Monday, December 12, 2016

OF ANCIENT MALAWI’S MIKOLO NJINJINJI (SACRED AFRICAN IBIS), HOOKS & FIG TREES (KACHERE)


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The peak of Thyolo Mountain in Malawi, Africa has a huge ancient Chayankhula Rock (It has spoken) of the ancestors resting on three huge rocks placed in a triangle like the traditional cook place locally called mafuwa.
“The Mwala wa Nthunzi rock along Thyolo road came from Thyolo Mountain and produced a vapour”, says a very friendly young man in the area as this writer tried to take more photos of the rock whose grinding stone on top keeps on changing…maybe a sign some people still attempt the old ritual there of knocking on it three times.
This information was also confirmed by several elders in the area who connected Mwala wa Nthunzi to Thyolo Mountain and said it was not a Rock of Shadow as in Mthunzi but Nthunzi as in Vapour or Steam connected to ancient Malawi spirit of royalty known as Bona.
Gone forever are the days of theka theka (half, half) sorghum and mapira flour offerings to Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (The One of the Bow hence Rainbow, Creator, Lightning & Thunder are His signs) at now extinct Malawi rain shrines including in Thyolo and Mulanje.
Thyolo Mountain was specifally known for Chayankhula Rock as in It has Spoken placed on 3 huge rocks like a traditional 3 stone cooking place known as mafuwa.
Reddish kite birds locally known as Mphamba or Kachiwatu were connected to that mountain and the way they shrieked made some elders believe they showed malaulo (bad omen).
Some grannies also said when Thyolo mountain had a thick forest, some disappeared near that ancient sacred Rock.
Its three mafuwa are also symbolic for Sirius locally known as Nthanda yaku M’mawa (the Star from the East) and the sacred Triangle peak to represent SapiTWA and where Chayankhula Rock is at the peak.
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Sitting near the ancient Chanyankhula Rock (It has spoke) right on top of Thyolo Mountain
While Bvumbwe’s Mapazi a Yesu (Feet of Jesus) was known in ancient times as Kambiri with a history of some ancient chiefs.  It is also believed to have 3 rock shaped like the mafuwa traditional cooking place triangle.
Of importance were fig trees like Kachere tree among those connected to ancient Malawi spirits the majority of citizens no longer believe in and seen on Bvumbwe hill. The Kachere tree is a Malawian fig tree which provides shade when big for meetings.
Online sources also show that plant latex locally known as ulimbo was usually taken from the “freshly-cut inner bark of the Kachere tree.”
Kachere tree.jpg
The Kachere fig tree is believed to have been used in a mixture for some white drawings and was different from Mkuyu which is the Sycamore fig with Nkhuyu (figs).
It’s the one which has a white sap which was used for writing in ancient times together with the Bloodwood tree (Mlombwa) for making the Nyanda bark cloth.
Online sources say the Sycamore fig is native to Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Israel, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
However it is also found in Malawi with mainly two important Mikuyu types. One has figs which can be eaten while the other has figs which are not eaten.
The edible figs sometimes dry out including inside making them not edible because of the sun while other dried out ones are said to be eaten.
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On top of Kambiri hill in Bvumbe, Thyolo
Now according to some oral stories traditional African beer put near Kachere Fig trees in mtsuko clay pots as an offering to the Creator [Namalenga] and spirit world.
According to Sapitwa priestess, Mayi Cecilia Jarden, sorghum (mapira) was also used in ufa (flour) offerings together with mawere (millet) while chikokeyani was the traditional beer put in mtsuko (clay pot) near a sacred tree, and thobwa the non-alcoholic drink one.
This blog can now reveal that Kachere tree was the one used when offerings specifically involved Mikolo Njinjinji (Sacred African Ibis) families. Rocks.jpg
Some ancestors believed ancient Kings had specific stars hence claiming they would shoot to the West to African prophesy eternal sleep as in their death and the East to prophesy their birth especially when it came low and resembled an African cross.
Both beer and the non-alcoholic thobwa drink were made using either millet or sorghum as well as for food offerings made during droughts.
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Mtsuko clay pot photo from Travel Malawi Guide website
Sorghum is a grain whose first recorded remains, dating back to 8000 BCE, were found in the Nabta Playa archaeological site in southern Egypt, writes Jane Summer in her article ‘Sorghum: The Must-have Gluten-free Ancient Grani.’
In Sudan, sorghum was also used as offerings at temples dedicated to Amun, a spiritual being they believed in.  The British Museum website reports that archaeo-botanical analyses of the mould shards excavated reveal that sorghum was the grain used to make offerings, not wheat and barley, as was used to make offering breads in Egypt.
Now some extinct priesthoods would stand near the Kachere tree connected to ulimbo (glue used to catch birds) to check for signs of Mikolo Njinjinji whom they believed would use the Kachere fig tree like a hook to catch, snag, trap (kokola) spirits of the deceased extinct ancient royal families to guide them on their way to the afterworld.
Njinjinji is also connected to nyenyezi (stars) and movements especially the ones today known as “shooting stars” and meteor showers, meteorites, comets and asteroids among other names of today.
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Reddish Kite birds were seen near Chayakhhula Rock of Thyolo Mountain

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Focus on Sunday with Dumisani: Malawi not able to feed its people again? Published for a short-lived Maravipost column on September 27, 2015



Who can ever forget how Malawi once "fed its own people" and made headlines for its agricultural success stories and being able to produce enough maize for people to eat and export?

