southern Region of Malawi, It is an important spiritual place among the people of Mang’anja tribe. It is a place where the Mang’anja worship the spirit of Mbona.
“According to Mang’anja oral tradition, Mbona was a legendary figure with super human powers who lived in the area during the rise of the Lundu Kingdom. Mbona is said to have had magic powers of bringing rain, creating wells of water on sandy lands, creating forests where they did not exist and hiding from enemies by turning into other creatures such as guinea fowls.
“It is said that Mbona’s uncle Mlauli, who was also a magician envied his nephew and wanted to kill Mbona. Mlauli, however, failed to kill Mbona because he wished to die on his own by telling Mlauli and his enemies to cut his throat with a leaf of a reed after other weapons had failed to harm him.
This drawing of ancient Egypt's Osiris looks like the "dead" Photo from
This drawing of ancient Egypt’s Osiris looks like the “dead”
Photo from
“His head was cut and placed at Khulubvi sacred groove, where the shrine exists today. People who knew his magic works began coming to the place periodically to worship the spirit of Mbona. A traditional hut within Khulubvi natural thicket of approximately 100 square metres was constructed as a worshipping site,” further reads the Unesco cultural heritage website about Mbona.
Some ancestors believed Mbona was “gifted with powers from the heavens” and would invoke the rains during a drought using his two-edged knife/sword locally known as kandalanga to point to the north to provoke the four winds which consist of the north, south, west and east to form the ancient African cross used by some village “Mbona healers”.
For centuries such healers have believed that Mulanje Mountain and it’s Sapitwa Peak are a source of rain and rivers.
The unofficial online Wikipedia claims that “most affected by the ITCZ in the Mulanje Area, is the Mulanje Massif, because its unique position as a “mountain island”, rising up more than 2500 metres above the plains around. This setting is responsible for the Massifs’ role as a rain barrier that forces the clouds to come down in the form of rain.Image
“This becomes very visible if we take a look at the annual normal rainfalls, on and around the massif. On plateau level, at around 2000 metres above sea level, we annually experience more than 250 mm (100 inches) of rain, however, in the low plains around the foot of the Massif, the annual rainfalls, range around 40 inch.
“In the plains around the Mountain, it normally only rains in the rainy season, while it rains all year long, on plateau level. The rains are just more intense and frequent then in the dry season.
But, there are still differences in the amounts of rain, around the Massif. The south-west face of the Mountain, is the weather side around Likhubula Lichenya and Mulanje Boma, which experiences the highest amounts of rain, due to the south-east trades of the southern hemisphere, that drive the moist air from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the Mulanje region. Therefore the North-west face of the Massif experiences lesser rains, as it is situated in the shadows of the high Peaks of the Massif,” further reads the unofficial Wikipedia.
The unofficial online encyclopedia also claims that “the elevation of the mountain is high enough for it to disturb upper level air flow and induce rain clouds to form around it, making it an important source of rain water at the head of almost every river that runs through this part of Malawi.”
Leaves of ancient Sapitwa “Mpingo” tree

Of Ancient Malawi’s 7 Universe Spirits led by the Hidden One nicknamed Njira (Way, Path)

