However the mythological side of Mulanje Mountain should not be confused with the real geographic Mulanje Massif said to measure approximately 22x26 kilometres with a maximum elevation of 3,002 m at its highest point, Sapitwa Peak.
|One view of the majestic Mount Mulanje I took while in a minibus|
Mulanje Mountain is also known as the “Island in the Sky” and the place of mizimu (spirits) in various tales.
Sapitwa is mythically known as a “forbidden place” because it is home to a royal spirit family who get offended when certain rituals are not followed when one goes there according to some healers in Mulanje.
|Sapitwa healer showing hand symbols for making offerings|
|Middle Stone Age blade..path to Dziwe la Nkhalamba -|
Photo by Menno Welling
|Taken from http://www.amazon.co.uk|
|The real Dziwe la Nkhalamba - Photo by Menno Wellilng|
|African cross of some healers drawn with maize flour|
|Cross in circle symbolizing elderly one|
in the middle to symbolize the mythical elderly man with white hair and a beard who’s said to have been appearing at Dziwe la Nkhalamba (swimming pool for the elderly) centuries ago and somehow providing free clothes which were usually robes gathered from rocks there.
One path was to the right and the other to the left and in between was an upright serpent spirit whom they claimed was the spirit of a king.
In some other ancient African cultures, it was believed when some kings pass on they become the upright cobras, black mambas or the python which in their tales would also be drawn upright as to them these spirits spoke like human beings.
They thought when a soul gets to the two ways, the serpent spirit in the middle would chose which direction they should take.
On the left was a monster with horns and fire and scary eyes while on the right there was a tunnel and bright white light. It is this black tunnel which some believe could be a black hole into the so-called astral realm but no research has been done to verify this tale so it will always be a myth.
Now that serpent spirit had a name which is the other "Mbona" of the mountain, not to be confused with the Nsanje one and the so-called mythical veiled woman of Sapitwa remains hidden.
Tomasi Bona in their beliefs was summarised as meaning the whole world in his hands and feast while Tagoneka Mbona meant put to sleep/serpent spirit.
Chandiona Gonekela was summarised as it's seen me put to sleep and Nthanda mwana wa mwezi of the East which in English would be the Sirius star and child of the moon.
In Chichewa Nthanda yaku m'mawa means the African cross from the east and mwezi means the moon both seen in the sky and drawn by the ancestors of healers of this land so go the tales.
The other three spirits include a name which sounds like Dziwe Ntambamwana named after a pool/witchcraft but not to be confused with the Ntambanana River in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Ife Zonse meaning something like us all. The last is Sungamwana meaning keep the child for good.
|Photo taken from Ulendo Series Mtunda 8 Chichewa for St 8|
|Sirius star taken from Internet|
“Therefore the North-west face of the Massif experiences lesser rains, as it is situated in the shadows of the high Peaks of the Massif.”
This is a small attempt to start unofficially documenting the Sapitwa mythology but not for use elsewhere but only for this blog and websites connected to it.
More information will be posted on this blog when made available. It's been 14 years of amateur research and bit by bit ancient secrets are being revealed as part of the myths and tales. Experts can do their own research and document the official mythology of Sapitwa, Mount Mulanje for records purposes.
|Symbols when offering mapira nsembe (sorghum sacrifice)|
|M'manga Mudzi tree growing out of an anthill (chulu) in Mulanje whose English name remains unknown|