Sunday, December 29, 2013

In search of "zwangendaba"…the sulfur rock or...?

MJ street  healer pours paraffin on his arms and lights fire.
Visiting rural Malawi, one cannot help but notice some herbalists talking of “zwangendaba” as a medication to cure stomach ailments including ulcers and not necessarily the name of the famous 1800s Ngoni King.
According to a few Mulanje-based traditional healers, “zwangendaba” is made from a yet to be identified rock, and is administered best when eaten with nsima and for “magic” tricks involving spirits to make fire after rubbing hands with glycerin, vaseline or oil.
Such nyanga healers who use horns and charms for matsenga (magic) rituals also claim to use the power of three spirits to help them create fire with their hands and out of their mouth.
However for others like the street vendor one in the photo who claims to use (spirits) and seems to rub his body with fire, they do not reveal how they do their fire tricks but clarify they use good from the Creator to perform the trick.
As for the fire making ones, they take the dark pounded looking powder and rub it into their hands to create fire claiming it’s a fire of rock?  For some reason their hands don’t seem to burn with the heat.
In a brief revelation they admitted they name many rocks after dead kings making some suspect they might be following ancient teachings of royalty being close to Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) and surrounding Him.
Some experts in Malawi Traditional Medicine suspect that zwangendaba is actually sulfuric acid for making fire because it contains sulfur reportedly also found in meteorites; rock pieces that fall from space to the ground.
However, more research needs to be done by professionals in the field to establish what exactly these healers use to make fire and cure stomach ailments and if they are right then that is ancient African science as well. 
The names of suspected various stones or rocks they claim to use also needs to be known and young healers like the one in the photo studied and documented if they are willing to talk.
Made sure both arms had paraffin

According to the unofficial online encyclopaedia, the Wikipedia, sulfuric acid also known as sulphuric acid is a highly “corrosive strong mineral acid with the molecular formular H2SO4.
“It is a colorless to slightly yellow viscous liquid which is soluble in water at all concentrations. Sometimes, it may be dark brown as dyed during industrial production process in order to alert people to its hazards. The historical name of this acid is oil of vitriol.
“Possessing different chemical properties, the sulfuric acid has a wide range of applications including domestic acidic drain cleaner, electrolyte in lead-acid batteries and variouscleaning agents.
It is also a central substance in the chemical industry. Principal uses include mineral processingfertilizer manufacturing, oil refiningwastewater processing, and chemical synthesis. It is widely produced with different methods, such as contact processwet sulfuric acid process and some other methods,” further reads the unofficial Wikipedia.
Another website defines sulfur as a homeopathic medicine adding that it has been used medicinally since the ninth century when people would burn sulfur to help purify and disinfect their homes.

“In homeopathy, sulfur is used to help treat a wide variety of ailments relating to the digestion, skin and both men's and women's health issues. The key symptoms that indicate the use of sulfur as a homeopathic remedy are: predisposition to laziness, a tendency to feel over-heated, a general attitude of impatience and an inclination to be self-absorbed.

“A 6C dose of sulfur when symptoms are acute is used for digestion problems such as a bloated stomach and ulcerative colitis that potentially can accompany burning pains. Symptoms will frequently become better when eating cold food and drinks and will generally worsen upon overexertion and upon consuming milk,” reads one online source.
Burning meteor?

On the other hand English translations of the Bible commonly refer to burning sulfur as “brimstone”. 
Encyclopaedias also show that in the Ebers Papyrus, a sulfur ointment was used in ancient Egypt to treat granular eyelids and sulfur was used for fumigation in pre-classical Greece.
However, in the King James Bible version, sulfur is used for destruction, including in Ezekiel 38:22, which reads: “And I will plead against him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.”
Revelation 14:10 also talks about being tormented with fire and sulfur and in Revelation 19:20 the beast and the false prophet were thrown into the “lake of fire that burns with sulphur”.
Other references to sulfur or brimstone include Revelation 21:8, which reads: “But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur which is the second death.”
In Isaiah 30:33, “the breath of the Lord like a stream of sulfur kindles it” and in Luke 17:29 “on the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and killed them all.”
Besides brimstone, gemstones have also been viewed in awe in every civilization and sought after.  Internet sources also show how many supernatural powers have been attributed to precious stones throughout the ages.
These include crystals and diamonds also mentioned in the Bible, including in Ezekiel 28:13 which reads: “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz and diamond, beryl, onyx and jasper, sapphire, emerald and carbuncle, and crafted in gold were your settings.”
Wikipedia photo:

People, even today, wear stones as amulets for their suppose healing and protective abilities.  Bu Hannah declares there is no Rock like our God in 1 Samuel 2:2.
“All power belongs to God.  Gemstones are all God’s creation.  Romans 1:20 says since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.  Stones in themselves have no power, but they do speak of the power and glory of our God,” reads
The site also explains how in Exodus 28:21 the Lord ordains precious stones to be used in the making of the breast-piece of the High Priests’ garments including topaz, emerald, sapphire, jasper, onyx, agate, amethyst, ruby known as the “king of the gems” and agate which in Hebrew is know as shebo literally meaning “to flame, split into tongues.”
Zechariah 9:16 says that the Lord’s people will  be like the stones that adorn the foundation of the New Jerusalem.
In Matthew 13:45, Jesus Christ described the Kingdom of heaven like “a man looking for fine pearls and when he finds one that is unusually fine, he goes and sells everything he has, and then goes back and buys that field.”
Revelation 21:21 on the New Jerusalem indicates “the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each gate was made from a single pearl.”
Pearls are known as the only gem formed within a living organism known as an oyster. 
However, some years ago on September , 2010 Father Samuel Malamulo, as a lecturer in Biblical  Studies at St Peters Major Seminary in Zomba said the verses have a symbolic meaning in relation to the 12 trbes of Israel who are the people of God.
He said back then that the expensive stones mentioned are not the ones used to make jewellery although rosaries can be made from precious stones. 
Malamulo in 2010 said since Jerusalem is known as the city of God where His temple is and reign; in the New Jerusalem the kingdom of God will be established as divine hence the precious high value. He explained how in the New Jerusalem, God will be present and reign higher in future after the Israelites disobeyed and the glory of God left.
Internet sources also list other symbolic meanings of biblical gemstones including red ruby stones symbolizing blood, love and fire, yellow stones like gold for the divine nature of Jesus Christ, blue stones like sapphire for heaven and God’s colour, purple stones like amethyst for royalty and kingship,  black ones like onyx for mourning, judgement and fear of the Lord and white stones like quartz crystal symbolising “purity, righteousness, holiness and the Bride of Christ.”

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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 the Sirius star. this space.