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 http://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
Malawi woman not mermaid and python drawing fromhttp://exploremalawi.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-make-it-rain-malawian-ancestral.html
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 https://mayapedia.me/posts/mami-wata-arts-for-water-spirits-in-africa-and-its/
Mami Wata Arts for Water Spirits in Africa photo fromhttps://mayapedia.me/posts/mami-wata-arts-for-water-spirits-in-africa-and-its/
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 readshttp://www.touregypt.net/magazine/magf5.htm
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 Pearlshttps://blog.etsy.com/en/2010/tears-of-mermaids-the-secret-story-of-pearls/
In December 2012 37thSTATE presented 'LADY IN THE WATER'- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavieshttp://www.factory78.com/2012/12/37thstate-presents-lady-in-water-mami.html
In December 2012 37thSTATE presented ‘LADY IN THE WATER’- A mami-wata documentary. Published by @Lanredavieshttp://www.factory78.com/2012/12/37thstate-presents-lady-in-water-mami.html
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 http://usa.greekreporter.com/2013/10/14/columbus-day-was-christopher-columbus-greek-2/
Christopher Columbus online drawing fromhttp://usa.greekreporter.com/2013/10/14/columbus-day-was-christopher-columbus-greek-2/
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.http://www.herald.co.zw/mermaids-stopping-govt-work-sipepa-nkomo/
Online drawing of mermaid taken from http://urbansoulflower.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/when-mermaids-get-stranded-like-me/
Online drawing of mermaid taken fromhttp://urbansoulflower.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/when-mermaids-get-stranded-like-me/

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some royal ancestors valued short finger nails (chikhadabo) and rhino horn (chipembere)

Internet photo of Rhino horns
Rhinoceros horns have long been objects of mythological beliefs.  Some cultures prize them for their supposed magical or medicinal qualities while others have used them as dagger handles or good luck charms.
When attacking, the rhino lowers its head, snorts, breaks into a gallop reaching speeds of 30 miles an hour, and gores or strikes powerful blows with its horns according to various internet sources.
In ancient Malawi rhino horns (nyanga) were not hunted anyhow but passed down generations in royal families with the same one being used according to some elders familiar with the ancient history of this land which had no borders.
Fingernails were also viewed as having nyanga similar to the rhino horn which some ancient royal families stored charms in besides bathing in it. That horn was different from the goat horn (mbuzi) used in the evil magical oral Maula....as the Rhino horn was believed to give a royal person that authority so that people would fear them.
Internet photo of fingernails (chikhadabo)
It was ten years ago on 13 April, 2004 when a Malawian village woman had a strange dream and saw the letters MBONA and blue deep water as chairs and tables were floating on top.
This woman also saw the colour black which symbolizes dark clouds which bring rain.
According to some Sapitwa healers this symbolized her “calling” to ulosi (African prophecy) and her role as an ancient priestess responsible for nsembe (sacrifices and offerings).
Malawi’s ancient Mbona was viewed as a rainmaker although in reality he only pointed his two-edged kandalanga sword to the North for Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe to bring rain claim some Mulanje-based elders.
Official Mbono Illustration taken from Ulendo series book for Standard 8
As soon as Mbona pointed his sword to apparently somehow bring in the North wind of Tomasi Bona (Atom), he did not get struck by lightning (mphenzi) as the thunder roared and natures’ electricity tore trees apart.
But how did this happen, many of us would ask the elders.  Well they claim that the spirit (mizimu) of Tomasi Bona somehow possessed Mbona and this enabled him repel the lightning with his finger tips and short nails to show his strength and power (mphamvu).
According to such myths, Mbona was trained to make his body like a magnet in which the role of static electricity played because he was not only an ordinary person but the reincarnation or re-birth of the Tagoneka Mbona spirit of the West after he was born of a woman whose name was Nyangu.
There is no scientific explanation for such things as lightning is “a powerful sudden flow of electricity (an electrostatic discharge) accompanied by thunder that occurs during an electric storm. The discharge will travel between the electrically charged regions within a thundercloud, or between a cloud and a cloud, or between a cloud and the surface of a planet.”