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?
Chochepa chimakulitsidwa ndi kuima pamwamba anthu apansi azafuula ngati mphambe mpolowoni which means SO ABOVE AS BELOW in a code name for the world of mizimu (spirits).
This blog after 18 years of amateur research finally has the names of the 14 mythical spirits of ancient Malawi with 7 above as in the Universe led by Munsandipeze ndine njira (don’t find me I’m the way) and 7 below as on Earth led by Tomasi Bona (Atom, feast).
In ancient Malawi Myths and Tales, the Universe existed in twos hence beliefs that every person has an unknown twin who is not biological.  This is also the main teaching of pigeons (nkhunda) which come in twos so go the oral stories.
Rameron Pigeons, Chelinda (Nyika Plateau) not connected to this story taken from
Rameron Pigeons, Chelinda (Nyika Plateau) not connected to this story taken from
For those who follow this amateur attempt at Sapitwa Mythology this blog will now reveal the 7 mythical spirits of ancient Malawi for the Universe led by Munsandipeze ndine njira (don’t find me I’m the way) which is a code name.
These names have NEVER EVER been revealed before and the few who know them will be surprised to see them listed here and they can be translated into some other languages.
SO ABOVE as in AIR and WIND is led by the Hidden One who is the way and path with that sentence having the ancient hidden SECRET(Chinsinsi) name used in rituals, festivals and the Afterlife.
This name for centuries has been connected to the HARVEST and the AFTERLIFE using a mythical path through water to get to the astral realm of some hills and mountains.
That path was however different from the one leading to the Universe which was believed to only have mizimu (spirits) and their Creator locally known as Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).
And these spirits were given names by some ancestors of this land:
1.  Mikolo Njinjinji (African Sacred Ibis)
2. Kabadula Malawi known as Kaba
3. Saka (the Hunter)
4.Samba Manja (wash your hands) of the North
5. Kalipo (said when there’s food to be eaten which is provided by spirits)
6. Tandipeza (find me)
7. Munjira (in the path)
SO BELOW as in EARTH and WATER led by Tomasi Bona (Atom, feast) with the mythical 7 mizimu (spirits) of ancient Malawi and the mythical 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi) and Mount Mulanje among others which were a positive charge (+).
The first 4 positive charges (+) were:
1. Tomasi Bona (atom, world in his hands, feast) of the North Wind
2. Tagoneka Mbona (we’ve put to sleep Mbona, see) of the West Wind
3. Chandiona Goneka (it’s seen me put to sleep) of the South Wind
4. Nthanda mwana wa mwezi, Nandi (Sirius, child of the moon)
And the 3 negative charges (-) pulling with the 4 to make light were:
5. Chinsinsi Sungamwana (Secret, keep the child)
6. Dziwe Ntambamwana (magic pool)
7. Ife Zonse ( all of us)
An asteroid is believed to have fallen where Mulanje Mountain is millions of years ago and some healers insist that is how the life there came into being on earth through Tomasi Bona (Atom, feast) as an asteroid or comet (nyenyezi, mwala) exploding through a termite like mound to begin the spirit world BELOW on earth.
the African sacred Ibis known as Njinjinji. It's also in ancient Egyptian myths and tales and the photo is found on
the African sacred Ibis known as Njinjinji. It’s also in ancient Egyptian myths and tales and the photo is found on
It’s through this lightning in a termite mound where the other mythical 6 spirits with Tomasi Bona (Atom) as the 7th came into being. These were different from Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) whom the ancestors believed was up above and beyond the sun and not on earth.
Tomasi Bona’s name means something like the whole world in his hands and feast drawn with a circle and cross which in English would probably be the equivalent of “All and Nothing”.
