Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Myths: December 24…offerings for 4 winds of Sapitwa

African cross on the face
As the Sapitwa healers of Mulanje Mountain in the east of Blantyre in Malawi countdown to December 31 in anticipation of Sirius as if ushering in a New Year with nature’s very bright fireworks, healers are on December 24 expected to make their mapira (sorghum) and grain offerings among things at the hidden part of the mountain.

This is in commemoration of what they call mphepo zinayi which is in a nutshell the 4 winds of Sapitwa.

According to the healers who follow ancient ways now labeled as “pagan” they trek to the mountain to commemorate their important day of the 4 winds which in their beliefs symbolizes moyo which in English is life.

In ancient 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.

So they would sense what they claimed is hot air with their faces and using their ancient compass claim to trace the north.

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 in the east and where it sets in the west to create a primitive African compass to assist them with directions.

According to a tale only told by Sapitwa healers making it a unique unverified 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.

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 what they claim but to document the ancient role of Malawi’s former ancient priestesses known in Malawi as asing’anga amizimu but of Sapitwa.

We will also try and document small roles other women played in ancient Malawi especially those who have never ever been written about before including the one whose name for now remains hidden.

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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 Sapitwa and the Sirius star.

.....watch this space.