Woman and python drawing from
Explore Malawi blog
 on how to make rain
"A moving thunderstorm also gathers positively charged particles along the ground that travel with the storm. 
As the differences in charges continue to increase, positively charged particles rise up tall objects such as trees, houses, and telephone poles—and people so it’s best to avoid being the highest object anywhere during a storm and avoid taking shelter near or under the highest object, including tall trees.
“Avoid being near a lightning rod or standing near metal objects such as a fence or underground pipes,” according to National Geographic http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_lightningfacts_2.html
As one can see this is why women as female priestesses and prophetesses in this ancient land of Malawi played a huge role in the nation’s long forgotten history. They are also written about in lightning myths and their role in being the feminine energy (-) pulling the male charge (+) to create Light.
For example Rev Bozongwana wrote when rain came with thunder people said "Iphezulu liyakhuluma,iNosazana iyadlala meaning the rain-goddess is speaking and there were similar beliefs in ancient Egypt which was in line with many African cultures.
Ndebele religion
In ancient Malawi Chinsinsi Sungamwana (secret, keep the child) had a twin sister called Malira Tapalia (cry, fish) who was connected to both lightning, rains and water. She was the Nyangu who would put her head in a huge red clay pot full of water and say "Ndine Nyangu"....I am Nyangu.
So she only bathed her head and not the rest of her body because of heavy use of nyanga (horns, charms).
“O Isis, O lightning that turns into god, extend your blessing on the people of that time.  You left your will in magical prayer, Lightning: A Perfect Mind, And all your kindness, for your so beneficial gift, for the strength of your light, we praise you, Isis…..“Daughter of earth and sky, under your form of lightning, you show your dual origin by uniting both your parents in your embrace. You are the true benefactor of mankind, the Divine Mother….
“She is a thing. She is lightning. Remember that lightning, or thunder, is a feminine word in Greek as well as in French. Is lightning a thing indeed? In this particular context, lightning is both the flash that provides enlightenment and Isis, Great Goddess of Ancient Egypt.
“I am Lightning making the perfect mind.  I send the power to those who come to me.  Do not ignore me, you Greeks, armed with your beliefs.  For I am the first and last, the great goddess and the most humble of your servants.
“For I am the one who is honoured in the old religion, the one who is despised in the Greek worship.  I am the one who is sterile because enlightenment is not transmitted by heredity, and numerous are my sons because I have awakened many,” partly reads online sources about ancient Egyptian goddess Isis.
Internet photo
Now looking some images of the ancient Egypt figure of a woman with one leg bent reminds some uneducated Sapitwa healers of a Hamerkop known as Nantchengwa in Malawi.
It’s quite an ugly looking bird with a triangle shaped head and a cry that seems to shriek when flying by.
The mythical lightning-bird of ancient Malawi is also the hamerkop locally known as nantchengwa which has a triangular-shaped head and is known for its shriek cry as if some wicked women laughing or something.

This blog will continue trying to document oral history about the first Nyangu because so far nothing shows up on Google except a small mention of Mbona’s “virgin mother” according to the book the River of Blood: The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi by Father J. Matthew Schoffeleers, a Catholic missionary.
Now before that there were many other Nyangus including the first one who fell from grace according to Sapitwa healers. But that Nyangu known as Malira Tapalia was different from Mbona’s mother or all the other official Nyangus of Malawi’s ancient history.
It’s also a fact that Mbona kept his finger nails short and filed but his hair uncut and dreadlocked but this blog is still trying to confirm what tools he used to cut his nails.
What is known is the secret behind short finger nails among many real African doctors in many cultures.
In Malawi, fingernails are called chikhadabo or zikhadabo and they're similar to the horn of the Rhino (Chipembere).
Photo taken from Egyptian Gift shop website 
Now strong healers cut their fingernails and file their nails even if it's with a razor because nails are the same as the horn (nyanga) of an animal and symbolize strength (mphamvu).
That is why some ancient kings are said to have used the Rhino horn with charms to make people fear them and others used the goat horn (mbuzi) which was different.
Animal horns as in nyanga played a major role in nyanga rituals performed by some royal families and asing’anga anyanga.
