Monday, April 14, 2014

‘Mbona, ancient Malawi’s Osiris and Dweller of “Funeral Mountain”

Dziwe la Nkhalamba (pool for the elderly) – 
Photo by Menno Welling taken in 2010 for a different story
It was ten years ago on 13 April, 2004 when a Malawian village woman had a strange dream and saw the letters MBONA and blue deep water as chairs and tables were floating on top.
This woman also saw the colour black which symbolizes dark clouds which bring rain.
Malawi’s ancient Mbona was viewed as a rainmaker although in reality he only pointed his two-edged kandalanga sword to the North for Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe to bring rain claim some Mulanje-based elders.
Mbona illustration from
Mtunda, Chichewa for Standard 8 book
Black in ancient Egypt was also said to be the colour of the life-giving silt left by the Nile inundation, which led to the ancient name for the country Kemet meaning the “black land” according to some internet sources.
The colour black was seen as symbolizing fertility, new life, and resurrection as seen through the yearly agricultural cycle and it also was the colour of Osiris, the “black one” and the “resurrected god of the dead” and “Dweller in the Funeral Mountain” according to various internet sources.
For the women of Sapitwa, black also symbolizes Mbona who came back to life and is viewed as the dweller of the mountain of the dead known as the mythical realm of Sapitwa.
Mbona like ancient Egypt’s Osiris is considered to be a ruler of the underworld but not Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) who remains the Creator of this Universe and the One and Only Almighty forever and ever.
Now in the symbolic Napolo dream the woman was near shallow water but could clearly see spiral shapes in the water ahead of her which in her eyes resembled a serpent spirit and left a strange mark in the whirlpool.
Osiris statue taken from
She kept a distance because in real life she feared deep water and cannot swim and the spirals looked like they would draw her into an unknown place.
There was also an elderly man with a hexagon shaped head and yellow measuring tape in his right hand earlier in the dream. He showed her a dilapidated building on top of a mountain and he was measuring it as she watched.
The man kept showing her the measurements and took her on a tour inside as she paid attention to the details and drawings on the walls which will be documented as some aspects of ancient Malawi history after verifying with experts.
He then showed her a small stream and she could see a big silver fish in there. The man then gave her a huge two-edged sword with a golden handle to catch the fish which looked like chambo but she refused as the thought terrified her.
She also had a vision of the Wild African Custard Apple tree locally known as Mpoza which in ancient times would burn on its own to symbolize the presence of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God).
Internet photo of African Custard Apple Tree (Mpoza)
Its orange dancing flames would engulf the tree which would somehow not burn up so go oral ancient Malawi stories.
Online research and a quick message to an elder in Lilongwe has confirmed that ancient kings and people of this land believed the Wild African Custard Apple tree locally known as Mpoza will light up with fire to represent the presence of Chauta, Namalenga, Mphambe (God) in their beliefs.
Now centuries ago the ancestors of this land used to offer sacrifices (nsembe) at the Wild Custard Apple Tree locally known as Mpoza used for prayers or requests to their God.
These sacrifices are either traditional beer, thobwa (sweet beer) or maize flour among other things. Similar things are captured in the book ‘Galu Wamkota: Missiological Reflections from South-Central Africa’ by Ernst R. Wendland, Salimo Hachibamba and posted online on

“The kachisi shrine itself had to be built underneath the tree known as mpoza or katsongle. The people believed that only God comes through those trees and not through any other tree.
“In their songs they praised their God by saying Chauta wathu mwalandira nsembe zathu, mutikondadi Namalenga wathu; mwalandira nsembe wathu mutikondadi Mphambe wathu, mwalandira nsembe zathu, mutikondadi. (Our God, you have received our offerings, you truly love us, our Creator; you have received our offerings, you truly love us, our Almighty One, you truly love us!”
“Notice here that there are three names for the God whom we mentioned: First we have Chauta meaning God of Gods, then Namalenga, the Creator, finally Mphambe, the all powerful God. All these names are given to the same God,” further reads the book.
The Mpoza tree is also valued by healers throughout Malawi who follow the teachings of Mbona.
However, the official and accepted Mbona story by the valuable custodians of that culture is documented under Unesco’s Khulubvi and Associated Mbona Sacred Rain Shrines world heritage site.

Photo taken from
“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.
“It is said that Mbona’s uncle Mlauli, who was also a magician envied his nephew and wanted to kill Mbona. Mlauli, however, failed to kill Mbona because he wished to die on his own by telling Mlauli and his enemies to cut his throat with a leaf of a reed after other weapons had failed to harm him.
“His head was cut and placed at Khulubvi sacred groove, where the shrine exists today. People who knew his magic works began coming to the place periodically to worship the spirit of Mbona.
A traditional hut within Khulubvi natural thicket of approximately 100 square metres was constructed as a worshipping site,” further reads the Unesco cultural heritage website about Mbona.
Some ancestors believed Mbona was “gifted with powers from the heavens” and would invoke the rains during a drought using his two-edged knife/sword locally known as kandalanga to point to the north to provoke the four winds which consist of the north, south, west and east to form the ancient African cross used by some village “Mbona healers”.
Deep blue ocean water from the Internet

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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.