Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tales & Myths: The ancient one of Africa...from Dziwe la Nkhalamba to Mt Namuli?

Source: Archeologist Menno Welling
He appears barefoot and dressed in a faded blue jacket dusty on his shoulders, torn trousers but a grin on his wrinkled face which seems to tell a story.  His white hair gives away his age and his eyes seem deformed as if on the sides of his face as he asks in a Portuguese accent for a person by their name. 
This gives those nearby the impression he’s from Mozambique but for some who believe the myths of “Kuba” and have creative minds, they suspect the healer before them with a plastic bag associated with asing’anga (traditional healer) is the one from this mysterious “Kuba.”
You see the elderly man is among healers in a Malawian village but his confident and authoritative presence no matter how shabby makes the others stare at him,wonder in fear and remain silent.
Some elders in Mulanje talk of an elderly man appearing at Dziwe la Nkhalamba and clothes in the form of robes somehow mysteriously appearing on rocks. Such myths are hard to believe but for those who believe in ancient tales, that pool is a valuable place in remembrance of their history which is long forgotten and gone.
According to them, the said elderly man no longer appears there because the ancient ways of this land were stopped and the ancient rain shrines of Mulanje mountain have been buried with the past. Some who dare mention ancestral spirits in this modern age are scorned and some descendants insist all their ancestors were evil so their history irrelevant.
Source: Archeologist Menno Welling when with Catholic University of Malawi

A few years ago, up the Likhubula river at Dziwe la Nkhalamba (swimming pool for the elderly) known for cold water and a rock, Menno Welling, an archaeologist with some Catholic University students after excavations discovered a rain shrine.
This was confirmed by blue beads and clay containers. The deity still remains unknown but some traditional healers insist it is from an astral plane beyond Sapitwa peak of Mulanje Mountain.
Shrines and sacred sites in Malawi have been in existence since 1500 A.D according to information posted on a http://whc.unesco.org, a Unesco website.
“They were used by our ancestors to offer sacrifices to their Mphambe (God) in times of drought or other calamities. These sites are spatially located in different areas throughout Malawi.
“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….
“The sacred sites attract wide range of people from different cultures to perform various traditional practices and expressions such as initiation for young boys. These sites are embedded with traditional cultures where a variety of people gather to offer sacritices in form of beer and other food stuffs. People from different communities gather millet that is used to brew beer to be used during the day of ceremony. Particular traditional songs are sang during the day seeking assistance from spirit of Mbona,” further reads the Unesco website.
And before this ancient land Malawi had borders and boundaries, it is believed several mountains and hills were of importance to the inhabitants and their African high priests and priestesses worked closely with kings but are today all grouped as ordinary traditional healers or wrongly called “witch-doctors”.
Some of the healers of Malawi mostly differentiate each other and their work with two words, mizimu (spirits) and nyanga (magical charms including horns etc).  Both are also involved in healing but for different reasons and causes.
Now the healers specializing in spirits whom some incorrectly call ‘gods’ believed mountains and hills were the source of rain and the astral home of all spirits…those who lived on earth and those they say have never ever been human.
These ancient priests and priestesses played a role in rain shrines and were in the forefront of several traditional ceremonies including those who went through some royal ancestral spirits to send messages to Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God). Others spoke of royal spirits which some wrongly describe as “gods” or “aliens” occupying two mountains in the now Sadc region. 
But the tales of “Kuba” have been passed down through generations of Sapitwa healers and for them that is where Mt Namuli in Mozambique is. They claim Mt Namuli has an astral realm where they claim the elderly spirit and his “creatures” or “beasts” in their so-called big kingdom are and they also claim that Mt Mulanje and it’s Sapitwa peak has a hidden astral realm whose entrance is protected.
To date some of these myths and tales are quietly told in some Mulanje villages by a few who keep their oral history alive and close to their hearts. What is needed is to travel to Mozambique near the Mt Namuli area and Mocuba to find out from the elders there the myths and tales of that mountain to compare both oral history stories. If the stories are the same, then perhaps one could conclude that Mulanje mountain and it’s Sapitwa peak and Mount Namuli with the highest peak in the Zambezia Province of Mozambique were indeed sacred in this region during ancient times. 
If not then it’s just one of those many myths and tales told in some villages without factual evidence but the kind of stuff for good fairy-tales and fiction movies! The past is gone forever but still documented in many other countries as part of its ancient history. Why not document ours more with all its tales and legends?

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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.