In English they say fingernails and toenails are made up of "a tough protective protein called keratin. This protein is also found in the hooves and horns of different animals."
Kera is Greek which means "horn" and also sheep wool as in Nkhosa his similar to keratin found in human hair. This might have been one of the reasons in the 18th century British colonialists allegedly classified African hair “as closer to sheep wool than human hair”.
However it is a fact that the natural hair of some people of colour is sometimes described as “nappy”, “kinky” or “wolly” and it’s also know to revert to its natural state when it gets wet.
This means the hair will shrink and get puffy or curly and keratin is also present in hair.
The horns of most animals have a bony core covered by a thin sheath of keratin, the same substance as hair and nails. Rhino horns are unique, however, because they are composed entirely of keratin. Melanin and calcium patches are also know to appear in its yearly growth surges.
Sheep wool internet photo
“Keratin is an extremely strong protein that is a major component in skin, hair, nails, hooves, horns, and teeth. The amino acids which combine to form it have several unique properties and, depending on the levels of the various amino acids, it can be inflexible and hard, like hooves, or soft, as is the case with skin.
“Most people interact with this tissue after it is actually dead; hair, skin, and nails are all formed from dead cells that the body sheds as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new tissue below them.
“Keratin is formed by keratinocytes, living cells that make up a large part of skin, hair, nails, and other parts of the body. The cells slowly push their way upwards, eventually dying and forming a protective layer. Thousands are shed every day, and the process can be accelerated by various medical conditions, such as psoriasis. Damage to the external layer of keratin can cause skin, hair, and nails to look unhealthy or flaky.
Agnes Dumisani Mizere (Nankhoma) in her 100% natural self trying to give a voice to the VOICELESS...the untold and erased history of women of MALIYA...peace
Agnes Dumisani Mizere (Nankhoma) in her 100% natural self though mocked and scorned, she still tries give a voice to the VOICELESS...the untold and erased history of women of MALIYA, MBONA, TOMASI BONA and never forgetting CHAUTA, NAMALENGA, MPHAMBE (God) who's worthy to be praised...peace
“Hair and nails on humans especially tend to become dry and brittle, because the dead keratin is being pushed to great lengths. By eating foods like gelatin and keeping hair and nails moist, they can be grown out while still remaining healthy.
"In general, the thicker the layer of keratin, the healthier the hair or nail is, because the dead cells outside protect the living cells at the core. Keeping the external layer moisturized will also keep it healthy and prevent cracking and splitting, whether it is forming the hooves of a horse of the skin of a human”, according to http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-keratin.htm

Sunday, December 14, 2014

‘Ancient Malawi’s Mbona was against Mwabvi witch poison ordeals’

“It takes a witch (mfiti) to catch a witch (afiti) in the astral realm of ziwanda (demons) where evil spirits exist because both are dogs (galu).”
LESSON: Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) is above all mortal beings and evil spirits (mizimu) so why fear mortal man and not the immortal Creator?
Mwabvi tree photo taken from http://coincident.fallingrain.com/?v=ejhnRmDdUQ0,46UsaCkbTJk,Ieb7gJvF3o4,lJoRTpApoME,dlGLQQJp99I
Mwabvi tree photo taken from http://coincident.fallingrain.com/?v=ejhnRmDdUQ0,46UsaCkbTJk,Ieb7gJvF3o4,lJoRTpApoME,dlGLQQJp99I
If one travels throughout Malawi, they will discover that the majority of citizens believe that witchcraft (ufiti) exists and it’s not strange to meet many male asing’anga anyanga as in those specializing in charms and horns saying akhwiri nokumana to mean “witches we have met”.
So in a nutshell that in Chichewa means “ndakupezani afiti” meaning a witch has been caught and found by those who say they track them down and dilute their powers.
But many Malawians these days are against asing’anga giving Mwabvi concoction because they stress that sorcerers must live and it’s wrong to take a person’s life.
Another contributing factor is because in ancient times some royal families and healers used the Mwabvi ritual to get rid of innocent enemies who were not practicing witchcraft.
Today mwabvi concoctions are illegal and those who summon asing’anga to do such “cleansing” risk arrest.