Now this Tomasi Bona is said to have 4 heads (mutu) from which he projected himself from the One. These include Pikinini Langwani of “Kuba” (Mt Namuli) which healers translate as child and giant and Biton. This blog will still not reveal the other 2 female names so they remain hidden for now but they are both Nyangus.
From those 4 heads are 3 others said to be at Machemba on Mulanje Mountain and these are Khumbi, Nthipe and Mpingo. So there is Tomasi Bona as the Atom and One and his 4 children who are:
1. Pikini Langwani of the North like the direction where Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God)
2. Biton of the East to mean the star like Sirius
3. The Hidden woman Nyangu of the South to mean where water comes out
4. The Hidden female Nyangu spirit of the West to mean the darkness , black cloud and all that can’t see and all these four have stars in the Universe.
Shooting stars represented the journey of a king into the Afterlife when it fell West were the sun sets and the birth of a king when it fell East and stopped on the place where the new king would be born.
Such a star known as Nthanda mwana wa mwezi, Nandi (Sirius, child of the moon) to represent birth of a mortal being through a woman like ChInSInSi Sungamwana (Isis, the secret keep the child) would appear near the place like an ancient African cross to represent the 4 winds of Sapitwa (mphepo zinayi).
Internet Sirius photo not connected to this post but to show the African cross like shape when it shines
Internet Sirius photo not connected to this post but to show the African cross like shape when it shines
Now the ancestors of this land thousands of years things believed some mizimu (spirits) as in what Egyptologists or scholars call “gods” were kind of reincarnated in that the ancient spirits were born in women to become man.
Such beings of the spirit were believed to stay in the womb of a woman which represented Mother Earth for 8 months and then disappear and go under the Indian Ocean for 3 days before being born like a flood to represent the amniotic fluids. When ancient African priests and priestesses suspect such a birth of the mizimu “spirit” to give them mortal bodies they would warn people of the Napolo floods and earthquake that would come with them.
And that was Chinsinsi Sungamwana translated as “Isis Sungamwana” or Nyangu Sungamwana or Malira Tapalia known as the feared MALIYA.
When this spirit from the water met the ones from the North and united….floods were said to happen which are similar to online stories about the flooding of the Nile which was symbolic of something very important to the ancestors and it was only through a WOMAN where these mizimu (spirits) could be made MAN through birth.
Mother Earth and the Indian Ocean of her womb –  Photo borrowed from
Mother Earth and the Indian Ocean of her womb –
Photo borrowed from
Ancestors believed that certain asteroids/comets they call nyenyezi (falling or shooting stars) brought life and many other things to earth besides GOLD in areas where they “given” and fell.
So far the eyes of some “primitive” astronomers are on what some scientists and astronomers call Asteroid 101955 Bennu.  In September 2016, NASA is expected to launch “a very special mission with the target being the near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu.”
“The primary objective of the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security– Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission is to return the first pristine samples of carbon-rich material from the surface of a primitive asteroid.
“Primitive” in regard to asteroids means original material formed at the beginning of the solar system that’s been little altered by heat or pressure. Look around you and you won’t find these sorts of rocks on Earth. Most have been reworked and recycled through water and wind erosion and the great engine of plate tectonics. “While there are plenty of primitive asteroids out there, Bennu stands out as the most easily accessible one by space probe” reads
101955 Bennu photo from
101955 Bennu photo from

