Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ancient one braided Nyangu’s hair - Malawi healers

Malawi is a beautiful land so rich in ancient history and with so many myths and tales about spiritual beings of ancient times who were close to chosen women who were given the gift of ancient African prophecy (ulosi wakale).
This blog attempts to capture one such oral story told by some Sapitwa healers in Mulanje but never documented. They talk of a time many centuries ago before floods.
Once again, this blog is not endorsing this oral story and names used here are not the same ones used in other ancient Malawi stories.
Beads, a symbol of feminine beauty with meaning
Dozing off, a young village woman suddenly falls asleep and starts dreaming of a very bright man all dressed in white, appearing high in the blue sky, his white hair glittering together with his white gold trimmed top, his wrinkled face as if telling a story and his dove shaped friendly eyes looking right through her soul.
As if looking through a bright tunnel and towards the sun, the young woman in her dream tries to look at this bright being up above and before her.
And then suddenly as if with a big bang he speaks, his loud voice echoing loudly with a message about the things he hates most…..those who insult mizimu (spirits) goes one tale told in a Malawi village about how a woman was given the power of ancient African prophecy.
Braiding with extensions but using the three pieces of hair
In another dream, the same young woman feels a being again in white holding her tightly to his chest while braiding her hair as if to signal dreadlocks and hair that must never be cut and used in various rituals so go the tales.
Dreadlocks or uncombed hair was also believed to resemble serpent spirits and the hair movements of the mythical winged female spirits that have never been human.
Now the way the Ancient Malawi one in the tale braided the woman’s hair was symbolic by taking three pieces of hair and binding them together to mean the three powers working as one including the woman in ancient Malawian myths.
Some healers also claim all female spirits at the astral realms of mountains and the like don’t show their hair but cover it with a veil because it is their source of power in some ancient tales.
It is said when the elderly spirit in ancient times decided to be born from such women, that woman would become a “goddess” and be given special powers while the being inside her changed her body structure.
After eight months the spiritual being in the body would disappear into thin air and be born from the ocean of Mother Earth goes another tale.
Now the first such mythical being in this specific oral story told as it was uses the name Nyangu, a beautiful full-bodied and dark woman with her colour being the blue of the sky according to one male healer.
Because of her figure and a baby behind her back some compared her to a cow that feeds her children and she was also a queen of the mystical side of mankind and her symbol was breasts.
But she got excited with her newly-discovered powers and fell from grace from a mythical mountain so goes the ancient African tale never told before.
When asked the meaning of the word “nyangu”, he summarized it as meaning manthongo which in English is the crust around the eyes or thin mucus that dries up around the eye when one wakes up or has an eye infection.
Maybe its scientific name is Rheum but those in the know how can share.
Some on Facebook describe the stuff as eye boogers or eye gunk while other funny names online include  “sleepy dust, sleepy boogers, eye discharge, eye goop, eye crud, eye jelly, eye crust, eye bogeys, eye-sand, cockapia, optical crustaceans, blinker smudge, sleepy dirt, and bug dust”.
The man said the word nyangu in that meaning applies to a person who is “wopepera” etc whose English equivalent could be lacking intelligence, dullness or doing something silly?
But those reading this blog who know the definition and correct spellings feel free to share.
But that definition does not apply to others who use the same name but only the woman in this specific oral story which remains a tale not endorsed by this blog but just giving a platform for some Sapitwa healers to tell their oral stories.
Dziwe la Nkhalamba photo taken in 2010 by Menno Welling
It’s from this ancient goddess story that some of the ancient winged spirits were given names like Sungamwana (keep the child) unlike the other evil mythical one of Dziwe Ntambawana (the pool of witchcraft) among others.
Now in ancient times a vision of an elderly man with white hair was considered to be good luck and the sighting of such a being at the ancient Mwala la Nkhalamba in today’s Dziwe la Nkhalamba area was also viewed as a blessing from the other world.
For most of us such stories sound funny and like fairy tales but for some healers of Malawi these are ancient oral stories they treasure near their hearts of a land beyond the imagination and behind the astral realms of mountains and hills including the highest peak of Mount Mulanje locally known as Sapitwa, where no man goes… don’t go there say healers in their various myths and tales!
Dziwe la Nkhalamba photo taken in 2010 by Menno Welling
Watch this space for more oral stories, myths and tales never documented before.

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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. this space.