African doctors today all grouped as asing’anga but called “witch-doctors” in Malawi have been in the news for several years now after efforts by some local NGOs to “stamp out witch persecutions in the country by launching a public education campaign against belief in magic and witches.”
An example of how the term "witch-doctor" has been used online to define people like this man whose name is not mentioned on http://malawilive.com/2013/02/a-program-to-eradicate-violence-against-suspected-witches-in-malawi/#sthash.uYglWHqS.f32796Jx.dpbs
An example of how the term “witch-doctor” has been used online to define people like this man whose name is not mentioned on http://malawilive.com/2013/02/a-program-to-eradicate-violence-against-suspected-witches-in-malawi/#sthash.uYglWHqS.f32796Jx.dpbs
The ancestors of this land believed witchcraft existed but did not believe that witches were more powerful than Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) so they counted on the Creator to protect them and expose all evil.
This is where the role of winged spirits (mizimu) believed to be close to the Creator and ancestral spirits (mizimu yamakolo) came in.
They also believed witchcraft as in ufiti involved bloodlines and happened within families especially the extended ones unlike what is believed today. Such issues were tackled by asing’anga who specialized in that area and had a specific name but unfortunately this blog does not have the name.
In ancient African traditional religions, witches could only be found where “evil spirits” were in the astral and not physical realm where mortal beings are supposed to be.
The teaching was that evil and good do not mix in the spiritual realm so for one to find evil they would have to travel to the evil realm among other things and also use the same evil demons to trace them.
So in other words the suspected witch accused of using evil and satanic spirits to harm innocent people including kutamba is tracked down by a witch who sees them in the world of ziwanda (demons) and uses charms to protect themselves in kukhwimarituals and other things.
As covens in witchcraft are said to involve a group are believed to fear those who “hunt” them down in the astral realm of evil spirits as such magic (matsenga) is said to only happen where there are demons (ziwanda) and not good spirits.
It is also said that covens have from 13 to more people with a “leader” whether it’s in a lichero (winnowing basket) “plane” or when travelling north to certain rivers to do their “rituals.”
Such wizards are said to use body fluids to propel their “flying baskets” and in many other rituals hence why women are usually encouraged to burn their sanitary pads, cloth or undergarments.
Normal lichero winnowing basket not used in withcraft
Normal lichero winnowing basket not used in withcraft
Such afiti are said to specialize in kutamba (a witch’s spell) and harming innocent people while the other type of ufiti involves sorcery where the narrow neck African wine kettle gourd dressed in beads and locally known as nsupa is not only used for protection but also to harm innocent people.
Afiti are also said to not react to stench like those of pit latrines or waste matter because many including the ones involved in kukhwima rituals do not bath because water is said to repel the power of such nyanga.
Some nyanga users are said to put ulimbo sticky sap inside their narrow neck African wine kettle gourd which works like glue for snaring birds but in the nyanga rituals it is said to work like a magnet and pull birds down so that it can be used for the nsupa or evil goat-horn maula.
Ulimbo is made from the seeds of a wild tree or “prepared from the milky rubber-like juice of some trees.”
This blog does not yet know which tree the nsupa’s ulimbo is sourced from but elsewhere among ordinary Malawians ulimbo is sourced from the nkhaze tree which grow very thick with branches covered in thorns or kachere tree.
“A long sterm of bamboo reed (Phragmites mauritianus) or nsenjere grass (Pennisetum  Purpureum) is cut some 3-4 metres  long, and on the tip the reed is smeared some plant latex (ulimbo) usually that taken from the freshly-cut inner bark of the Kachere tree (Ficus natalensis).  As with the use of latex in trapping birds, several other plant may be utilized to obtain the latex.  A winged termite may be used as bait.” https://books.google.mw/books?id=wKevAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=ulimbo+tree+malawi&source=bl&ots=B3cKqIIu41&sig=CByKtySE1iBKGU0FSgX-k3UY6LE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qzuLVK22MJL67Qb50YGwBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=ulimbo%20tree%20malawi&f=false
Plant latex used as glue photo from http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/2014/09/18/exploring-eco-friendly-glues-and-adhesives-a-sticky-situation/
Plant latex used as glue photo from
http://www.alternativeconsumer.com/2014/09/18/exploring-eco-friendly-glues-and-adhesives-a-sticky-situation/
Another tool this blog has been told about is the Ulongo clay pot but specifically the red clay one use as m’phika for washing nyanga tools or the face of ancient Malawi’s Malira Tapalia, one of the many ancient Nyangus.
