Monday, February 3, 2014

Tales: Ancient Africa treasure hidden in mountains?

View of Mt Mulanje taken while travelling in a minibus
Before there were borders for most African countries, there were kingdoms of different movements of people from different places so go some oral stories.
These include some descendants of ancient priests and priestesses today called traditional healers or African shamans depending on the kind of “work” they do.
There are also modern healers who are herbalists or just doing it for the sake of it.
Some ancient ones of Malawi are believed to be different because they offered nsembe (sacrifices) like mapira (sorghum) and other food stuff on top of the highest peaks of several mountains says a healer who claims to trek to the mythical Sapitwa of Mulanje Mountain.
She said in ancient times it was also done for kingdoms with the guidance of ancient kings or chiefs (mafumu) of royal blood but these days they do it alone.
Although not educated, the elderly woman talks of Mount Nyangani in Zimbabwe and Mount Namuli in Mozambique among others in this part of Africa.
In a brief telephone interview from her Mulanje base, the healer claimed some of her paternal ancestors she calls “Medesini” came from a place called Nyanga in Zimbabwe.
One quick Google search does not show that name in Malawi which is spelled the way she pronounces it and the few Malawians asked only know “Medisoni”.
Sirius symbol, the brightest star
She also speaks of Mount Namuli in Mozambique which several healers in Malawi call “Kuba’ and Sapitwa of the Don’t go there tales of Mount Mulanje.
This blog is not here to verify any information but just document oral stories as they are told to give those with funding an opportunity to investigate those things that make sense to them.
Now in a revelation that took more than 10 years to document, the elderly woman has confirmed myths that ancient kings hid all their treasures and valuables at the peaks of various mountains believing they were safely in the hands of their God.
For reasons that remain unknown, her ancestors believed the Creator could be found on high mountains and looked to them as a source of rain hence some shrines found on some.
That is also the place they are believed to hide their kits and tools used in their African nsembe duties, including what they might have uses for their “oracles”.  This blog has failed to capture that or the hieroglyphic looking writings they seem to hide somewhere on the mountain as they are still very secretive.

As for kings or chiefs (mafumu) of this ancient beautiful Malawi land whom Jarden claims have become ‘spirits’ whom others refer to as ‘gods’, she talks of:





Mwala wa Nkhalamba 


Donkey tail fly-whisk?
 Now when some of these healers claim to send their request to the 4 winds they chant several names of winged spirits which they have kept secret.  No one bothered to ask them because their ancient history is not seen as relevant.
This blog revealed some names earlier as told by Sapitwa healers:
Tomasi Bona                                          – North
Tagoneka Mbona                                    - West
Chandiona Gonekela                              - South
Nthanda mwana wa mwezi [Nthandi]   - East

And their meanings?:
Tomasi Bona                     = the whole world in the hands/feast
Tagoneka Mbona               = Like put to sleep
Chandiona Gonekela           = It’s seen me, put to sleep
Nthanda/Nthandi mwana wa mwezi  = Sirius star like in nthanda yaku m’mawa African cross and child of the moon

Another one of the so-called wandering one is Mpeula or is it Pewula or Mpewula and the name of the 3 other mythical “winged spirits” are Dziwe Ntambamwana (pool of curses ), Ife Zonse (All of us) and Sungamwana (keep the child)
M’manga Mudzi tree in an anthill?
This is not official and not to be used elsewhere but an amateur way of compiling oral myths and tales as part of story-telling and with permission of the Sapitwa healer who told me she can’t read and write. She can only read writings that look like hieroglyphics but experts need to confirm what exactly it is.
Representing the 4 winds and bright Sirius star
Female traditional healers have a lot of oral stories to tell so this blog is one way of sharing some myths and tales in their oral history through writers.  This blog is not endorsing their beliefs but just telling their story as it is never been told before.
It’s also a time to uplift women and document those of ancient history regardless of ethic group, religion or beliefs among other things.  This blog does not endorse any beliefs.
After all various great male and female religious figures have written about or documented well many of Malawi’s folklore including tales about Mbona of the Khulubvi Shrine in Nsanje which is listed on
J. Matthew Schoffeleers author of ‘The Genesis of a Martyr Cult in Southern Malawi, C. A.D. 1600”.  He’s also listed on for Dissertations on Religion in Malawi under African Traditional Religion.

“Schoffeleers, J.M. Mang’anja Traditional Religion: Spirit and Practices in Malawi’s Lower Shire Valley Leiden Mlambe Foundation, 2008, 448 pp (Kachere Monograph No 29, Edited, annotated and introduced by Menno Welling…”
“Chakanza, Joseph 1985: Provisional Annotated Chronological List of Witch-Finding Movements in Malawi 1850-1980 in Journal of Religion of Africa XV:227:243.
“Gazani, Ignatio, “The Concept of Revelation in the Amanyawa Lomwe Culture”, Diploma in Theology dissertation, University of Malawi, 1996, 33pp. A consideration of the revelatory function of nature, language, initiation rites, dreams and ancestral sacrifices among the Ama nya wa people of Mulanje. CC/TRS/1996/21.”
Sapitwa healer’s ancient sign for life
There seems to be so much to discover about ancient Malawi on top of what those with PhDs have documented well….this beautiful ancient land in the Warm Heart of Africa some of us proudly call HOME!!!

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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.