We also heard how the late President Bingu wa Mutharika "dreamed in color" and saw a Greenbelt Irrigation scheme to utilize Malawi's water bodies so the "war on hunger had been won".

It did not make sense for a country blessed with a lot of water to only rely on rain-fed agriculture and when rains fail people starve.

This could have been the inspiration behind the praise song 'Mose wa lero' by Phungu Joseph Nkasa in tribute to Mutharika for his "vision and agricutlural policies which were seen as strengthening the country's food security through the fertilizer subsidy programme.

Well in the song Nkasa told us Malawians that Mutharika was like the biblical Moses delivering the Israelites from bondage in Egypt hence him delivering us as Malawians from hunger and eating madeya (maize husks).

Not only did we hear about Mutharika's successful fight against hunger in music....songs of praise were also heard afar including from the director of the New York–based Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs.

As recent as 2012, Sachs reminded us how in his final two years "Mutharika had actually engineered an agriculture-led boom in Malawi, one that pointed a way for Africa to overcome its chronic hunger, food insecurity, and periodic extreme famines." 


He also credited the late president for standing “bravely against the arrogance of an ill-informed foreign aid community back in 2005.”

According to Sachs writing in an op-ed in the New York Times, the positive legacy and success story of the Mutharika name held a key for "Africa’s future development and escape from poverty.”

Around the time government exported grain to Lesotho and Swaziland and who can forget the 400,000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe?

AFP in 2007 reported Malawi being "swamped with surplus maize from two bumper harvests" and in 2008 Malawi was in the news again when it donated to drought-hit Lesotho and Swaziland.

But that seems like a long lost and now colourless dream as Malawi is once again facing a food crisis following floods and other forces of nature and not forgetting the political mess that happened back then.

Fast forward eight years later and no major irrigation project is in sight.
Bingu's brother President Peter Mutharika has since appealed for international help to cope with an expected food shortage that could affect 17 percent of the country’s population in coming months.

In his national address on the food situation Mutharika said people in 25 of the country’s 28 districts are at risk of hunger.

"That is over two million people not being able to meet their annual food requirement and some $150 million being needed to attend to those in need of food assistance."

There has been so much tension with this food crisis that many Malawians on social media and on the streets took government to task for allegedly traveling with a large delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.

But why is Malawi facing its worst food crisis in a decade...what went wrong?
Archbishop of the Catholic Church Thomas Msusa during a memorial mass for late Mutharika in May seemed to have a clue.

He hailed Mutharika for "eradicating hunger in the country during his tenure in office through the Farm Input Subsidy Program(FISP)" but went further saying "let’s borrow a leaf from Israel which feeds Europe with fruits harvested from irrigation farming of which its water is taken from over 100 Kilometers away what about us, a country which was blessed with vast bodies of water."

It's mind boggling that a country where agriculture is the backbone of the economy and is home to Africa’s third-largest freshwater lake called Lake Malawi, less than three percent of the land is irrigated.

Could it be that more political will is needed at the highest level followed by reviving agriculture and irrigation to ensure food security?

51 years after Independence should Malawi seriously be relying on donors to give citizens maize the staple food or holding more prayers to ask God for rains when they fail because of man destroying the earth?

Climate change, deforestion, silation and so many things are also affecting the environment so where there is a political will there must be a way to ensure people have food on the table.

Even biblically in Genesis 41 during the seven years of plenty the land produced abundant crops, all of which Joseph collected and stored in the cities.

In each city he stored the food from the fields around it and ended up having so much grain and when the seven years of famine began there was food throughout Egypt. 


When it got worse and spread, Joseph "opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians" so people from all over the world bought grain from him.

Food can be multiplied by proper planning and irrigation using rain or water harvesting methods on top of the rivers and Lake Malawi we have.

Do our governments plan for such problems or has fire fighting management been the order of the day for many years because there is no good reason for us Malawians to starve when there is plenty of water in the country.

Should one have to walk on water or air as a certain Prophet seemed to do to realize that Malawi can use its rivers and wind to irrigate and produce energy?








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.


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