Normally a mphika is used as a pot for cooking relish while mtusko is used for carrying or storing water among other items and mkhate is a large, wide-mouthed pot used for holding water for bathing as captured in this linkhttp://www.travelmalawiguide.com/ancient%20trade.html
Others use charms washed in miphika for self-protection and for ancient battles but were not considered to be witches (afiti). Such types of people used to claim they used the power of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).
This was also a major debate during Mbona’s era with colonialists capturing some of the debate and revealing their disbelief in their “Nyasaland” writings captured online.
In one document they wrote that “the chief superstition among the natives is the belief that the spirits of the dead can influence nature for the good or ill of the living, and those spirits are propitiated by making sacrifices (nsembe) to them, generally of native beer.
Latex glue photo not connected to this blog taken from https://www.tablix.org/~avian/blog/archives/2009/04/
Latex glue photo not connected to this blog taken fromhttps://www.tablix.org/~avian/blog/archives/2009/04/
This belief is specially strong as regards Mbona, who is considered to be the “patron saint “of his district, with control of the rainfall, and conse- quently the food supply. “Mbona lives in Mlawi hill, Avhich is considered sacred to him, but his ” temple ” is a hut in a thick clump of forest known as Kuluvi, in section C, almost at the foot of Mlawi. A woman lives in this hut who is known as Mbona’s wife. Offerings must be made in this hut only and must consist of blue or black cloth.
“The persons making the offering, or anyone who approaches the hut, must be clothed in blue or black. Europeans are not encouraged to visit this “temple,” and very few have done so.
“There are several versions of the history of Mbona which differ in many particulars, but the following notes were communicated by Ngabu and Chipwembwe (principal headmen), who are Mbona’s ” High priests,” and who received the tradition from their fathers.  ‘It is impossible to ascertain, even approximately, when the events occurred.
“Mbona probably is not credited with possessing any special powers himself, but he intercedes with “Mulungu ” on behalf of the Amang’anja people, when he is pleased, and leaves them to suffer from droughts and floods when they have neglected or offended him : —  “Mbona came from Mala we, Kukambiritiya.O) near the Achipeta country.
“His father’s name was Chingale and his mother’s name Chimbe. He had four wives called Sawawa, Samisanje, Chungwe and Tiza.  “Mbona came down to this country on account of a ‘ Mlandu ‘ regarding an accusation brought against someone of being a witch, to whom a headman named Msumpi ordered ‘ mwabvi ‘ to be given.
“The accused drank the mwabvi and did not die, so the headman ordered a feast to be given to celebrate the event, and Mbona refused to take part in it as he objected to the ordeal trial.  “He told the people that he had power from ‘Mulungu ‘ to tell when people were guilty and that poison was unnecessary. They wanted to kill him, so he ran away and came towards this country, and across the Shire into what is now Portuguese territory.
“He wanted to make a village at Zambawe in that country, and planted rice there which the people still grow every year. There is a peculiarity about this rice that it cannot be removed from the locality in which it was first planted by Mbona,” partly readshttp://archive.org/stream/handbookofnyasal00mala/handbookofnyasal00mala_djvu.txt
Official Mbono Illustration taken from Ulendo series book for Standard 8
Official Mbono Illustration taken from Ulendo series book for Standard 8
Malawi National Commission for Unesco in 2011 submitted that Mbona according to Mang’anja oral tradition 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”, further reads the Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines website onhttp://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5602/ 
In Malawi magic is defined as ‘matsenga” and all forms viewed as evil and not openly accepted by many cultures in the country. However in Europe and the Americas magic and witchcraft are defined differently with magic involving good and bad.
Maybe that is why some African doctors claim that dogs have witchcraft spirits and are able to see afiti when they walk passed so they howl and bark at them.