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Of ancient Malawi's mythical 6 spirit (mizimu) names for 2015 - Sapitwa

Western side of Mulanje Mountain in Sunset, seen from Likubula Falls
Western side of Mulanje Mountain in Sunset, seen from Likubula Falls
As the Sapitwa healers of the mythical part Mulanje Mountain in the east of Blantyre in Malawi counted down to December 31, 2015 in anticipation of Sirius as if ushering in a New Year with nature’s very bright fireworks, healers also gave their mapira (sorghum) offerings on December 24 in line with their festival.
This is in commemoration of what they call mphepo zinayi which is in a nutshell the 4 winds of Sapitwa.
2015 is a special year because that is when six feared spirits representing life (moyo) are revealed from three mythical sides of Sapitwa, Kuba (Mt Namuli of Mozambique) and Inyangani (Mt Nyangani) of Zimbabwe according to such myths.
This blog will only share their known Chichewa names in such Myths and Tales of ancient Malawi.
Malawian healers call Mt Namuli in Mozambique "Kuba"
Malawian healers call the mythical side of Mt Namuli in Mozambique “Kuba” and the one of creatures (zirombo)
These are Lifa (to pass on to the afterlife), Biton meaning iwe tabwela mwakhazikika (come here you’ve settled down), Kaliya, a code name for Maliya, the known Tomasi, Yosefe a code name which is actually Tonsefe as in all of us and a Secret word this blog can’t reveal but only disclose that it means Njira, the way and path.
Njira is represented by the harvest season, in the way one plants seeds to bring them to life and in the way the same rows where the planting is done representing death as in a graveyard (manda) in the ancient African sense which was the Afterlife.
This was the secret name of all the powerful secrets of ancient Malawi and the secret way to that path. The word was written in the palm of one’s hands and on the face with specific marks representing a letter in the ancient Malawi alphabet.
According to one of the healers who follow ancient ways now labeled as “pagan” this is why they trekked to the mountain in 2014 to commemorate the 4 winds which in their beliefs symbolizes moyo which in English is life.
In their words, the year has been tough and 2015 will not be any better according to the Sapitwa oracle. The reason why is because mizimi yakwiya (the spirits are angry) because those they try and speak through are treated worse than dogs with rabies (chiwewe) by those they say do not listen (anthu inu osamva).
Some Malawi healers talk of Nyanga in Zimbabwe and insist Mt Inyangani has a mythical side and mizimu
Some Malawi healers talk of Nyanga in Zimbabwe and insist Mt Inyangani has a mythical side and mizimu
Although most healers including the Sapitwa ones are like the scum of society and looked down upon and labelled all sorts of names including afiti (witches), the Sapitwa ones still insist they strongly believe in the Creator whom some of us Christians call God.
In their “primitive” minds, they believe that Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) gave life by breathing through the nostrils of the first human being.
They also believe that Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe comes with the North wind which acts with the winds from the South and that the West corresponds with the East which they claim represents all that is holy and pure in their beliefs.
This creates an opposite attraction with the northern winds symbolizing heat and rains in their primitive beliefs and the southern showers while the west symbolized darkness and the east light hence the re-birth or renewal.
Now when they draw the 4 winds with ufa (maize flour) it creates their African cross and for them wind is like air which means life.  They also chant or ask for requests using lubani (incense) and send them through the 4 winds by using their foreheads or face to trace which direction the winds are blowing.
In their ancient beliefs, they somehow try and target winds blowing to the east by memorizing where the sun rises and where it sets to create a “primitive” African compass to assist them with directions.
According to a tale only told in a Sapitwa healers version, it is these four winds that Mbona of ancient Malawi was believed to invoke by pointing to the north using his kandalanga (two-edged knife) for rains which Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe was believed to send from the north.
For example when ancient Malawi’s Mbona said “amene ali ndi makutu amve” (those who have ears listen) he was not talking about the ears attached to our heads which was represented by the The Tree Ear mushroom (Auricularia auricula).
The Tree Mushroom locally nicknamed Bowa Muntengo (Mushtroom in the Tree)
So when one said bowa muntengo (mushroom in the tree) that was the ear mushroom and the words “amene ali ndi makutu amve”.
Parts of the “magic” mushroom among others are used in an ancient recipe of ingredients to quickly stretch a certain part of the body. So in ancient Malawi “amene ali ndi makutu amwe” meant “woman listen.”
Mbona liked referring to women as “woman” which in Chichewa is “mkazi” or women (akazi) and in minibuses and on the streets of Malawi that is what most men say when talking about women and not only their wives or women.
His language was normal in ancient times but not today and his teachings, saying songs etc are graphic.
So as the Sapitwa healers in their “primitive” beliefs celebrate the giver of life, we will try again to record one of them explaining all this themselves for history purposes and for in a small way NOT to endorse but document the ancient role of Malawi’s former priestesses known in Malawi as asing’anga amizimu but of Sapitwa as there is only one elderly one left in the country.
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from

Friday, December 26, 2014

Of ancient Malawi’s mythical mermaids and phande (pearl) shells

Pearls and shell online photo

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 
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

Ndine Nyangu ”, a woman says after dipping her head into a big red clay pot full of water goes the latest Sapitwa oral story which this blog is not endorsing but just telling it like it is.
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.
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
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.
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) 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.
Woman not mermaid and python drawing from
Malawi woman not mermaid and python drawing from
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 did a lot of wrong because of magic (matsenga) is said to have always appeared crying and weeping with a baby on her back and her colour was blue like the ocean.
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.
Mami Wata Arts for Water Spirits in Africa photo from
Mami Wata Arts for Water Spirits in Africa photo from
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 WestCentralSouthern Africa, and in the African diaspora in the Caribbean and parts of North and South America.
“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).
In the West, tales by Hans Christian Anderson including 'Little Mermaid' were very popular
In the West, tales by Hans Christian Anderson including ‘Little Mermaid’ were very popular
“The existence and spiritual importance of Mami Wata is deeply rooted in the ancient tradition and mythology of the coastal southeastern Nigerians (EfikIbibio 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.
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 gems and stones equated with Isis are pearl, coral, lapis, geodes, and moonstone further reads
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.
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.Daughters of Isis
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 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
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.
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.
Christopher Columbus online drawing from
Christopher Columbus online drawing from
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.
Online drawing of mermaid taken from
Online drawing of mermaid taken from

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.