This is because in some ancient beliefs those who did evil in life were reincarnated into animals including dogs.  All those who practice ufiti or claim to catch or see them in the astral realm are also labeled dogs (galu) by Sapitwa and other healers.
However, in British mythology the dog is seen to be faithful, loyal seen to serve it’s master well. ‘Cabal’ wasKing Arthur’s trusty companion and symbolises how the animal has continued to be considered through to modern times whilst there are also many references to ‘Black Dogs’.
“Perhaps the most powerful universal belief associated with dogs is that they possess the ability of second sight. It is said that a dog can see apparitions and sense if death is imminent. This may be because we now know that the dog can sense chemical changes in the air, and it is known that the human body undergoes such changes close to death.
Cerberus (Greek: Κέρβερος, Kérberos) in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades , to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus
Cerberus (Greek: Κέρβερος, Kérberos) in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed dog which guards the gates of Hades , to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus
“Evidence abounds that supports this with dogs howling when the owner is ill. It is understandable then that to hear a dog howling has long been considered to be a death omen, and the same is said to be true if the dog howls by an open door.
“Just before the moment Abraham Lincoln was assassinated his dog is said to have howled and run about the White House. The explorer, Lord Carnarvon, discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb; he died in Cairo and his faithful dog is said to have died within a few hours.
“Dogs, being able to sense death close-by were also believed to be able to see earthbound spirits and ghosts, and this can be sensed when a dog snarls. Visions of dogs have also been seen and are indeed famous the world over commonly known as ‘spectral black dogs’. These dogs normally have flaming red eyes and are known as servants of the Devil. What seems to be common to all the sightings is that the person being hunted initially seems unaware of their presence until they actually meet.
“Horror stories indicate that the victim is often aware of them much sooner. They were thought to be most common in country lanes and in areas of wilderness in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Reports alleged that the hounds appeared to be restricted within an area as if bound by invisible walls, hedges, or roads. Perhaps one of the most famous is the ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The headless ‘Yell Hounds’ are alleged to have influenced his writing, said to appear only during twilight hours.
“These hounds were thought to be hunting either a person or a spirit, some believe it was the Devil. Yet some believe the quick moving hounds it is the Devil himself who is controlling the hounds, in some cases the huntsman. The idea of the hounds being out on a hunt is often an occasion associated with ‘black dogs’ also known as ‘fairy dogs’ (also known to lead people to safety on occasion).
Janie, a witch (mfiti) in the West who "takes her religion, Wicca, very seriously" according to  http://pvtimes.com/news/conversation-witch-helps-dispel-myth.html
Janie, a witch (mfiti) in the West who “takes her religion, Wicca, very seriously” according to
http://pvtimes.com/news/conversation-witch-helps-dispel-myth.html
“Contemporary conjecture indicates that such sightings or hauntings of black dogs accompany a ‘wild hunt’ which can be seen at key times of the year and some believe only on ley lines. The majority of apparitions have been reported in Cornwall (UK) and Devon (UK) but alleged sightings have been forthcoming across the British Isles,” partly reads http://www.mystical-www.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=266&Itemid=357
Now in Malawi when a dog has normal manthongo as in the mucus which forms crust just outside the inner eye and not a eye discharge because of an infection.
Dogs of ancient Egypt taken from http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dogs.htm
Dogs of ancient Egypt taken fromhttp://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/dogs.htm
Our ancestors believed the ones appearing within the eyes meant spiritual headaches (mutu waukulu) or problems with the eyes or normal headaches and the one on the outer eyes meaning good luck. This manthango is like the ones dogs (agalu) have amongst other animals.
And this was the basis of the name Nyangu especially in relation to mutu waukulu and ulosi wakale as in ancient Africa prophecy and prophetesses also known as priestesses. This was part of ancient African spirituality involving the Creator but not witchcraft.
Some of the ancient Nyangu women had “magical” chants and “spells” to protect tombs which the communities back then thought was vital but not today.
In the West this is summarized as Black Magic and White Magic….terms many people of colour are not comfortable with.  In western nations what is called “Black magic” has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for evil and selfish purposes while White magic” has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for good and selfless purposes.
“With respect to the philosophy of left-hand path and right-hand path, white magic is the benevolent counterpart of malicious black magic. Because of its ties to traditional pagan nature worship, white magic is often also referred to as “natural magic”, partly readshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_magic
Some of these debates are captured in the Journal Article titled ‘UFITI. Foundation of an Indigenous Philosophy of Misfortune: The Socioreligious Implications of Witchcraft and Sorcery in a Central African Setting’ by E. R. Wendland.
In his classical study of the Azande of colonial Sudan, Evans-Pritchard (1937) distinguished between ‘witchcraft’ and ‘sorcery’ by their technique. He defined the former as the innate, inherited ability to cause misfortune or death and by contrast sorcery as the “performance of rituals, the uttering of spells, and the manipulation of organic substances such as herbs, with the conscious intent of causing harm.”
Jackal of ancient Egypt locally known as Nkandwe in Malawi http://www.museumofmythology.com/Egypt/duamutef.htm
Jackal of ancient Egypt locally known as Nkhandwe in Malawi and also in the Sapitwa “Book of the Dead”
http://www.museumofmythology.com/Egypt/duamutef.htm
“There is a recurrence of widely shared details in witchcraft beliefs cross-culturally. (1) Though human, witches incorporate non-human power. Witches are possessed by Satan; have pythons in their bellies; work with animals such as snakes, cats, baboons and owls, that they own as familiars; or witches themselves change into the shape of familiars. (2) Witches are nearly always adults. They may bear physical stigmata like a red eye, a Devil’s mark, or a special witchcraft substance.
“(3) Witches tend to become socially important in times of crisis, when all sorts of misfortune are ascribed to them. (4) Witches harm their own kin and neighbours rather than strangers. (5) Witchcraft is motivated by envy and malice, rather than by the pursuit of material gain. (6) Witches reverse usual expectations of behaviour. They work at night, commit incest, practice cannibalism, go naked instead of clothed, or may stand backwards when they knock at doors. (7) Witchcraft is nearly always immoral,” further reads http://what-when-how.com/social-and-cultural-anthropology/witchcraft-and-sorcery-anthropology/
But the laws of Malawi do not recognize witchcraft and those that accuse a person or label one a witch could find themselves in trouble with the law if they are not careful.
But so far this law seems to have applied to asing’anga with their ufiti beliefs and not other beliefs or religions that openly label people afiti.
“The belief in witchcraft in Malawi permeates all sectors. Most Malawians regardless of age, education or social position hold the belief that witchcraft exists and that witches are real. In a study by NSO (2008), 76% of sampled Malawian households said that they know of witches in their community, and 62% said they know someone accused of witchcraft.
“The Constitution of Malawi does not mention the word witchcraft in any of its provisions. However, it provides for the fundamental right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought and belief (Section 33, Constitution of Malawi). While the Constitution allows the right to belief, it prohibits any criminal activity or harm to anyone as a result of belief.
“In order to protect people from harm, the Witchcraft Act of 1911, prohibits witchcraft accusations towards anyone and the calling of witch finders by chiefs and individuals for witch hunts and cleansing. It calls upon DCs to summon chiefs that allow witch hunts. It is a crime to participate in witch hunts and to pretend witchcraft, which in effect, is not in tandem with the Constitutional right to a ‘belief’.
“The Act is, however, being reviewed by the Law Commission”, further reads a research paper titled ‘The Extent and Nature of Witchcraft-Based Violence against Children, Women and the Elderly in Malawi’ by Dr Charles Chilimampunga, Sociology Department, Chancellor College, University of Malawi and George Thindwa, Association for Secular Humanism which was submitted to The Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Witchcraft has created heated debates in Malawi as most citizens believe it’s real and some also talk of seeing them or being attacked by them.  However despite some disturbing things the forces of evil are known to do, the fact remains that Chauta, Mphambe, Namalenga (God) remains Almighty and everything else below the Creator and not as powerful as the One who sees all.
Golden jackal photo taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_Eritrea
Golden jackal photo taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_Eritrea

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.

.....watch this space.


Pages